Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Requests for Info
Received via Website
1805 Pearl Avenue
Wichita Falls, Texas 76301
Hello! I am interested in hiring someone to clear out and clean up Prospect Cemetery, as it's in deplorable condition! (I have discovered that several of my ancestors are buried there). Is the cemetery on private property? How do I find out? If so, who owns the property? How would I find out the boundaries of the cemetery? Who lives in the Milam County area that is reliable to do this type of yard work and beyond? (Chain saw needed to cut up large downed trees and/or tree limbs, equipment to clear out much brush and overgrowth and truck to haul it all off). Care would need to be taken in some of the area, as there are several knocked-over head stones.
Also, I attempted to call Nadine Holder Holman to order her "70 years of Milam County Cemeteries," but the phone number you have posted is not a working number. Do you have a current working number or another way to contact her?
Thank you so much!
Standard email sent to Janna Kaelin. Request for info sent to MCHC members.
Janna, I have two contact numbers and an email for Norinne. I'll send them to you in a private post. Tell her that I gave them to you. I'm quite sure that she would want some sort of current contact information posted on our MCHC website. I'll talk with her today and find out what she would like posted and advise Jerry Caywood, our website administrator.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Regards, Jack Brooks
Janna, 'Find-a-Grave' is good if you aren't able to purchase the book. Google <Find-a-Grave>, then request Milam County cemeteries. The individual records will often have information other than birth and death.
I lived in Milam County for 70 years and knew many Milam County families. I also have the older original '150 Years of Milam County Cemeteries'.
Contact me if I can help on your research.
Janna: Jerry Caywood sent me your message from the Milam County Historical Commission's website where you were inquiring about the Prospect Cemetery. I only have an email address for Norinne Holder Holman, not a mailing address. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I am including your letter about the cemetery in this next newsletter, which I will be sending out in a few days. Maybe some other locals know something about this cemetery and will contact you.
Milam County Genealogical Society
Jerry, Thank you for getting my information request to your members! So many have already contacted me! I'm overly impressed!!! I do hope that someone can provide me with Prospect Cemetery information!
Regarding Norinne Holder Holman's contact information on your website...it IS correct! I called her this evening and reached her after a couple of attempts. She said that she is aware of the fact that her phone acts up at times and she stated she has no idea why. Anyway...I finally got in contact with her so that I can purchase her "cemetery" books.
Again, thank you for you and your members' quick responses!!!
Sincerely, Janna Kaelin
Jerry, based on Prospect Cemetery's location, Janna might call Milano city office (979) 224-0227. Billy Barnett is mayor. If she could locate relatives of the others interred there, they might share the cost of cleaning.
Peggy Wright <peggy(DOT)pj(AT)gmail(DOT)com>
Paul and Janna,
Should you be interested in attempting to contact descendants of families interred in the Prospect Cemetery, I mailed, via USPS, a Milam County telephone directory. Tracking 9114 9999 44314903 2367 23 - est. arrival Sat. 3/21/15.
During our discussion at Lucy Patterson Library, we talked about the 1874 Courthouse fire and loss of all records. That's really not so . Charles King, the Director of the Milam County Historical Museum and Historic Jail, wrote historical articles for the local newspapers in the past. He later compiled them into a 3 volume set called the Tales From The Museum. This was one of the articles. He has been kind enough to allow me to use these for MCHC purposes and all credit is given to him. References were not given, so I'm not knowledgeable of the original source.
