From US 79, turn south on FM 908 -
one block past railroad tracks
Old City Cemetery Hosts Rare burial on Tuesday
Rockdale Reporter - January 10, 2013
Rockdale’s Old City Cemetery made a little more history on Tuesday with its first
interment in a number of years.
Lillian Douthit of Houston was buried in the historic old cemetery under the direction of
a Houston area funeral home.
Douthit was the daughter of Dr. Walton E. and Lillian Douthit, a family with strong
Rockdale’s Old City Cemetery is located just south of the railroad tracks off South Main
Street and contains a number of graves from the 1800s.
There are also a number of Confederate veterans interred in the cemetery.
The Old City-Rockdale Cemetery. Dr. Lucile Estell is coordinating the application of
a THC HTC designation for the cemetery. The white and African American sections will be
merged into one designation. The Jewish section already has theirs along with a marker.
Alex Borger and Todd Richardson, Texas State graduate students are working on the
designation for Dr. Estell. They're also working on a historical designation for two
more of my favorite people, Dan and Joan Ratliff's Rainbow Courts Motel.
The droughts from the past few years (especially 2011) have taken their toll on the
cedar trees in the above cemetery. There's 40 or 50 dead cedars that needed to be
removed. The city has taken that on and is pushing over the 30-70' trees. The cemetery
is very congested in some locations, so a number of us historical/ genealogical group
members are temporarily relocating the headstones so that the trees may be felled. Then
returning them to their original location. Many of them needed leveling and repair so
it's a good opportunity to do that while we're at it. The only issue is that there are
so many that it's going to be a slow ongoing process. The bright spot is that it has
brought attention to the neglected cemetery and that there's a renewed effort to repair
the many wrought iron fence enclosures and the perimeter fence. A new flag pole is in
the works and I believe even the Rockdale Garden Club might be interested in possibly
putting in a garden in the most visible N/W corner of the cemetery (there's a water
source there). There has been talk of additional improvements to this 140 year old
cemetery but I believe that we need to get a handle on all the headstone maintenance
issues before we proceed much further unless other things are done concurrently.
Another concern, as a preservationist but also a realist, is the cemetery perimeter
fence. There are sections that are damaged and/or missing. The same applies to a number
of the family plot wrought iron fences. The southern boundary fence between the white
and African American section is missing a considerable amount of fencing but has about
150' that's good. What if we removed the old south boundary "segregation" fence and
used the 150' to repair the three other highly visible sides fronting the roadways and
to repair or replace some of the damaged family plot fencing?
Should some grant money become available, we could then extend the fence south in the
front and the back and from front to back to enclose the white and African American
section together instead of separate. The historical groups and the City Council need
to discuss this issue to see what kind of consensus might be decided upon. A few of the
more prominent African American members in the community that I discussed this with
appear to like the idea. I've got to admit that after 60-80 years of neglect, everyone
is happy with any type of improvement that's offered.
On Saturday (05/24/14) we had an Old City-Rockdale Cemetery work day with the Rockdale
ISD students, community members and members of the Rockdale Historical society(Depot),
with the support of the Milam County Genealogical Society and the Milam County
Historical Commission . The students and volunteers landscaping and pruning efforts
really added to the appearance of the cemetery.
(ABOVE) PAST MEETS FUTURE - Some of
Rockdale’s youngest volunteers pitched in
to help Rockdale’s oldest cemetery in a
cleanup day Saturday. From left, Janae
Crawford, Brandon Cartwright, Allen
Edmondson, Vanessa Reyes Gonzales, Marco
Hernandez and Brody Morgan pitched in.
Students were led by Denice Doss. Also,
assisting were community residents and
members of the Rockdale Historical Society,
Milam County Genealogical Society and the
Milam County Historical Commission.
Volunteers expressed appreciation to City
Mgr. Kelvin Knauf and city workers for