Today is

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1899 :: Death of Baby Keys

Death - Bethlehem - The baby of Mr. & Mrs. J. Keys died, a victim of scarlet fever. Rockdale Messenger, Thursday, December 21, 1899

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2011 :: Death of John Dave Heltne

California -- John Dave Heltne, 74, a resident of Fairfield and Vacaville for seventeen years combined, died on December 10, at Sereno Oaks, in Vacaville after a long bout with muscular dystrophy. He was born on March 23, 1937 in Grafton, N.DBurial in the Family Plot will be in Murray Cemetery, Rockdale, Texas. Rockdale Reporter, December 13, 2011

Sunday, November 30, 2014

1939 :: Burial of Smiley Hook

Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at 2:30 for S.L. Hook, 55, who died early Saturday, November 25, after a long illness. Dr. Ed Gunn of Lilac delivered the funeral sermon and interment was made in Murray Cemetery with Green Funeral Home of Cameron directing. Cameron Herald, November 30, 1939

Friday, November 28, 2014

1945 :: Burial of Annie Seelke

Mrs. Annie Kraatz Seelke, 82, wife of Charlie Seelke, died early Tuesday morning in Kings Daughters Hospital at Temple where she had been taken following a stroke. 

Funeral services were held this afternoon at 2:00 o'clock in the chapel at Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home with Rev. E.C. Elzey of the Lutheran Church officiating. Burial was made in the Murray Cemetery four miles north-west of Rockdale. 

Mrs. Seelke was a native of Washington County, Texas, but when very young came to Milam County and spent the remainder of her life in Bethlehem Community. 

She is survived by her husband, Charlie Seelke, three sons, Frank of Rockdale, Ed Seelke of Thrall, John Seelke of Austin; two daughters, Mrs. Tony Hunt of Rockdale and Mrs. Dora Jones of Thrall; two brothers, Will Kraatz of Cuero, Otto Kraatz of Rockdale. There are twenty-one grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Rockdale Reporter, November 28, 1945

Friday, November 14, 2014

1901 :: Burial of H.V. Grayson

Mr. H.V. Grayson, who resided in Hearne, Texas, died last Sunday night at 12 o’clock, and was brought to Rockdale Monday for burial. He had been sick about four months, and his ailment baffled the skill of the physicians. Mr. Grayson was a brother-in-law to Mrs. J.C. McGuyre of this city. He was a member of the order of Knights of Pythias and the order of Rockdale took charge of the remains on arrival here and conducted the funeral services. The remains were taken to the Murray school house burying ground, and Rev. J.B. Sears, of the Methodist church, held prayer services at the grave. He leaves a wife and four children, to mourn his loss. They are now temporarily stopping at the home of Mr. McGuyre. Rockdale Messenger, Thursday, November 14, 1901

Friday, October 24, 2014

1982 :: Death of Jack Cummings

Rockdale - Services for Jack Cummings, 70, were at 10 a.m. Thursday in Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home in Rockdale, with the Rev. Gene York officiating. Burial was in Murray Cemetery near Rockdale. Mr. Cummings died Tuesday in a Temple hospital after a lengthy illness. He was a Rockdale native and a retired pipe fitter. . . . Cameron Herald, October 24, 1982

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1925 :: Death of Miss Lottie Banzhaf

Rockdale, Texas, Oct. 15. -- Miss Lottie Banzhaf died [on the 12th day of October] at the Van Ormi Sanitarium [Bexar County]. Her father is George Banzhaf, Milam County farm agent. Miss Banzhaf's body was brought to Rockdale and the funeral services were held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hood Caldwell, four miles north of Rockdale. Burial was made in the neighborhood cemetery. Miss Banzhaf has for several years been one of the Rockdale High School teachers. Dallas Morning News, October 16, 1925

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1948 :: Death of William Henry Stutts

On this date . . . the 11th day of October . . . in the year 1948 . . . William Henry Stutts dies while a patient at St. Edwards Hospital in Cameron, Milam County, Texas . . . his age was 84 years 4 months 3 days . . . and his residence was listed as Rockdale . . . burial was to be handled by Phillips-Luckey Co. . . . and was to take place on the 13th of October at the "Murry" Cemetery . . . informant on his Texas Certificate of Death was Myrtle Jackson of Milano, Texas . . . 

Friday, October 10, 2014

1946 :: Death of Elma Rettig

On this date in the year 1946, sixty-nine year old Miss Elma Rettig dies at the Austin State Hospital in Austin, Travis County, Texas, where she had been a patient since the 19th day of September . . . her cause of death is listed as "Chronic Myocarditis" . . . according to the death certificate, she was born on the 24th day of December in the year 1876 in Wheatland, Iowa . . . her simple tombstone lies next to that of her parents in Section A Row 3 of the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

1889 :: Death of G W Christian

According to the date inscribed on a tombstone in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas, G.W. Christian died on this date . . . the 9th day of October . . . in the year 1889 . . . 

