Cemeteries are the place to find your history and they can be quite peaceful. We at the Historical Commission take our work with cemeteries seriously, although we are just guides to cemetery rules and regulations. We do not provide legal advice nor are we an enforcement agency; there are specialized folks in our community for that. While cemetery regulations can be confusing, we are here to help, and if we can’t, you will be directed to the place with an answer, jurisdiction or resolution. The Texas Historical Commission charges us (the local historical commissions) with the duty of maintaining historical resources and cemeteries that are on that list. So, occasionally I prod the family to go on a country drive while we check on markers and cemeteries. This past weekend was no different. We visited a very rural cemetery in between Charlotte and Jourdanton. I really couldn’t give you a real in-between description, but the dirt all around was red, which led me to jokingly proclaim to Leigh Ann (my wife), “We’re definitely in Charlotte!”
This cemetery was quiet, serene almost. The birds provided the background music of a warm, breezy country morning. This cemetery is an ideal sylvan setting as the cemetery sits at a decent drive from the county road. The perimeter is well maintained and the graves are clean. One grave did stand out, and although graves can be saddening, this one pulled me in. It was of a young Hispanic male that died in his 20s and his gravestone had a military, World War II inscription. He appeared to have perished while in service to his country in 1943. Who I assume is his father, is interred in the next grave. His father seemed to have died some 24 years after his son. The grip of this site left me humbled at the thought that this young man left home to war and never saw home again. It really gave me a guilty feeling of selfishness. Here we all are alive and breathing, complaining about the smallest nuisances. Yet, this young man died overseas, while he and his family contributed the biggest of sacrifices.
As Memorial Day nears, I would like to recognize each sacrifice made by local young people that died for our freedom, but the list is long. Omissions are likely and I cringe to think about leaving someone out inadvertently. Is it worth a shot? I think so, but I will need assistance from readers and contributors alike.
Atascosa County has lots of cemeteries and many of them are very aged. That means we have old veteran graves from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, The Civil War, The Texas Revolution and every war thereafter. I plan to cover some of these burials leading up to Memorial Day. Some of you will be surprised the extent of history that has existed here all along. If anyone has any questions on the status of any historical interest, please reach out. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week’s column, until next time.
MARTIN GONZALES is the Atascosa County Commission Chairman. If you have history of Atascosa County you’d like to share, you may contact him at 830-480-2741.