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
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Holly Tankersly
5007 SE Keel Ave
Lincoln City, Oregon 97367
I have a question about Harmony Cemetery, My cousins Great Great Great Grandfather Henry Thomas Pruett
(Pruitt) is buried there at Harmony and has a headstone there (the original was worn down and replaced. We are
trying to find out if there are any burial records available for Mr. Pruett?  But more important we believe
his wife Eleline Pruett (Pruitt) may have been buried there after her death in 1897. Is                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
there any place that you know of where I could look for possible burial records? I realize death records were
scarce before 1900 but not looking for an actual death document just                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
want to verify if Eleline was indeed buried there and if so if it was next to her husband's grave? Maybe even
an old newspaper which might contain such info. We have looked and looked and found nothing so figured it
would not hurt to check with you, maybe you can point us in direction of where to look? Thank you for your


I searched thru the volumes of "170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas" by Norinne Holder
Holman.  Her work was a very time-consuming effort and she also checked for obits, death records, etc in her
research.  Please realize that not all graves are marked with tombstones - especially the earlier days.  And
some tombstones are extremely difficult to read. Often people were buried with no paperwork involved.   She
added names where she found records of burial but no actual gravesite.

I looked for Pruett, Pruitt, and Prewitt (pronounced like Pruett) and although I didn't find an exact match I
have listed the closest results below even though the time frames may not match:

Harmony Cemetery shows only 1 Pruett buried there:
H. J. Pruett - 102 y.o. - 1812-1914

I also found:

(Unknown burial) : Henry T. Prewitt - died 1912 - from Milano Area

Davilla Cemetery -Elvine Pruett - (Harris) - 1913-1974

I.O.O.F. Cemetery - H. T. Pruett - h/o Pauline - 1866-1930

I.O.O.F. Cemetery - H. T. Prewitt (death records) B/D 1916

Oak Lawn Cemetery - Henry Thomas Pruett - died 1930 (death record 67 y.o.)

Sandy Creek Cemetery - Henry T. Pruitt - 1874-1921

Sandy Creek Cemetery - Henry T. Prewitt - d. 1921 - 48 y.o.  (death records) - d. 1921

There is an abandoned Pruett Family Cemetery near Davilla, TX.  It is located on private property and shows
only 3 burials: Elizabeth G. Pruett and Lillian E. Pruett, and a child showing last name of Henington - d/o
P. & Mattie.

I also found in Providence Cemetery - Burleson County (near Milam County) the following:
Henry Thomas Prewitt - 1840-1851
James A. Prewitt - 1781-1853

I will forward your request to the members of the MCHC and perhaps someone will have more info for you.

Good luck in your research.

Jerry Caywood


If I may, I'd like to contribute a couple items to Mr. Caywood's excellent reply. The Milam County
Genealogical Society members researched the Milam County death records and printed a two volume set of books.
The attached information was gleaned from volume # 1 as noted. Death records were not required in the State of
Texas until 1903. It has been rumored to have been initially, spottily implemented through out the State.
Therefore the record books represent the same. I'm unable to relate the attached info to your inquiry.

Referencing the Find a Grave website, Mr. Henry T. PRUETT(1812-1914) was remarkably long lived. Something of
interest is the spelling of his wife's name.  Your spelling, Find a Graves(Eliline and Elelene) and his family
links daughter(Ellaline).

Rockdale's Lucy Hill Patterson Library has micro-tape copies of the Rockdale Reporter/Messenger newspaper from
1899 to fairly recent. I'll attempt to find Henry T. Pruett's obituary for you if available and legible. Many
of the newspapers were in poor condition when microfilmed. Eliline Rencher Pruett's(u/k- 1897) obituary might
possibly have been printed in the Cameron Herald newspaper as well and LHP library also has micro-tapes of
that newspaper which go back considerably farther than the Rockdale Reporters 1899. Since she expired 13 years
before her husband, we're assuming she/ they lived in Milam County at the time. I'll research for her obituary
as well and advise at my earliest convenience.
Respectfully, Jack Brooks


I visited Rockdale's Lucy Hill Patterson Library today and was moderately successful while researching your

First off, I was able to find an obituary for Henry Thomas Pruett. See attachment #1.

Also see the Death Certificate Records at the bottom of the same attachment w/surname Prewitt.  Mortality date
is the same June 02, 1912.  It would appear that whomever was providing  or receiving the death certificate
information was misinformed or careless. 

Attachment #6 is 1880's Milam County Census and reads Pruett. 

I believe that attachment #2 is necessary for legibility, since the original micro-tape was very difficult to
read. If we may believe the accuracy of this obituary, it seriously changes what is posted on Find a Grave.
The same goes for the headstone that replaced the previous illegible one in the Harmony Cemetery.

