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San Marcos - Blanco Cemetery

Cemetery N/A
1893-
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Old Post Road
San Marcos Hays
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A wide view of the San Marcos - Blanco cemetery.
The San Marcos - Blanco Cemetery was founded by the San Marcos and Blanco Cemetery Association in 1893 to serve the needs of African-American residents of the surrounding communities. A total of 10.62 acres of land was purchased in that year, but the land was used as a graveyard prior to the purchase as records indicate the first burial in the area took place in 1886.

For some reason the caretakers of the cemetery decided to change the name of the cemetery to the San Marcos Community Cemetery in 1981, only to revert back to the original name in 1996.

A surprising number of graves in the cemetery contain simple markers that provide no identification. Some of them do not appear to be that old.
In addition to hosting the graves of African-Americans the cemetery also served as the final resting place for the destitute. At times the parcel was referred to as the Pauper's Plot.

On my visit one of the first things that struck me was the abundance of wildflowers. Although the bluebonnets had already gone to seed, there was a wash of colors spread across the grass, particularly those areas that had not been recently mowed.

There are a surprising number of World War I veterans at rest here. However, those who served their country at other times can also be found here.
It seems like there should be more graves in a cemetery that has been around for over one hundred years. The dearth of more stones may in part be due to the fact that it contains many unmarked graves, some of which are discernible only upon close examination of the ground.

Still there appears to be plenty of empty space here and the dirt road that circles the cemetery passes by large sections of well kept, but empty Earth, particularly to the right of the entrance.

Over the years the cemetery had been largely ignored and thus was threatened with being overrun with weeds and trash. Ollie Giles pressed local authorities to maintain the property, which you can read about in his excellent description and reading.

There is one exception to the general rule here that the place is well maintained. A large brush pile in the back of the cemetery seems to have provided a signal to the dim and the lazy to dump their old couches and other large items of trash. Thankfully the eye sore is not that visible from most of the cemetery grounds.

A Texas Historical Marker at this location reads:

In 1893 five trustees of the newly formed San Marcos and Blanco Cemetery Association purchased 10.62 acres of land from w. O. and Leonora Hutchison. The trustees were Henry Richardson, Luckey McQueen, Wyatt Newman, James Langdon and Miles Bowes. The land purchased was intended for use as a cemetery by the African American citizens of the communities of Nance's Mill and Mountain City, together known as the Blanco community. The graveyard site was located midway between the two communities. The earliest recorded burial was that of Emma Hamilton in August 1886, indicating the land was in use as a graveyard prior to the land purchase. The site was called the San Marcos Colored Cemetery. More than 300 graves are marked with headstones and exist along with numerous unmarked graves. among those buried here are teachers, farmers and ministers. The site has also been used as a paupers' burial ground and was sometimes referred to as the paupers' plot. In 1981 the name was officially changed to the San Marcos Community Cemetery and in 1996 the original name was restored to the san Marcos-Blanco Cemetery. The site is still active and is maintained by the cemetery association. (1997)

Photos

Wildflowers The wildflowers here are as abundant as I've seen anywhere. Those sections that were unmowed were especially packed. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Spire The oldest marker we found in the cemetery was for Ellen Barnett, whose spire marker appears to have been reconstructed at some point. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Stack A marker on one of the many unidentified graves. Some lack even this simple display. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Tree View A relative of Roscoe McKinney may have planted a small offering in the front of his headstone years ago. It has since taken over. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Concrete Markers These mysterious concrete markers can be found in several spots around the cemetery. In some cases they appear as corners of family plot boundaries. Elsewhere they appear to bear illegible markings of some sort for individual burials. (Photo by Austin Explorer) Homemade Some of the headstones appear to be homemade, including this one that includes some an interesting spelling of "forgotten". (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Several Children This stone marks the graves of a number of individuals, including three infants who died almost exactly in year intervals. (Photo by Austin Explorer)

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Recommended Item

Recommended Item Texas Cemeteries: The Resting Places of Famous, Infamous, and Just Plain Interesting Texans (Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Series)
Bill Harvey
List Price: $28.95 Our price: $20.98 Buy Now
Winner, Journalistic Achievement Award, Texas Historical Foundation, 2004