Since we discussed your earliest interment (John Griffin, 1870) being prior to the Courthouse fire, we made the assumption that it would have probably been deeded prior to the fire. Those records are not necessarily lost (see attach #1) and/ or could have been refiled at a later date. Not knowing the date, Grantor or the Grantee make it a very labor intensive search(for me anyway). I believe that there's something like 1300 deed records books in the M/C County Clerks Office. Obviously many of them would be able to be discounted due to the expected years. See http://esearch.milamad.org/Property/View/67621 . This comes from the M/C Appraisal District (MCAD). You'll note that there are no deed records, so ownership cannot be back tracked to a deed stating the lot dimensions (usually in varas on these older properties). A vara varies by the country of origin but if you equate it to a yard, you'll be close enough for our layman purposes. We know that the property is approx. 5.0 acres as stated in the legal description. Naturally the deed would state at least 3 reference points (in this case 4), or more, for the perimeter boundary. If any one was identified and located, and with the kindness of an unnamed local Title Company to lay it out for us on paper we then would then be able to "rough it in" with a quality hand held hiking GPS. We need that deed. Regards, Jack Brooks
Janna, While researching an unrelated inquiry in Lucy Hill Patterson Library yesterday morning, I also took note of the McGee's while working in the same books. These may be redundant , since you had mentioned that you researched there, as well, in the past.
Attachments 1-3 (not shown here) may be a leap of faith since no first name was given. I had hoped that being one of the first settlers and the ca. 1850 timeline might place him for you, or tie him into the earlier writings that I had previously emailed to you. Attachment # 4 came from a homebound notebook that was on the shelf in the Genealogy studies section of the library.
I hope that you're able to glean some information from the above. Regards, Jack Brooks
Janna, I visited Prospect cemetery last Thursday morning. Another sad situation. As soon as I turned and drove down CR 336A, which is marginally passable in the average family passenger car, I knew that we would be in trouble with Community Service assistance.
A further handicap was that the cemetery was found to be not well "grouped" but interments scattered through a large area which required a considerable amount of time and effort to clear.
I found 35 of Norinne's Prospect inventory quite easily. No doubt some probing in suspect areas would find some of the eight that came from death records or from the "unknown burials" listing.
Attachment #1 photo was taken from a 1927 Milam County Property Ownership Map (6' x10') on the hall wall of Texas Country title in Cameron. I have found it invaluable on many of our MCHC inquiries. I believe the cemetery to be on the property circled. If you compare some of the names on the map, with the cemetery interred, you'll find the Williams, Nelson's, Belt's, McMillan's, Wilson's just to list a few close by. By the MCAD map, The Griffin's and Belt's still own property in the community today. There's a couple potential labor resources for you right there. I discussed the cemetery property w/ Carol Delong, a friend and ally in the County Appraisers office. See site; http://esearch.milamad.org/Property/View/67621 Since the property is in the name of the cemetery and no contact information , either address or contact tel. is available and a reasonable effort has been made to discern ownership, we were unable to see why improvements couldn't be made to the grounds and your personal family plots. Other family plots would be another issue. More than likely, the property has been put in trust to the county, like so many other cemeteries. That does not mean that they necessarily maintain them. I volunteered in the museum that day, and Polly Hauk(another friend and ally) called me while driving back to Taylor. She asked if I had seen Prospect and what I thought. I told her that I had visited Prospect that very morning and by her past guidelines on some of the other cemetery cleanup requests that I had made, it wouldn't pass. I told her that the road(CR 336A) is virtually abandoned and no longer being maintained by the county. It was washed out and I had to walk down the road until I arrived at the gap in the fence line. I had a difficult time even turning around to leave. The cemetery was poorly grouped which would maximize clean up efforts. lastly, it was not visible from a traveled road whereas the average taxpayer would reap the benefits of county labor and expense. I felt like I was selling you out by telling her this, but I knew the county criteria and she would have to abide by it. Furthermore, Polly is a friend that I value and respect and I owed her my honesty. Let me know if I may be of any future assistance to you. Regards, Jack Brooks
Jack, I received the Milam County phone book you sent and have briefly looked through it and will look through it more thoroughly when I get a chance. Thank you for sending it! I might attempt to contact folks who have the same names as those buried in Prospect, but I really think I would rather hire someone to do the work. You know...how most people show such little interest in genealogy and sadly wouldn't even know (or care) if they are descendants of those interred there....
It all seems so much more complicated than what I first anticipated! I think I was somewhat na´ve about the process -- one which appears to be a not-so-simple one. I've been quite bummed about it... I really thought we would be able to easily find someone to do the work, be there when they did it (and work along side them), and be done with it (satisfied that those interred in the area are shown the respect that they deserve). I still am not legally sure that this is permissible...not knowing if it lies on the property of a land owner or not.
