On October 15, 2005, the Caudle Cemetery Association of Erath County held a Caudle Reunion on the grounds of the Providence Primitive Baptist Church near Mt. Vernon, Texas. Approximately 75 attendees included members of the Caudle family and representatives from the Providence Church, the Providence Cemetery Association, the Franklin County Historical Society, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Order of Confederate Grays, and the Daughters of the Confederacy.
We chose this location for our reunion to honor our ancestor, Mark Caudle, and to dedicate a headstone to him for his service as a Confederate and Mt. Vernon Grays veteran. Franklin County was the area where our Caudle ancestors moved in 1841 from Tennessee, though it was first part of Red River County and then Titus County.
Thought to be the second burial in Providence Cemetery, Mark’s grave is one of several hundred unmarked burial sites. A headstone was installed in May 2005 near family members buried in the cemetery in a spot chosen by the Providence Cemetery Association. The exact location of Mark's burial in the cemetery is unknown.
We could not have had a better day for a reunion. The weather was clear, warm, and calm. Pat Kirbo, a member of the Providence Primitive Baptist Church, opened the church early. On display were personal items of Elder William James Caudle, son of Mark, who was an early pastor of the church. Deed records show that in 1871 William James deeded 2 ½ acres of land to the church for the sum of $5. Four of William James' young sons are buried in the cemetery. Mark’s father, mother, and a brother were 3 of the 7 charter members establishing the Providence Church in May 1842.
After registration and visiting, the dedication ceremony began with the entry of a Civil War Honor Guard composed of representatives from the 9th Texas and Order of the Confederate Grays. Eugene Wright of Hayward, CA, husband of Darlene Caudle Wright, a 2nd great-granddaughter of Mark Caudle, gave the invocation. The ceremony continued with a reading by a member of the Confederate Grays followed by brief statements by 3rd great-grandson Dennis Caudle of Chicago, IL and 2nd great-grandson Bill Caudle of St. Paul, MN.
Katti Alexander and Katherine Cunningham, both 5th great-granddaughters of Mark Caudle, unveiled the headstone. Wreaths were placed by the headstone by members of the Daughters of the Confederacy.
Don Vincent Cunningham, a Korean War fighter pilot veteran and 3rd great-grandson of Mark, was honored with a tribute and plaque for his service to this country.
The ceremony included reading of a proclamation honoring Mark Caudle for his service and a 21 gun salute.
After the ceremony, East Texas Caudle families hosted the fine BBQ luncheon. Cost of the meal included a $2 donation per meal to the Caudle Cemetery Association of Erath County.
Iva Caudle, long time researcher of Caudle family history, and contributor to the book Our Kin, Past and Present gave a spirited talk on Caudle genealogy. Bruce Cunningham, president of the Caudle Cemetery Association opened a business meeting with minutes of the previous meeting by Mae Tanner, Secretary-Treasurer. Oldest Caudle member attending and farthest traveling to the reunion were recognized. Directors for the Caudle Cemetery Association were nominated to complete requirements for filing for non-profit status under Section 501(c)(3). Legal counsel will be needed to complete the filing and it is hoped this will come from family members or associates to help control cost.
Following the business meeting, some members visited the Glade Springs Cemetery where more members of the Caudle family, mostly descended from Bennett Caudle, brother of Mark Caudle, are buried.
For a group photo of attendees and information on how to obtain a CD of photos of the event, click here.
Some photos copyright 2005 Four Corners Publishing, Incorporated, Mt. Vernon, TX