He was first enumerated in Milam County in 1860, when the household shows the following family members . . . G W Christian 48 . . . Ellen Christian 41 . . . Andrew Christian 20 . . . Ann Christian 19 . . . Clarissa Christian 18 . . . Charles Christian 16 . . . Loura Christian 14 . . . Mary Christian 13 . . . Wm Christian 11 . . . Christiana Christian 8 . . . Ellen Christian 5 . . . Isabell Christian 9/12 . . . 

The 1870 Milam County census shows . . . Geo W Cristan 58 . . . Ellen Cristan 53 . . . Isabel Cristan 11 . . . Charles Cristan 26 . . . 

The 1880 Milam County census shows . . . Geo. W. Chrislian 67 . . . Ellen Chrislian 62 . . . Susan E. Chrislian 7 . . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1904 :: Death of Mrs. Thomas Phillips

Death - Mrs. Thomas Phillips died at home, three miles from town last Wednesday. She was buried in the Murray School House cemetery. Rockdale Messenger, October 7, 1904

Friday, October 3, 2014

1876 :: Henry Family arrives in Rockdale

Old Rockdale postcard . . .
Main St. north from I & G. N. Depot
Rockdale, Texas

The postcard has been reproduced in multiple Rockdale publications . . .
location / ownership / existence 
of original unknown . . .

According to a newspaper clipping from the files of my cousin, Peggy, a Henry* family reunion was held at the old Hamilton homeplace in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas sometime in 1931. That yellowed and crumbling piece of paper recorded the following about the arrival of my 2nd great-grandpa, William Paschal Henry (1836-1912), and his family in the brand-new town of Rockdale, Milam County, Texas . . .

On Oct. 3, 1876, the Henrys arrived in Rockdale to visit a sister and family of Mrs. Henry's, it being Dr. and Mrs. M.F. Anthony, who at that time had the post office and drug store combined on the corner where the Wolf Hotel now stands.

[*See Henry graves in Murray Cemetery at]

That is the Hotel Wolf in the lower right corner of the above collage, with an arrow pointing to the same building on the old Rockdale postcard. The Hotel had gone out of business before 1935 when Rockdale's American Legion post purchased the building.

During World War II the building's second story was lopped off and its Main Street front was shortened and remodeled. A stage was added and the hall became the place to be for dances and music for almost 20 years. Rockdale Reporter, 06 Aug 1998

When I was in high school (the 60's), we frequently spent a portion of our weekend hours attending teen dances -- with real live bands! -- in the un-airconditioned bottom-half of this building. My parents were regular fixtures as chaperones at these events.

Directly across the street was McVoy's Grocery Store where my parents shopped weekly. Every Friday, my widowed Grandma, who never learned to drive, had her grocery list ready for Mom or Dad to take with them to McVoy's. There was a large wooden magazine rack near the front door where I would sit and read comic books while Mom checked out. Mr. Galbreath kept the produce stocked and freshly washed, and would give us pieces of fresh sugar cane to chew on. The meat market at McVoy's was where Mom bought steak cutlets for making her infamous chicken-fried steak with cream gravy which NONE of us have ever been able to replicate.

I was back on Main Street just this past weekend (2009) while in Rockdale for the 75th Annual Rockdale Homecoming as well as my Mom's 60th RHS Class Reunion, where I was flattered to be told by numerous people (who had known Mom since the 40s) that, "You look just like your Mom!"

At the Homecoming gathering, one lady said to me, "Aren't you the one who found the snake in the bedroom when you were babysitting Delaine?" That was also during high school in the 60s! I was babysitting for the local pharmacist in his home. The baby and I were sitting in the rocker / recliner in her nursery when I saw a snake come crawling in the room! I got out of the room with Delaine and shut the door (which wasn't much of a barrier since it had such a gap at the bottom) and called my trusty Dad at our home (no cell phones in those days). Dad was there immediately, but it took him a while to find and kill the poisonous copperhead -- it had crawled up into the coils under the rocker / recliner!

Before I left town, we (me & Mom & my sister) visited the Dan Kubiak exhibit at the I&GN Depot, and I also took a few photos of Joy Graham's Bit of History building on Cameron Avenue.

The journey back home to Main Street was nostalgic, while somehow filled with the sweet assurance that at Home we are not forgotten. These people knew me as a child. They knew my grandparents. And in some cases, their parents and grandparents knew my ancestors. And many of the families of Rockdale have somehow managed to climb into my family tree! V. . . . June 2009 . . .

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

1900 :: Death of Emil Seelke

On this date in the year 1900 little two-month-old Emil Seelke died, presumably somewhere in Milam County, Texas . . . he is memorialized with an aged tombstone in the Murray Cemetery . . . his tombstone is located next to the tombstone of his father in Section A Row 10 . . .

Monday, September 29, 2014

1914 :: Burial of Little Ida Watkins

One hundred years ago today . . . on the 29th day of September . . . in the year 1914 . . . little Ida Watkins was laid to rest in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . she died of diptheria . . . and her forlorn tombstone stands in Section C Row 4 Plot 26 . . . according to the death certificate of her father, he is also buried in this cemetery, but in an unmarked grave . . .

