Ella Morrison: "We need to give credit to two others who helped in recent years. Bobbie Withriow who cut tree limbs, cleaned Veteran headstones, and donated and helped place flowers on every grave in the cemetery, and planted three Crepe Myrtle trees. Sherry Richards also helped with cleaning and planting in the recent past. Bobbie Withriow and The Fallen Org. can never be compensated enough for his help."
While ancestral research can be found online, in family Bibles and from records like death certificates maintained by counties, another good source is tombstones.
But many cemeteries are in the middle of nowhere!
Wayne Ware, chair of the Cemetery Restoration Committee, under the direction of the Williamson County Historical Commission, told me that years ago in Granger a woman whose husband had died put him in the back of her wagon and started down the road. A stranger saw her and told her to bury him on land nearby.
Also, over 100 Wilco cemeteries are behind locked gates or not yet located. Sometimes a property owner will give permission to relatives or others to get on their land, but many landowners don’t live on the property, so gaining access is nearly impossible.
Yet the cemetery committee plods on. It currently has 16 active volunteers who maintain 20 neglected cemeteries in the county on a rotation basis. The history buried in these cemeteries motivates the volunteers who call the interned “the pioneers” of Williamson County.
The committee has identified 236 cemeteries, 26 of which have received the Historic Texas Cemetery designation by the Texas Historical Commission.
Nancy Bell, treasurer for the Historic Commission, said some of these cemeteries date back to the 1840s. Starting in the spring, the volunteers mow and clean the cemeteries. In the fall, after the weeds and grass die down, they remove old, dead trees and underbrush.
Last fall, the volunteers spent many hours clearing out the Hargis cemetery, located on an acre south of Taylor and north of Coupland. A fund was established by the Hargis family for its upkeep, but the money’s whereabouts is unknown.
However, the plot had become impenetrable from overgrown brambles, brush, shrubs and trees and is known for an abundance of rattlesnakes. Still, the volunteers cleared it.
Eloise Brackenridge, chair of the Historical Commission, tells another story about the Taylor cemetery that began after someone died during a gunfight, and the townspeople needed somewhere to bury the dead.
Round Rock residents Tina Steiner, her Aunt, Ella Sauls Morrison, Morri