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
Requests for Info
Received via Website

2015-08-17

Jonnie Crayton
jonniecrayton(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
San Diego, CA 92114
61nine-two63-7eight50

A group of us are interested in Cleaning the Springfield-Liberty Hill Community Cemetery in rural
Rockdale/Thorndale Milam Co TX area.

We found two family members on your board, Mrs. Susie Samson Piper & Mr. Henry James Bradford..their
assistance is needed in contacting the estate administrator...

It's also noted  Mr James Banks is on the board of Springfield Baptist Church there in Rockdale TX..

Contacting these three people is the only hope I have of making contact. Any help this organization can
give toward contacting "The Gladis Gipson Estate" and the mentioned board members to this organization
would be a great help.

*****

2015-08-07
Advised that Request for Info was being forwarded to members and interested persons.

*****

2015-08-17

Holly Jentsch
candhjentsch(AT)farm-market(DOT)net

I am the one that is working with Ms. Crayton to do something. I went to the cemetery on Wednesday and was
stopped by a 3í rattlesnake in the jungle of johnson grass from the abundant spring rains.   I was hoping
that some how a controlled burn could be done to clear the land. (surrounded by harvested farm land) I
noted that the land is owned by Springfield church and Emmit Rhem estate (Gladis Gipson).  The one
gravestone I could see from the road was Emmit Rhem and wife, with the wifeís being over turned.  On the 
drive in and out, I went by the San Andres Cemetery that has been cleaned up.  I would like to see if this
can be done.  If I didnít live on the other side of the county, I would do it.  Alas, the family members
that I have been in contact with all live out of state.  I would like to help in some way.  The cemetery is
small, historic (in my opinion) and can easily be saved and kept clean. 

Holly Jentsch

*****

2015-08-18

Ms. Crayton and Ms. Jentsch,

The local Milam County historical and genealogical groups applaud your concern over the condition of this
historic cemetery. Mr. James Bradford and myself have discussed this cemetery on numerous occasions. The
reasonably close Lilac- Black cemetery has similar issues, of which we're both, also, concerned.

First off, Milam County has a current burn ban in effect. Secondly, even if a controlled burn was allowed,
many of the tablet type headstones have the possibility of being damaged by the fire and extreme heat. The
only way that the cemetery should be cleared is with a frontal approach from the road with string trimmer,
equipped with a saw cutter head. Also  a chain saw would be needed.

Since you have already been exposed to one of our reptilian friends, you'll understand the importance of
clearing as you go. In this manner, you'll be able to have a good view of your surrounding as it is being
cleared.  Also there are many fallen and broken tablet headstones in the cemetery which would be further 
damaged if any heavier equipment were used.

Since my wife and I have been down this road numerous times while improving, or assisting in improving,
cemeteries (San Andres that you wrote of, is but one), we've found that the initial re-clearing and
headstone restoration is quite laborious. Naturally, a routine maintainence of the cemetery grounds is
necessary afterward.

Liberty Hill- Springfield has been thru this metamorphous numerous times over the years without the
necessary follow-up routine maintenance.  I presume much of the interest in the community declined after
the arson of the adjacent Church in Oct. 1995. 

Please note attachments # 1 thru 3. Attachment #3 shows the Gipson Estate contact information from the
Milam County Appraisal District office records (08/18/2015). I have found these to be out of date on
numerous occasions. Hopefully it will be current enough for your contact information needs.

I'm not sure if the Springfield Missionary Baptist Church listed in the local Milam County Red Telephone
Book (2014-2015) has ties to the Liberty Hill- Springfield Cemetery. The reason that I write that is due to
the following site:
http://www.milamcountyhistoricalcommission.org/markers_rockdale_springfield_baptist_church.php

I attempted to call and find out, but the tel. number listed (512) 446-4135 was disconnected. If anywhere,
I believe that their local cemetery ties would be to the Eastlawn and Riddle Cemetery which are nearby.

I believe that you'll find the following sites interesting if you're not already aware of them;
http://www.lksfriday.com/MILAM/milam-750n.htm
http://www.milamcountyhistoricalcommission.org/info_sought_14.php
http://www.milamcountyhistoricalcommission.org/black_history_2010_03.php 

I personally believe that your short and long term cemetery interest's will only be successful if you
involve the Rising Star Baptist Church. Some of the congregation members who worship there have family
members and ancestors interred in the Liberty Hill-Springfield Cemetery. If enough interest is generated,
possibly a Church related cemetery association could be  established, similar to other churches in the
community. There are approximately 30 individuals who expired in the mid 1960's or later up to 2000 (Eva
Clayton 1907-2000). Possibly a hit or miss effort at calling surnames in the current telephone directory
may find descendants who might care to assist in the cemetery improvements.

If you're interested in attempting this, I would be happy to provide a cemetery interred listing
(compliments of Ms. Norrine Holman's "170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milan County, Texas").

Also, a current Milam County Red Telephone book.

Milam County Community Service - http://milamcounty.net/adultprobation.html -  may be able to assist in
your cause, this fall, if adequate staffing is available.

Church cemeteries are generally exempt, but since the church no longer exists, and it is considered an
abandoned cemetery for all practical purposes, you might qualify for their assistance.

A further plus is that it is directly adjacent to a County Road and that no other private property must be
accessed to gain entry. The preceding are all community service prerequisites.

Pastor Royal Johnson might be receptive to a presentation to the Rising Star Baptist Church Board members
or maybe even to the congregation itself. Contact info. (904) 446-2759.

The same may apply for Pastor Ross at Springfield Baptist. No contact information is available except
address: 232 E. 3rd Ave. Rockdale, TX 76567.

My wife and I would be happy to contribute to a cemetery workday, should one come to fruition. This,
obviously, would merely be a patch and not a permanent fix for the conditions that exist.

Respectfully, Jack Brooks

*****


Photos/copies furnished by Jack Brooks









.
2015-09-06

Holly Jentsch
jentsch(AT)farm-market(DOT)net


The Liberty Hill - Springfield property is listed as commercial and under the address of the Springfield Baptist Church in Rockdale.  It is my understanding that the Rockdale church says the property is not theirs.

The Milam County Appraisal office said the address of PO Box 629 has been in their system longer than around 1985 and the records were destroyed prior to that. 

The property is exempt listed, Iím sure because a viable church is listed as the owner, but is also listed as commercial, not cemetery. 

Here in lies the problem:  The last mention of a church clerk was a Mrs. Willie Mae Dykes, who died in 1983 and is buried in the cemetery.  I found the church was still active in the late 70ís with Pastor C. A. Hill.  The Rockdale and the Liberty Hill community churches are 2 different entities that have somehow become one because of an address P. O. Box?

I checked the Texas Secretary of State records for any filings for the church and found none.  There is one affidavit from 2000 that listed surnames of past church members listed on Mrs. Dykes history story.  The affidavit was to show the church property was not included in another larger piece of property.

Questions: If there is no owner of the property because the listed owner is now defunct, then what happens?  The property reverts to the state?  Is it no longer exempt if the exempt party that owned it disappeared?  Does it need to be listed as a cemetery on the tax rolls?  Does the county get it?  How can it be made Ďsafeí?

Just some thoughts.

Holly Jentsch
jentsch(at)farm-market(dot)net

*****

2015-09-07

Email forwarded to MCHC members and other interested parties.

*****

Please see additional information furnished by Jason Rabb - 2016-12-18



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