Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America

Norman Valley Cemetery

CR 210
RE: Norman Valley Cemetery Information.

We are looking for more information about this cemetery. We recently found the cemetery Off of 486 and CR 210.
It is in a small treed area in behind the first farm house on the right. In the middle of a open cultivated
field. Among questions is how did the Norman Valley name come about? We recently found that my wife's 4th
great grandparents are buried there. That would be WP Norman and Sarah Norman. But the biggest question is
wondering what can be done to save this cemetery. I is in extreme bad shape and could be lost before too long.
There seems to be a lot of history there with possibly some very early settlers to Milam County. My wife's 4th
great grand mother emigrated to Texas as we found out by her headstone in 1826. What headstones can be read or
have some inscription most have fallen or are covered up. Major over growth and many varmint burrows. It is
really sad sight. We would also like to know what is the process that can be started to save and possible get
an historical designation for this very old cemetery. Also, if any information on whom to contact about access
to the cemetery since it is on private land would be appreciated. It is not fenced and there is a road in to
the field that is next to the cemetery.
Thank You
Gary and Sue Bruton
2516 Outlook Ridge Loop
Leander, TX 78641
Reply:  This email has been forwarded to all MCHC members. 

REPLY: 2014-02-25
John Brooks
Tue, 25 Feb 2014
Mr. and Mrs. Bruton, 
Hopefully, I'll be able to initially give you some teaser information on the Norman Valley Cemetery.
My wife and I also visited this cemetery, not that long ago. Like you, we traipsed across that same field and
into the underbrush to view the headstones(see attachments).    In Milam County, we have a cemetery "Bible"
that is our invaluable resource for information. "170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas". It
was written by Mr. Perry Holder and his daughter Norinne Holman.
In it, Ms. Holman writes " It is believed that some 30 people were buried here(Norman Valley Cemetery). Her
book only lists 19.
"The earliest burial recorded is Thomas Norman's in 1870 and the earliest birth year seen is Sarah Normans in
"The Norman family was originally from Austria. Several of the earliest settlers in the area were the
Hertenberger, Hosch, Hanks, and Pfansteil families".
By chance, I happened to meet a gentleman, just this past week,  who owns property adjacent or surrounding
this cemetery. I am attempting to contact Mr. Carrol Richter to confirm this information and will advise.
In 1991 Mr. Holder Wrote" There are over 70 lost or abandoned cemeteries in Milam County". Obviously, this is
one of them.     We have had a handful of "resurrected" cemetery's recently, but it is usually due to
concerned citizens and/ or descendants of the interred. I know of three that are currently in the process of
restoration. Since this cemetery has been inactive for so many years, this makes it all the more difficult
contacting the interred descendant's for assistance.    I certainly don't want to discourage you, because I
think that you have a noble cause and honorable intentions.     My very first suggestion would be to try to
find ownership or trusteeship if put in trust to the County. A challenging aspect is that your earliest burial
is that of Thomas P Norman, 1856-1870. The Milam County Courthouse and all recorded deed records were
destroyed in the fire of 1874. There might be a refiled deed, but you would need to know the Grantor or
Grantee and the date in order to, more easily, locate it it in the numerous record books. This information
would be required in your THC HTC designation application.   Ms. Polly Hauk, who supervises the community
service folks, would possibly be able to provide a labor source for you, if she can spare the personnel.Ms.
Hauk's tel. #  (254) 697-7022. You would need to fill out some paperwork at her office(103 S Cameron St) on
the east side of the Courthouse square in Cameron.    I am able to tell you, through past experience, that
what is needed is lots of time and labor, and not a considerable amount of money, unless you contract your
labor out. The materials will be bricks and pea gravel for leveling the bases and epoxy for reattaching and
repairing broken/ separated markers and tablets. This project has the potential to be very rewarding for you,
especially if you're repairing your own ancestors headstones.      If you would like to learn more about an
Historic Texas Cemetery(HTC) designation go to  . Then in the search box type Historic
Texas Cemetery and you'll find all that you want to know about the program, forms and instructions. 
Personally, I would get the cemetery in pretty good shape before ever considering a designation. A number of
photo's are required, and you would want to present the cemetery in its "best light."   Should you decide to
have a cemetery "work day", I'm sure that Mr. Jerry Caywood, our gracious MCHC webmaster, would be happy to
post it to our site for you. This would have a rather limited exposure, though. You might also place an
announcement in the Rockdale Reporter under community events(free ad).    My wife
and I would be happy to assist, as time permits, with your endeavor.  I'll get back with you with a confirmed
access/ ownership and a contact tel. # for you.    
Sincerely,  Jack Brooks   cell  904-SIX08-55FIVE5

Hi Jack, Here are a couple of pictures of the cemetery. I hope to do just some initial cleaning of the area so
can take a better survey of the graves and area before a real start of clean up. Will be looking at scout
troops and or having something put in the papers out that way. But do want to take time doing this correctly
and get some stuff done before it really heats up.
Gary Bruton

