Permission obtained from The Dublin Citizen to copy this article.

Thursday, February 12, 1998

 

Forgotten Places

By SUZY FOSTER-FRITTS, Contributing Writer

Stepping into the low thicket in lot the midst of a ranch near Carlton, one sees only dry leaves, scattered rocks and briars amongst over-grown trees. But nestled just a little deeper inside is a piece of history dating from 1870.

This piece of history, the Caudle stones as unique and simple as the times in which they were created. They are made of the same native rock that is scattered here and there around the grave sites.

Jeannine Brannon and her late husband, Hoot, knew about the cemetery when they bought the land which adjoined their property in 1983. But it wasn’t until 1997, when Mrs. Brannon took possession of the land where the unkempt cemetery is located, that she began making plans to restore it.

Mrs. Brannon researched the cemetery at the Stephenville Public Library and found notations about 26 graves.

"They say that there are probably many more, but they are covered up," Mrs. Brannon said. "I don’t think so, because there are too many ravines around it."

Mrs. Brannon said the literature noted that a group of five graves under the name of Houk were enclosed in a fence which is no longer standing.

"This was a family of five who all died within a month of each other in 1890." Mrs. Brannon said.

"More than likely, it was an epidemic of some kind. The youngest family member was only three years old."

Mrs. Brannon said it was pleasant surprise when May Tanner, the great-great-granddaughter of Rebecca Caudle who is buried in the cemetery, called her to see if it was alright for her and her family to visit the site. "The first time she came, I wasn’t home." Mrs. Brannon said. "She had to crawl under an old fence to get there."

Mrs. Tanner, who is now heading up the effort to clean and restore the cemetery, said she is thankful that Mrs. Brannon is allowing the Caudle descendants to do so.

"We are so happy that Mrs. Brannon is letting us do this, Mrs. Tanner said. "This past October, we had a reunion of sorts at the cemetery site. We had gotten on the Internet with a date and time for all the Caudle descendants to meet in Dublin and we had a big turnout."

Work will start soon on restoration and preservation of the headstones and cleaning up the area.

"We’re finally giving our descendants a burial place they deserve," Mrs. Tanner said. "They were some of the first people to settle in Erath County."

"One fellow we just recently met said ‘I want to fix the site up before I die so when I see them in heaven, I can say that we made the cemetery a place to be proud of’ I think that is the way we all feel. We want a place that we and our ancestors can be proud of.'

Mrs. Tanner said that she encourages any of the descendants of the Houk, W.T. Denton and T.H. Atkins families to contact her so she can find out more about these families and how they were connected to the Caudles.