Jan 4, 2004
County grave earns mark: Mooney site the 500th to receive state designation
By LOYD COOK/Daily Sun Staff
A single grave site in a one-person cemetery here in
Navarro County recently became the 500th burial site in Texas to be given a
historical cemetery designation.
The Texas Historical Commission announced that the
Thomas Mooney Gravesite, located in the Camp Wanica area, reached the milestone.
"We're tickled pink that it was one of ours that hit
the achievement of being the 500th cemetery," said Bill Young, a Daily Sun
history columnist and president of the Navarro County Historical Commission. "Of
all the cemeteries we've done (it's strange that it's) that little, one-grave
cemetery out by itself."
Young said Thomas Mooney lived here only about 10 years
before his death, owning a "little bit of land in the Camp Wanica area and a
good deal" of land in Corsicana.
He said, to the best of his knowledge, there are no
living descendants still in the area and that family members seemed to have
moved away from Navarro County in the immediate period after Mooney's death.
Young said he couldn't remember what year Mooney passed
The Texas Historical Commission developed the historic
designation program to highlight the importance as "historical resources, as
well as landmarks worthy of respect, reverence and preservation," according to
an e-mailed press release sent to the Daily Sun.
The program began in 1997.
"This significant accomplishment reflects not only the
importance of preserving our historic cemeteries, but also the heightened public
interest in identifying and recording these sites," said THC cemetery
preservation specialist Gerron Hite. "Historic cemeteries tell us a great deal
about an area and the people who lived there.
"They reflect diversity in culture, art, family
communities, religion and historic events. The loss of even one cemetery leaves
a gap in our collective history."
The reflections of the past often are revealed during
the research required to complete an application for the state program, Young
Part of the procedure requires that the cemetery be
photographed, measured and examined. But the ownership of the land has to be
traced back to the era of the burials within the cemetery.
"The biggest job is deed research," Young said. "We
have to try to tie back to those people that are in that cemetery to the area
they lived in."
He said the most cherished hope is that each deed
contains a proper reference to the proper deed records book of the previous
owner -- and that chain stretches back to the era researchers are attempting to
It's during this kind of research that nuggets of
history have a tendency to pop up, he said.
Talking about a cemetery in the Love Bridge area, Young
recounted a tale about a feud between William Love and a Dr. Anderson that was
ongoing during the era of the burials. Strangely, Dr. Anderson had a brother
that was buried in Love Cemetery while the doctor himself was buried elsewhere.
"Every time you research this, you find people that are
related to people buried in another cemetery ... and on and on and on," Young
said. "And that's a lot of the early history of Navarro County."
Young said the county's historic commission estimates
there are at least 200 cemeteries in Navarro County, of which less than 60 are
He said that 33 cemeteries have now been submitted to
the historical designation program, with 15 of those having achieved
certification as a historical site.
Young, along with fellow commission member Bruce
McManus, are working on getting historical designations for about 40 other
cemeteries at present.
The duo has been working on the local identification of
cemeteries for about a year now, he said, "and every time there's a little more
information, it's own its way to Austin."
Both Young and McManus welcome word of cemeteries that
might be eligible for the historical designation program. Young said they just
don't want the names of cemeteries that are presently "being buried in."
"We have a list of about 35 now that we've heard of
that we don't know where they're at," he said. "We're looking for ones no longer
Anyone wanting to help, or having information on just
such a cemetery, can contact: Bill Young at (903) 874-6882 during the day or
(903) 874-7067 at night; or Bruce McManus at (903) 875-0988 at night.
"We're doing our dead level best to be the No. 1 county
in the state as far as (historical) designations," Young said.
Loyd Cook may be contacted via e-mail at
Reprinted with permission of the Corsicana Daily Sun
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