Banner Photograph of BRAD CEMETERY - Highway 180 West of Palo Pinto. Taken by Judith Richards Shubert 2009.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ghosts in School Hill Cemetery?

I love ghost stories!

I spent one afternoon before Christmas in the North Richland Hills Library looking for books on Texas Cemeteries, burial customs and traditions. During my search through the digital repository I noticed a title that intrigued me, “Ghosts in the Graveyard, Texas Cemetery Tales.” I decided to check it out with my other selections of cemetery research guides and books on Texas graveyards.

Olyve Hallmark Abbott has written a delightful book filled with ghosts from at least twenty graveyards in North Texas and many more from other sections of our state.

You may have read some of my accounts of my childhood memories in and around the community of Lingleville in Erath County and the cemeteries there. I was so excited to find listed in Ms. Abbott’s section on North Texas graveyards one that is only ten miles northwest of my home in Lingleville.

Her story, “Skip-a-Rope” is an account of apparitions and laughter – the sound of children that are said to have been students in the old school that once stood there. The story is told that the graveyard overlapped the old foundation of the school. Some of the Lingleville residents who went to school there were also buried in this small graveyard called School Hill Cemetery or Upper School Hill Cemetery.

“According to Dave Julian of ‘The Shadowlands’, the theory is that former school sites may have a buildup of psychic energies of emotional events having previously transpired there. This is an open invitation to spirits.”

I decided to go with my sister and sister-in-law to find this little graveyard and take pictures and record any information on tombstones found there. Being stubborn females, we refused to allow my brother to call his friend, Mike, for directions. So we bundled up since it was a bitterly cold day and drove to the area where we remembered School Hill to be located.

There are two School Hill Cemeteries – the Upper School Hill Cemetery and the Lower School Hill Cemetery. The ghosts that Ms. Abbott writes about are found in Upper School Hill. It is a small, unfenced cemetery and has twenty-three marked graves. In “Cemetery Inscriptions, Erath County,” Weldon Hudson in 1970 indexed seventeen marked graves and six graves marked with fieldstones without names or dates. “The earliest tombstone is dated 1884 and it appears the cemetery has not had any burials since approximately 1918.”

Since we refused to ask for directions to the Upper School Hill Cemetery, we only got pictures of the better known (to us, at least) Lower School Hill Church and Cemetery. Newspaper reports from the area records Lower School Hill Church was organized in 1929 and closed its door in the late 1950s.

The day we visited, there was no one around even though the cemetery was obviously well cared for. The abandoned church building was open to the elements with some heavy screens on the windows but open doors.

The building held old church pews that were scattered around and pieces of the ceiling were falling down.

My photo taken in 2008

In 2002 when Charlie Turnbo visited Lower School Hill he found and wrote about a podium sitting on top of some pews. He also posted a picture of that scene at I took a picture of that same pew in 2008 and the pictures look almost identical.

There is a beautiful mural on the wall behind the pulpit where the podium once sat and it also looks virtually the same in the 2002 and 2008 photos. It was painted by Annie Lynn Leatherwood, 1952.

“When indexed in 1970 by Weldon Hudson, there were five marked graves dating back to 1905. There have been more recent burials here not included on Hudson’s index.” My sister recognized some of the names on the gravestones and I have included them here along with my transcriptions and photos of the Church.

Maybe another day I’ll ask my brother’s friend, Mike, for those directions to Upper School Hill where I might be one of the “fortunate” ones to hear the children singing and playing “Skip-a-Rope.”

Lower School Hill Cemetery is on private property.

There is not a curved lichgate but the double gate was unlocked.

You can reach it by turning northeast off Highway 8 onto 397

west of Lingleville going toward Desdemona.

The artist's signature and date can be found in the lower right hand corner.


Apr. 17, 1828

Oct. 18, 1908

There is a closed Bible on top of marker and has the Gates of Heaven symbol inscribed on front.

In the background is a very large cedar tree that is common to this part of Texas.

I could not make out all of the inscription on this stone

but it has the same last name as the taller one just above.

At RootsWeb George and Elayne Gibbons have transcribed the above stone as reading:

Glenn, Mertie infant dau of J. W. & M. A. 3 May 1905

Some of the family names found here are Moon, Elston, Glenn, Sims, and Armstrong.

You can see more of my photographs of Lower School Hill Cemetery here on my Photostream at Flickr.


“Ghosts in the Graveyard, Texas Cemetery Tales,” 2002, Olyve Hallmark Abbott, Accessed 2008, North Richland Hills Public Library., “The Churches of School Hill,” 2002, Charlie Turnbo, Salado, Texas

Pictures taken by Judith Richards Shubert, copyright 2008

Lower School Hill Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath County, Texas

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday - December 30, 2008

Aug. 9, 1876
Oct. 30, 1906
"God calls away when
He thinks best."

West End Cemetery
Lingleville, Erath County, Texas

Photograph by Judith Richards Shubert
West End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas
Copyright 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The West Family at Mount Pleasant Cemetery

While wandering through the country cemetery of Mount Pleasant, located west of Granbury in Hood County off of Hwy. 377 near Tolar, I was struck by the fact that several family names seemed prominent among the gravestones. There were many with the names Swaim, Snider, West, Aston, and Tidwell. I wondered who owned the land and who was buried in the cemetery first.

I have not gone to the courthouse and researched land deeds but while reading the very well done and informative Hood County Texas Genealogical Society website I found answers to several of my questions.

A family named West came to Texas from Kentucky in the year 1854. A friend of Kentucky’s Davy Crockett, Robert Saunders West, settled with his young wife, Maura Pugh West, in the area called Squaw Creek. Robert’s father, Thomas West, followed his son in 1856. Thomas was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, in 1797.

