You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Maxwell descendants to clean up cemetery
Many cemeteries in Wilson County are well cared for and often visited by family and friends. Some are in need of a little mowing and trimming. The Maxwell Cemetery, after many generations of neglect, is in seriously bad condition and in need of much love and hard work.
There will be a workday in the cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 1, beginning at 9 a.m. and lasting until dusk, with a noon break for lunch and a meeting to discuss forming a cemetery association for care and preservation. Those participating are encouraged to take water or cold drinks, and food to share, such as a covered dish, barbecue, or fried chicken.
Appropriate clothing, shoes, and gloves should be worn. Workers will cut tree limbs, brush, vines, weeds, and grass. Use of a brush-chipping machine is being sought so brush will not have to be hauled off. Attempts will be made to place tombstones upright and make minor repairs. There are strict guidelines set out by the state of Texas for preservation of such historical structures; workers will be instructed in those methods.
Located on private property on F.M. 536 west of Fairview, the 5 acres of land was dedicated as a cemetery in 1873 by Samuel E. Pearce when he sold 50 acres to George Maxwell, a local farmer who immigrated from Scotland. The land has changed hands many times, but the cemetery tract has always been cited on the deed. People were buried there until the late 1930s but no one had the responsibility of caring for or preserving the cemetery. The landowners have the legal responsibility of allowing people to traverse their property to get to the cemetery, but they have no obligation to tend the cemetery.
Over the years, wild animals and cattle have trampled the graves, knocked over tombstones, and destroyed evidence of some gravesites. The current owners, the Jaksik family, erected a barbed-wire fence to keep out cattle, but nothing can prevent the wild animals’ access. Trees and brush have overgrown the land, forming a massive barrier, which must be cut through to get to the gravesites.
Several years ago, some descendants of George Maxwell “Mack” Carver searched and found the cemetery and went for a visit. Our grandfather’s tombstone reads, “Gone but not forgotten.” Those heartfelt words have caused the family to work to locate and contact other descendants of those buried there in order to organize a restoration effort. Some of the names on remaining tombstones are: Bell, Brister, Carver, Davidson, Dossey, Fleming, Garcia, Gardner (or Gartner), Hall, Hatch, Henderson, Heyman, Hunt, Hurley, Jones, Lewis, Long, Lothringer, McCurdy, Neal, Nocker, Pearce, Schilder, Swift, Tollett, and Wild (or Wilda). Many tombstones are no longer legible or have been broken beyond repair. The Wilson County Historical Commission has been most helpful in obtaining lists of these names and other important information about the cemetery. Anyone with ties to these family names is encouraged to be a part of this restoration effort.
The descendants are forming a cemetery association and plan to seek the Texas Historical Cemetery Designation. Traditionally, the cemetery has been called “The Maxwell Cemetery,” but some have suggested adding the name “Pearce” in order to acknowledge Mr. Pearce, who allowed burials there as early as 1858 and to show appreciation for his dedication of the land. The name “The Pearce--Maxwell Cemetery” will be discussed at the workday and organizational meeting of the proposed association. It is hoped that by forming an association, members will be able to obtain status as a charitable organization for the benefit of tax-deductible donations. Not only will much physical work be required in the restoration and preservation of the old cemetery, donations of money will also be required. A substantial fence and gate, an appropriate sign, and materials for repairs are some of the immediate, pressing needs. It is hoped that local businesses will do their part and join the effort. Donations of money, supplies, equipment, and manpower will be appreciated.
No chronological or accurate records have been found regarding burials in the cemetery. Surveys of the remaining tombstones have been made by several individuals over the past years. Anyone with information about the burials or names and locations of tombstones, especially pictures, is welcome.
Access to the Maxwell Cemetery is off F.M. 536, about 15 miles west of Floresville. From I-37, head east on F.M. 536 approximately 3-1/2 miles. Signs will be posted. Vehicles will be allowed only in designated areas. A four-wheel drive vehicle will be available to transport workers from the road to the cemetery site, along a path the owner will designate.
Everyone in the Wilson and Atascosa county area is invited to attend and help with the work, especially descendants of people buried in the cemetery.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Hear John Muir music at San Antonio Missions (April 27, 2016)
Judy Bolton Mysteries (April 27, 2016)
Kendra Scott Trunk Show in Poth (April 27, 2016)
Merle Haggard tribute to highlight Opry (April 27, 2016)
Mother’s Day Bake Sale (April 27, 2016)
Musical Club hosts a Bealls style show (April 27, 2016)
See ‘Shenandoah’ at Night in Ol’ La Vernia (April 27, 2016)
Suspected bank bandits charged (April 27, 2016)
Sängerfest brings German choral feast to Floresville (April 27, 2016)
Theatre Arts students plan variety show (April 27, 2016)
Treat Mom to a play May 8 (April 27, 2016)
America needs old-fashioned values (April 20, 2016)
Boy Scouts will mark 105 years April 24 in Floresville (April 20, 2016)
Cowboy Breakfast will benefit families in need (April 20, 2016)
Dance to the ‘Countrymen’ April 24 in Geronimo (April 20, 2016)
Davy Crockett lunchbox (April 20, 2016)
Enjoy Parish Festival May 1 (April 20, 2016)
Gospel Music Association plans convention (April 20, 2016)
Historian’s archives secure the past for the future (April 20, 2016)
Jazz Festival to feature Grammy winner (April 20, 2016)
Lions seek vendors for upcoming Car Show (April 20, 2016)
Paper Clover Campaign continues (April 20, 2016)
Road Runners group run April 23 (April 20, 2016)
See Johnny Rodriguez at Texas Theatre (April 20, 2016)
Shop books and more at Falls City library (April 20, 2016)
Annual Cowboy Breakfast set for April 23 (April 13, 2016)
Cutting the cord on sugar (April 13, 2016)
Free Grafting Seminar (April 13, 2016)
Free movie night at El Mesias (April 13, 2016)
Hanging out at Hangar 9 (April 13, 2016)
Match Safe (April 13, 2016)
Play Texas Hold ’em to help children (April 13, 2016)
Powerful illustration takes top prize (April 13, 2016)
Register your ride for the Lions Club Car Show (April 13, 2016)
Saddle up for Poth’s Ride to Remember (April 13, 2016)
St. Hedwig church feast is April 24 (April 13, 2016)
Suspects taken to jail in Floresville (April 13, 2016)
Aggie Muster is April 21 (April 6, 2016)
Beauty hides work to save historic county courthouse (April 6, 2016)
Blue Bonnet Club supports SISD Hope Day (April 6, 2016)
Bluebonnet Festival of Texas is April 9-10 (April 6, 2016)
Celebrate the Burton Cotton Gin Festival (April 6, 2016)
Enjoy free jazz concert in Kerrville (April 6, 2016)
Find out the many uses of native plants (April 6, 2016)
First Baptist to host Bible Conference (April 6, 2016)
It’s not just complaining (It’s about justice) (April 6, 2016)
It’s Swing Dance time in Seguin (April 6, 2016)
Jump-start SA party at Fiesta Fiesta (April 6, 2016)
OLPH plans tour, wine tasting fund-raiser (April 6, 2016)
Pilgrim Opry set for April 9 (April 6, 2016)
Playhouse 2000 features ‘forgotten’ Mark Twain play (April 6, 2016)
Ruby Glass (April 6, 2016)
Service Through Music benefit (April 6, 2016)
Shoot skeet, play washers for ACTS (April 6, 2016)
Witness ‘The Gospel Side of Elvis’ (April 6, 2016)