Hi Gary, I can't tell you how happy that Beth and I are that you're going to be improving the Norman Valley
Cemetery. I'm able to also assure you that the Milam County Genealogical Society and the Milam County
Historical Commission are very supportive of your efforts.
Ms. Linda Whorton manages publicity and is editor of the MCGS "Legacy" newsletter. She often prints articles
related to our Milam County cemetery's. I'm sure that she and the members of the MCGS would enjoy hearing of
some of your future Norman Valley "Adventures" as we call them.    Mr. Jerry Caywood is the webmaster of the
MCHC website and does the posting. I would be happy to forward your photos to Jerry so that he may add the
Norman Valley Cemetery to our site, at his convenience. I'll also add the driving directions.       Beth and I
have the greatest admiration and respect for the above two people, not only for their contributions to their
respective groups, but also for the residents and guests of Milam County.    Gary, if we may be of any
assistance, please feel free to call on us. Sincerely, Jack Brooks  cell 904-60EIGHT-5FIVE55                                                         
Driving Directions to Norman Valley cemetery To travel to this cemetery from Cameron, take State highway 36
northwest, about six miles to the intersection of FM486 at Pettibone. Turn to the left and continue until
approximately one quarter mile past the Little River bridge to CR 210 and turn to the right. Drive another
quarter mile up a slight grade and turn to the right again. The Cemetery is located in a pasture in a stand of
trees. The property surrounding the cemetery is owned by Mr. Jack Hilliard. Mr. Jim Howe may be called for
access. (254) SEVEN70-77THREE6. They are very understanding, accommodating and supportive of this cemetery.

Thank you so very much. We will be there sometime later in the evening be for it gets dark on Friday and will
leave sometime in the afternoon 2 to 3 on Sunday. We are parking our RV out of the way behind the old shed
there.  We are planning jut to do some minor clearing and weeding/brushing. Hopefully some time to begin
surveying and mapping.  We will be doing a longer and bigger trip later in April. I expect for that we may do
what you suggested and put something in the paper. Or contact some of the BSA troops that are looking for
service projects. At this time we would need to find a couple of chainsaws for the heavy work.
I will be sending you a list of the surnames that we have found and what we know now about the Normans,
Chance, Sampier lines out there. Sue is from those lines. We found more that one Henke in the fenced area.  We
met Karen Thompson, past President of the DRT. Karen mentioned that the cemetery maybe able to get a Republic
of Texas Historical designation. What can be said is that two of the known people that are buried there, Sarah
Norman and Patrick Martin Sampier are from the Old Three Hundred. Sarah Norman was the step daughter of Joseph
San Pierre. Her mother is Margaret San Pierre. Patrick Maritin Sampier was born of Joseph and Margaret in 1826
here in Texas. Half brother to Sarah. Patrick changed the spelling of the San Pierre name to Sampier later.
Sarah San Pierre married Samuel Chance. Another Old Three Hundred who was part of Austin's first colony. When
Samuel died ca. 1855 Milam County, Sarah married Yewen Norman after his wife past after 1851 and  when the
Normans moved from Union Arkansas. We found a couple of other family associations and may find more. Yewen
Norman is the father of Warby P (WP) Norman and Thomas P Norman buried there. Sarah and Yewen had no children.
We are hoping to find Yewen buried there. Lot of great history.
Thank You
Gary and Sue Bruton

About three months ago, the MCHC web site received an inquiry regarding the Norman Valley Cemetery.  Gary and
Sue Bruton, from Leander, were interested in clearing it with long range plans of a THC Historic Texas
Cemetery designation. Sues 4x great-grandmother, Sarah Chance, is interred there.  Beth and I jumped in to
assist as time would allow. A long time family friend of Beth's (Tim Hanke) owns a farm not three miles from
there. He is related to the three Hanke's interred there. Tim has offered to help with his tractor for
leveling and filling in all the "dillo" holes. This is the first cemetery that we visited that has known
desecration of two crypts (attachment #1). Gary and Sue are great people and we've grown quite fond of them.

Gary also received a copy of a personal diary of one of the pioneering souls interred stating that area was
earlier called  Holby Valley.  Attachment #2 is the Hanke plot which they have since cleared and improved. We
have been scratching our heads on attachment #3 since we discovered it under all the underbrush. A distinct
very large mound was built probably four feet high and eight feet square. At one time it was elaborately
terraced with brick courses all around. It was placed to have, what I would call, a commanding view of the
valley. There are lots of bricks scattered all about making one wonder if there was an above ground brick
structure. Since it's in a cemetery, we're assuming that it was some sort of funerary chamber but for the life
of us, we're unable to visualize what it must have looked like.


Kathy Edwards
229 Red Raven Dr

I recently came across the Norman Valley Cemetery page on this site. I've read the correspondence on this page
and want to say thanks for the aid in restoring this cemetery. I am a descendant of Patrick Sampier (San
Peirre) and seeing the condition of the graves and then the restoration photos I've seen elsewhere, makes me
quite thankful that someone would care enough to do this.

Thanks Again,

Photo courtesy of Gary Bruton
Photo courtesy of Gary Bruton
Photo courtesy of Gary Bruton
Photo courtesy of Jack Brooks
Photo courtesy of Jack Brooks
Photo courtesy of Jack Brooks