Caudle Cemetery Project

1997 to 2011


The Caudle Cemetery Project continues . . .

One hundred six years after the last burial marked by a headstone, the Caudle Cemetery Project completed its first milestone on October 20, 2001. After nearly being lost to the elements of time, this little cemetery in Erath County, Texas was located, cleaned up, fenced, and marked for posterity.

S. Mae Ascue Tanner, grandniece of James Robert Caudle who owned the farm enclosing the family cemetery, worked to have the site designated as a Texas State Historical Site. This was with the aid of her family and the generosity and work of many direct descendants of family members buried there.

The project started officially in 1997. On October 20, 2001 a Texas Historical Commission marker placed inside the gate was dedicated. Later in the afternoon, descendants of those buried in the cemetery enjoyed a reunion luncheon.

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Cemetery History

The Caudle Cemetery was originally known as the South Bolton Cemetery. In 1883 at the age of 33 James Robert Caudle, grandson of Mark Caudle, purchased the property including the cemetery. This was an extension of land he purchased in 1877. When he and wife Tennessee Petty Caudle buried their one-year-old son J. T. in the little cemetery in 1885, it became known as the Caudle Cemetery.

Rebecca Clayton Caudle, who moved to Titus County in 1841 with her husband Mark and their family, is buried there. Mark moved to Titus county in northeast Texas with his father, James Caudle, and other members of the family. At that time, Texas was not yet a state. Many came to the Republic of Texas to claim land offered by Texas to populate it after Texas had claimed its independence from Mexico in 1836. Some of these Caudle emigrants later moved to Erath County.

Rebecca's daughter-in-law, Celia Jane Petty Caudle, and two grandchildren, N. E. Caudle and Fannie Caudle, who are my grand uncle and grand aunt, are also buried there.

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How the project got started

In 1996, S. Mae Ascue Tanner and her daughter Jean Tanner were researching the family of James Caudle who had moved to Texas in 1841. They were doing this in part to obtain a Texas First Families certification for the family. A number of people that they contacted, including myself, had expressed an interest in finding this cemetery and preserving it for posterity. I know that my father and several of his brothers had tried to find the cemetery with no success. By good fortune, Mae and Jean contacted Bruce Cunningham, a direct descendant of James Robert, and he knew where the cemetery was. After attending the dedication of the Pecan Tabernacle Historical Marker on Memorial Day in 1997, Bruce led Mae and Jean through the weeds, through the fences, until finally they had found the cemetery. They reported that the cemetery was in bad condition. Mae planned a reunion held in October 1997 in Dublin, Texas for descendants interested in the Caudle Cemetery. That reunion included a visit to the Caudle Cemetery as well as to Alexander and Pecan cemeteries where many ancestors are buried. Mae was encouraged by attendees to proceed with a project to clean up the cemetery and fence it for protection. With additional good fortune, the new owner of the land enclosing the cemetery was interested in having it fenced and preserved (See the newspaper article The Dublin Citizen, Thursday, Feb. 12, 1998, Forgotten Places). As it turns out, one acre including the cemetery is deeded "in perpetuity" as a cemetery.

Mae also proceeded to get the cemetery protected by the State of Texas through proclaiming the cemetery as a Texas Historical site. She succeeded in this, as well as managing the project to clean up the cemetery (See the newspaper article The Dublin Citizen, Thursday, Oct. 21, 1999, Ancestors rescue family cemetery from neglect.) This resulted in a second reunion in October 1999.

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There are a number of questions that remain unanswered about this cemetery.

There is the question of the relationship of others buried in the cemetery to the James Robert Caudle family.

Then, there is the question as to why the cemetery was not continued to be used as a family cemetery. James Robert Caudle and his wife Tennessee, who owned the land including the cemetery, are buried in the Alexander Cemetery.

Finally, there are reported to be 26 graves with field stones, but no identities of who is buried there. These presumably are graves of the original South Bolton cemetery.

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Page modified Jul 12, 2011