Due to the detail in the obituary, it appears that a knowledgeable individual knew Mr. Pruett quite well,
which leads to creditability. 

Attachment #3 reflects the Find A Grave posting. Note my pen and ink changes from the obituary disclosure. The
obituary stated that Henry was 91 years of age in 1912 which would make his birth year 1821, not 1812. If born
in 1812 his age would have been 100 at expiration. The Milam County Death Records show Henry to be 90 years of
age (see bottom of attachment #1).

Find a Grave also shows H. J. Pruett and should read H. T. Pruett. 

Obituary also states that Henry was a resident of Milam County for 38 years, which would put his arrival
around 1874 in lieu of 1871. I did not see him listed in any earlier census's.

Attachment #4 lists a brief description of the Harmony Cemetery compliments of Norinne Holman's 170 years of
Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas, Vol. 1, pg. 353.

Henry's headstone, also shown in attachment #4, reflects my pen and ink changes to have it conform to the
obituary, and proposed engraving..

Attachment #5 is the guide for interpreting the 1880's Census which is attachment #6.

The numerous Pruett children are quite possibly many of Henry's 14 children. I was unsuccessful in obtaining
any information regarding an Eleline Pruett. I did find an Elelina in the 1880 census which is possibly one
and the same. She was 48 years of age and he was 60 at the time.
If you are interested in a death certificate for Henry, one is probably available since it appears to have
been used for the existing death records that are referenced in attachment #1. The Milam County, County Clerks
office may be contacted at the following link ; .

I will be in Rockdale on Tuesday, Feb. 3rd, so if you would like me to scout out or probe for Elelina's
possible adjacent grave, I would be happy to oblige. Just let me know by replying to this email.

Respectfully, Jack Brooks.


Thank you for your hard work, it is very much appreciated. I forwarded the information onto my cousin and he
was very happy and appreciative.
Holly Tankersly


Holly, I emailed a Bev, aka "erlybrd" on the Find a Grave website who posted Henry to their site. She replied
stating that David Rencher was a distant cousin of her's. He happens to be a Mormon Genealogical Director. He
had forwarded his notes on the Pruett's and Renchers to her.

Finally, Bev was kind enough to share them with me, and I with you. What a web we weave.

If you'll also take note, we're back to surname Prewitt, Prewett again. A sincere "Thank you" to David Rencher
and Bev for their kindness in sharing their research with us.

"Dear John, Below are the notes from David Rencher, along with some of my own research regarding the Pruetts
and Renchers. 

"For twenty years, the family migrates continually, leaving Mississippi and arriving in Texas in 1851. They
travel northwest through Texas until finally settling in Milam County in 1871.  In 1850, they are living in
Scott County, Mississippi.  In 1855, they are living in Independence, Washington County, Texas where their
daughter Sarah Elizabeth is born.  From 1857 – 1870, they locate in Fayette County, Texas  and finally move
further north and ultimately settle in Milam County, Texas in 1871. 

These are the footnotes David has… .
-Henry Prewit household, 1850 U. S. census, Scott County, Mississippi, population schedule, page 258B,
dwelling 71, family 71, [database online] Provo, Utah:, downloaded 5 August 2005. 
-Henry T. Prewitt entry, Milam County Deaths no. 1325 (1912), County Clerk’s Office, Cameron, Texas, “age 90”;
H. J. (sic) Pruett tombstone, Harmony Cemetery (Milam County) Texas (located six miles southeast of Rockdale,
Texas, travel 2 miles south on U.S. Highway 77, turn left onto Farm to Market Road 908, continue to County
Road 320 and turn to the right, then 1½ miles to the cemetery);
-photographed and transcribed by David E. Rencher, 17 January 2000. The tombstone is modern and the birth and
death dates do not match the census nor the death certificate for Henry’s age. “H. J. Pruett, May 1812 – June
-No record of death can be located for Eleline C. Pruett. She is enumerated with the family in the 1880
census, Henry T. Pruett household, 1880 U. S. census, Milam County, Texas, population schedule, ED 103, SD 5,
sheet 13 (page 237A), dwelling 102, family 102; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 1319, FHL
microfilm 1,255,319.  In the 1910 census, Henry is enumerated as a widower. Extensive searches in the 1900
census have failed to locate an entry for Henry or Eleline. There is no tombstone for her in Harmony Cemetery,
Milam County, Texas where Henry and other family members are buried. 
-Mrs. M. J. Simmons obituary, The Rockdale Reporter and Messenger, Rockdale, Texas, 29 December 1955, page 5,
columns 1–3. (according to the death certificate of Mrs. M. j. Simmons(Sarah E. Pruett Simmons), her father
was Henry Pruett, and the mothers name is left blank.  She was 100 yrs old at the time of her death. She is
buried in Harmony Cemetery)  
-1850 U.S. census, Scott County, Mississippi, population schedule, page 258B, dwelling 71, family 71. 
-Mrs. M. J. Simmons obituary, The Rockdale Reporter and Messenger, Rockdale, Texas, 29 December 1955, page 5,
columns 1–3.(see above) 
-Henry T. Prewett household, 1870 U.S. census, Fayette County, Texas, population schedule, Between
Halletsville Road and Buckners Creek, High Hill post office, page 428, dwelling 448, family 423; National
Archives micropublication M593, roll 1585; FHL microfilm 553,084.  
-1880 U.S. census, Milam County, Texas, population schedule, ED 103, SD 5, sheet 13, dwelling 102, family 102. 
-1850 U.S. census, Scott County, Mississippi, population schedule, page 258B, dwelling 71, family 71. (I’ve
not seen the obituary of Mrs. M. J. Simmons, just her death certificate) 

