by Barbara J. Wood
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CEMETERIES

"Stockdale – A Glimpse Into The Past"

GRAVEYARDS & CEMETERIES ... have always fascinated me.  They tell so much history that can be gathered from the tombstones as one takes a free time walk. The process of burial was different 100 years ago. Miss Birdie Lorenz wrote an interesting and informative story in her book, "Stockdale A Glimpse IntoThe Past" about cemetery practices. (Courtesy of Dawn Steenken Korzekwa)

The Pearce-Maxwell Cemetery of Wilson County Texas

Lost cemetery finally found ....  on private land. Trey Cranford  shares his search on finding his Great Great Grandmothers headstone in Wilson County Texas.

"I searched for years and years to try to find my Great Great Grandmothers headstone.  I was familiar with the area (I had lived 30 miles away for several years) but could never find the headstone at any of the "known cemeteries". By luck, I was reading the hometown newspaper and ran across a community notice asking for help cleaning up and helping repair an old cemetery.  With a little research I was able to confirm that this land is where my GG Grandmother was laid to rest!  She was FOUND! The cemetery is on private property and off the beaten path! "

"Rev. Samuel E. Pearce and his family homesteaded 50 acres and was granted a 'patent' or deed in 1861. In 1858, he allowed a neighbor's wife to be buried there, his wife was buried there the next year. In 1873, when Rev.Pearce sold the land to George Maxwell, he stipulated that the five acre tract remain a cemetery. Burials continued and the community called it "The Maxwell Cemetery". Many infants and children were buried, some entire families.

Almost every tombstone has suffered damage from the elements, animals and vandals. The Bible pictured on Rev. Pearce's tombstone has bullet holes. Efforts to restore the old cemetery began in December 2012 and volunteers are being sought to help with the tremendous work yet to be done. To honor the original donor of the land, the name was changed to "The Pearce-Maxwell Cemetery of Wilson County Texas"

Cemetery is on private property over a half-mile from the road. No roadway except sand path over pasture. Four-wheel drive vehicle recommended for access."

In looking at census records the Pearce Family were listed next to my family in the 1870 census so they were likely close neighbors

Timeline of family arrival in Wilson County Texas
James Basil Hunt was Discharged  23rd Texas Cavalry (Gould's) Company I Private participated in Battle of Mansfield (Confederate Victory) April 08, 1864 Red River Campaign DeSoto County, LA Battle of Pleasant Hill April 9, 1864 Union Victory Sabine County, LA

Fresh from military service, James Basil Hunt married Sarah Susan Tollett in Hopkins County, Texas, on August 30, 1865, when he was 20 years old, SS was 17 years old.  The young couple ended up moving to Wilson County, Texas in 1866 and started their family.  Wilson County was formed in 1860 from Bexar County and Karnes County.

Sarah Susan passed away at 59 years of age spending her entire adult life on the farm.  JB passed at 93 years of age and had spent over 70 years in Wilson County at the time of his death.
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The first grave in 1858 was allowed by S.E.Pearce on land he had acquired through a Texas Land Grant. When he sold the land, in 1873, to Geo.Maxwell, he stipulated that five-acres forever be a cemetery. After the last grave in 1938, the cemetery fell into disrepair with no one to care for it.  Re-discovered recently by descendants of those buried there, the Pearce-Maxwell Cemetery Assn was formed to encourage volunteers to help with its restoration and preservation.  The "Texas Historical Cemetery" designation has been achieved and the historical marker was dedicated May 5, 2018.