Also, from some of the information you sent, it almost sounds like it's okay to clean up my ancestors' areas, but maybe not the rest of the area??? I am a bit unsure. Another thing that complicates it, is that we are miles away. It would be much easier to deal with if we lived in the area. I will be in the Milam County area near the last of April, after a business trip to Austin, so thought I would pursue this more at that time, unless I can work things out before.
Recently, you sent me obituaries of Bessie and Albert, Sr. McGee taken from "Some Central Texas Obituaries." I have no idea if they are related to me or my ancestors. Regarding "A History of Central Texas" information you sent, I'm uncertain if the McGee in the book is any connection to me. By a remote chance, he could be. From what I have found out about many of my ancestors, multiple family members migrated together (or at a later date) from their originating location and settled near each other. The area the "...Central Texas" book describes is not too far from Milam County. Too, I have discovered that there are descendants of a McGee from Lockhart; also not too far from Milam County. I'm still uncertain if they are related. Lynna Kay and I have both hit a brick wall with our shared gg grandfather, John McGee (born in Tennessee, father to my J A McGee, and buried in Little River Cemetery). Both she and I have not been able to locate any information on him in Lauderdale County, Alabama, where the family was prior to coming to Texas, except for the 1850 census. It could be possible that these other McGee's are linked to us, but this is unknown.
Again, a big THANK YOU for ALL the research and help you have done to assist me with my endeavor! You have no idea how much I do appreciate it!!!
Sincerely, Janna Kaelin
Janna, I didn't know how much of the information that I emailed to you would be pertinent to your studies, but since I was researching in those same books anyway, nothing was lost.
I spoke with Polly a few days ago about some Lawn maintenance issues at the Historic Depot. During our discussion, she mentioned that she was going to give you a day of her staffs time to assist in the cleanup of Prospect, this fall. I told you that she's a sweetheart. Let me know in advance if this comes to fruition and I'll see if I'm able to bring additional resources for you at that time.
Just for a clarification, and I'm no final authority, I personally believe that you'll have no property ownership issues improving Prospect, should that materialize. The property is in the name of the cemetery and absolutely no contact information is on MCAD records. That being said, and a reasonable effort on my part attempting to research ownership at the County Clerks Office on a deed prior to the Courthouse fire, I would proceed as if I owned the place. I still believe that it is likely in trust to the county like so many other cemeteries. The only caveat is that you don't have a copy of the deed that could be presented to David Barkemeyer, our County judge, so that he would be able to give you full authority for improvement(see sample attachment). Remember, that you are making improvements to a historic cemetery and therefore would have the full support of the MCHC, the MCGS and the Rockdale Historical Society(Depot).
Just to let you know that you're not alone in your struggle for a labor pool, here a few examples of others like yourselves and their endeavors:
James and Patsy Brymer improving the Conoley Church Cemetery.
Gene Baird improving the John W. Hamblin Cemetery.
The Young's improving the Moss Cemetery.
Kenneth Bzikowski propose improvement of the Lilac Black Cemetery.
Gary and Sue Bruton improving the Norman Valley Cemetery. I'm sure that there are a few others that I'm unaware of their progress.
Beth and myself:
San Andres: http://www.milamcountyhistoricalcommission.org/cemetery_san_andres.php
Hirt/ Braun http://www.milamcountyhistoricalcommission.org/cemetery_brown.php
Old City-Rockdale http://www.milamcountyhistoricalcommission.org/cemetery_old_city.php
(Community volunteers also) This has been taking, and will continue to take, a considerable amount of
our time. 450 + h/s and 3 cemeteries in one city block.
Regards - Jack Brooks
On July 17, 2014 I visited and photographed Prospect Cemetery. I did a grid search as best as possible and photographed all that I found. I did upload all pictures to FindaGrave. I do plan to return but it would have to be in the winter because of the large amount of plant growth from the Spring 2015 rains.