The land where Mount Pleasant resides was given to the people of the community by Thomas West, the father who followed his son to Texas. Robert and Maura remained on the land they originally settled for the rest of their lives. It stayed in the West family for 90 to 100 years.

During those early years there was a lot of trouble with Comanche Indian raids. In fact, one of Robert’s sons, Owen Collin West, was captured by a raiding party when he was only 8 years old. I imagine an urgent call went out among the settlers around Squaw Creek for volunteers to find young Owen. In any event, he was rescued within a few hours. During his lifetime, Owen was known throughout the territory as an expert on Comanche lore and for his Indian stories.

In Owen’s obituary found in an October 13, 1938 Dallas, Texas, newspaper his father was identified as “Robert West, old-time Indian fighter, early Hood County settler and friend of Davy Crockett.”

When Shubert and I walked the cemetery for the second time in as many weeks we noticed some gravestones toward the back of the property that we had not seen the first time. As we got closer I was surprised to see a group of coffin-shaped false crypts. I personally had never seen anything like that in a Texas cemetery before; however, I know that they are scattered about in Texas cemeteries, but I wonder how common the coffin shape is and how many times they appear in such number for one family.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered the family name West on the false crypts. I don’t know the reason the West family chose this form of burial, but it could have been to protect them from animals, vandals, or the elements or it could have been a tradition that they brought with them from Virginia and Kentucky.

I also wonder if the names and dates were inscribed at a later date because several of them – at least 6 – had “Child or Grandchild of Benjamin West” on the top of the crypt. Benjamin was another son of Thomas and Robert’s brother. I did not photograph gravestones for or remember if Benjamin and Owen were buried nearby. If I discover them at a later date I will update this posting.

I think you’ll find the photos as intriguing as I found the false crypts.

In the above three pictures are false crypts that may belong to other families. They were close to but not with the group of West family members, and I could not find any inscription on them.

Thomas N. West

1797 – 1870

Robert Sanders West

1818 – 1878

Maura Rebecca Pugh West

1836 – 1881

Emoline L.

Dau. of / R & M R West

Born / ? ? 1858 / Died / Mar. 1. 1864

This stone appears to rest in an area cut out for its placement (notice the niche at the bottom where it rests. Emoline’s father’s probably was made the same way, although I did not get a picture of the bottom of the small stone on his crypt.

This is top of Emoline’s (Emmaline) crypt. I believe the two spellings of the first name may indicate they were done at different times. Which came first? And which way did she spell her name?

You can see Robert A. West’s crypt on upper row in photo, second from the left.

I wonder where the smaller stone laying on top of the crypt was originally.

All of the crypts in the lower row on right in the photograph are smaller and except for the last one which is Emoline’s carry the inscription found in the next photo.

Child or Grandchild

Of Benjamin T West

I will continue to watch for these unusual crypts in the small country cemeteries I find myself in.

Photographs taken by Judith Richards Shubert, Copyright December 2008

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Tolar, Hood County, Texas


Hood County Texas Genealogical Society

Dallas, Texas Newspaper October 13, 1938

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Tolar, Hood County, Texas

Friday, December 19, 2008

Roses Abound in Texas Cemeteries

In my short time as a graveyard rabbit, I have taken several photos of tombstones adorned with images of flowers. The rose appears over and over in our Texas country cemeteries. In researching this and other symbols I came across the great resource, “Texas Graveyards, a Cultural Legacy,” by Terry G. Jordan. At the time of its publication in 1982 Jordan was a professor of cultural geography at North Texas State University.

According to Jordon the rose is an ancient symbol of the Magna Mater (the great Mediterranean mother goddess). Frequently appearing on markers commemorating mothers, roses often with thorny stems attached, can be found on very early commercial stones as well as those made at the present time. “Clearly, the inspiration for this symbol came most directly from the Southern and British folk custom of planting roses in graveyards.”

Ruth dau. of / A. L. & Katie Sloan

Born Jan 22, 1897

Died Aug 12, 1900

“Our darling one hath gone before

To greet us on the blissful / shore."

West End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas

Belvin R. / Son of

H. E.(?) & F. M. / POWELL

Born / Mar 25, 1899

Died / July 29, 1899

“Sleep on sweet babe

And take thy rest,

God calls away when

He thinks best.”

Ramsey Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas

Lela Ann


Dec. 29, 1903 / Dec. 19, 1978

Ramsey Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas

W. G. (Buster) Tidwell

Oct. 9, 1908 - Apr. 5 1959

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Tolar, Hood Co., Texas



Aug. 28, 1913 / Mar. 19, 1990



Oct. 4, 1919 / May 26, 1993


West End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas


Bertha “Bertie”

Oct. 4, 1894 / Dec. 20, 1907

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Tolar, Hood Co., Texas

DeAnna Rene Noland

Oct 28, 1964 / Feb. 13, 1992

“Love Lives”

West End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas

Found at the foot of a grave in
Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Tolar, Hood Co., Texas


Willie Laura

June 21, 1894 / Nov. 2, 1966

John Robert

July 17, 1890 / Jan. 24, 1975

Whitt Cemetery, Parker Co., Texas

This is my father’s parents, my grandparents. They lived the last several years of their lives in Lingleville in Erath Co., Texas close to my father and step-mother.

Photographs taken by Judith Richards Shubert, Copyright 2008


Texas Graveyards, Terry G. Jordan, 1982 by the University of Texas Press

Accessed from North Richland Hills Public Library, December 2008

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood Co., Texas

Ramsey Historical Cemetery, Erath Co., Texas

West End Cemetery, Erath Co., Texas

Whitt Cemetery, Parker Co., Texas

Blog Widget by LinkWithin