Now on to Eleline. She was one of 9 siblings… born to John Nelson Rencher and Elizabeth Barbee in North
Carolina.  Of the ten siblings, eight were girls.  Her father died between 1840 when he last appeared in the
census of Greene County Alabama, and 1850 where his wife Elizabeth with daughter Emily and son William are
living with the eldest son, James H. Rencher and his family in Lowndes County, Alabama.  By 1850 of course,
Eleline was married to Henry and living in Scott County, Ms.  John Nelson Rencher(b. 1789) was a son of John
Grant Rencher (1744-1812) who was the first Irish immigrant, arriving in the colonies (Pa) just prior to the
Rev War.  The family had lived in Ireland for about 200 years, however were first seen Leicestershire England. 

Excerpt from a letter Daniel Rencher (a brother to John Nelson) to his sister Sarah Rencher Merritt: “In a
letter dated April 10, 1844 Daniel Grant writes to his sister Sarah about their brother... "Nelson, poor
fellow, is about the same.  He was here the other day after help to get up some logs. He has been to Mobile. 
He told me what he gave for rice, sugar, coffee, molassas.  He but never mention his whiskey.  I have heard he
got four barrels but he says only one for himself.  If he has the four (unreadable).  I fear he will hardly
see another Christmas though he looks quite well now for a man of his age and habits. "
John Brooks


Thank you for your hard work it is very much appreciated, I forwarded the information on to my cousin and he
was very happy and appreciative.


Holly, I'm not sure if you saw this posting on the MCHC site?

It might be of some help.
Jerry Caywood


Sorry for not getting back to you sooner I have been really sick with Bronchitis, Live here in Oregon on West
coast and the dampness does me in each winter. Thank you so much for all your hard work. My cousin is thrilled
with the info you have found for us, really helped solve some mysteries and make some new ones:).  Thank you
from the bottom of my heart - you rock.



My wife and I  visited Harmony Cemetery 02/03/2015. My objective was to probe around Henry's headstone to see
if I might find a tablet that had been knocked down and covered over with time. It is an issue with many of
our other Milam County cemeteries. If you'll take note of attachment #1, the entire family plot has been
encased in concrete fairly recently.

Henry is in the middle in the front row. You'll note the crepe myrtle in the right rear corner, where I found
a suspect pauper plot stone. To my knowledge, large surface stones like this are an anomaly in the vicinity
and of the cemetery. Also coincidentally, is that the stone is in line with the existing row and of reasonable
spacing. Anything further on the matter would be conjecture.

I called a Mrs. Skinner whose telephone # was on a sign on the fence. I hoped that the cemetery association
might have inherited records of any interments during the years when the church was in existence. Mr. Skinner
later returned my call and said that he does, in fact, have some old records, but he's never really looked at
them. He said he would pull them out and see if there were burial records involved and if so advise on any
Pruett interments.

As luck with have it, a mature Mrs. Schneebli was being driven past the cemetery by her son Wayne. They turned
around and stopped to see why I was digging in the cemetery. She possessed a wealth of information on the
cemetery and the interred. Unfortunately she had no knowledge of the potential 1897 internment of Eleline.
They too, thought the rock that I had exposed was suspect.I thought that the cemetery book on site told a
story of its own. Mr. David Rencher, who contributed quite a bit of information on an earlier post, visited
from Utah in 2004 (attachment #5). Also the 1994 post looking for Henry T. Pruett  (attachment #5). It appears
that we're walking down a well worn path.
Sincerely, Jack Brooks


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