Saturday, September 27, 2014

1988 :: Burial of Ollie Mae Luckey

Ollie Mae Luckey of Hearne, Texas, at the age of 89, died at her home September 25, 1988. Mae (as she was called) was born in Hare, Williamson County, Texas on June 29, 1899. She was a daughter of John Lee Dungan and Emma Cude, with twelve brothers and sisters. She was preceded in death by her parents; three husbands, Harley O. Heilman, Frank Frazier, and Arthur Luckey; a daughter, Jesse Mae Stephens and a son, Virgil R. Heilman. Mae was laid to rest with graveside services on September 27th in Murray Cemetery near Rockdale, Texas with Heartfield Funeral Home of Hearne, Texas in charge.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

1904 :: Death of Frank Laird

Frank Laird, age about 28, of Tracy, died on Thursday of last week from black jaundice. He was only sick four days. He leaves a wife and three children. . . . Frank Laird died after a brief illness at his home September 22nd [sic] with black jaundice, he was buried in the Murry school house cemetery. . . . Rockdale Messenger, October 7, 1904

Saturday, September 20, 2014

1906 :: Death of Grandpa Hargrove

Grandpa Hargrove died suddenly at Rockdale Monday at the home of his daughter Mrs. Simms. He was 81 years old and an Alabamian. Cameron Herald, September 20, 1906

Thursday, September 18, 2014

1906 :: Death of J A Hargrove

Special Telegram to The Express. ROCKDALE, Texas, Sept. 17. - J.A. Hargrove, aged 79 years, died this morning at 9 o’clock at the residence of his daughter Mrs. E.G. Simms. While walking in the yard he suddenly fell down and after being carried into the house expired in a few minutes. He was a very old resident of Rockdale, and a admirable Christian gentleman. Funeral will take place at Murray school house. The Daily Express, San Antonio, Texas, September 18, 1906

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1918 :: Death of Robert Lee Dunnam

According to a tombstone placed in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas, Robert Lee Dunnam died on the 17th day of September in the year 1918 . . . his grave marker is set in a family plot alongside the markers for his parents . . . as of today, no further information is known about him . . . 

1909 :: Death of Elizabeth Fergerson

On this date . . . the 17th day of September . . . in the year 1909 . . . Elizabeth Fergerson nee Jones dies somewhere in Texas . . . she was born in Mississippi, but was living in Milam County, Texas by 1860 . . . by 1870, she is a widow, and shows up on census records in Milam County in 1870 and 1880 . . . in 1900, she is enumerated with a son in Burleson County, Texas . . . Elizabeth was laid to rest in a family plot in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County . . .

The original of this edited photo was shared with Epitaphist by a descendant of Elizabeth . . . it was received in September of 2013 as a PDF file . . . this edited JPG image was created from that file . . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

1909 :: Birth and Death of Baby Boy Henry

On the 16th day of September . . . in the year 1909 . . . a baby boy is born in the Bethlehem community to Edgar and Berta Mary (Sharp) Henry . . . that baby dies the same day . . . and is laid to rest near his paternal grandmother in the Murray Cemetery . . .

Monday, September 15, 2014

1926 :: Burial of Ruby Osborn

On the 15th day of September in the year 1926, one-year-old Ruby Osborn is laid to rest in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . her burial location is unknown . . . little Ruby had died of dysentery in Rockdale on the 14th . . . and was survived by her parents and a number of siblings . . .

1918 :: O L Moody Laid to Rest

Rockdale, Tex., Sept. 21. -- The funeral of O.L. Moody, who was stricken with heart failure while transacting business in the office of Justice of the Peace Edward Gunn last Friday, was held Sunday afternoon at 5 o'clock from his home north of Rockdale, Rev. W.E. Copeland officiating. The remains were laid to rest in the Murray community cemetery, near the Moody home, many from the town and county being in attendance. he was born in Allegan County, Michigan, July 4, 1842. He enlisted in the army during the Civil War in April, 1861, and after three years of service was mustered out at Detroit. He went to Michigan City, Ind., where he was married on January 9, 1866, to Louise Kuhn. They came to Milam County thirty-eight years ago, settling on the farm on which he lived and died. He was a member of the Baptist Church for thirty-four years. Mr. Moody was the father of eight children, seven of whom survive: Albert S. Moody, Oren Moody of Rosebud, W.N. Moody of Minerva, Harry H. Moody of the United States Navy, Mrs. George Banzhaf, Route 3, Rockdale; Mrs. Lottie Jacob, Houston; Mrs. W.A. Saunders, Dallas, and Mrs. R.W. Mackey, San Antonio. His widow, sixteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren survive also. San Antonio Express, September 22, 1919

1910 :: Burial of Albert S. Moody

On the 15th day of September in the year 1910, Albert S. Moody was laid to rest in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . his memorial marker is located in a curbed family plot, and near the tombstone of his parents . . . his mother survived him, as well as a number of siblings . . .

Friday, September 12, 2014

1920 :: Burial of Beatris Murphy

On this date . . . the 12th day of September . . . in the year 1920 . . . six-year-old Beatris Murphy is laid to rest in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery [i.e., Murray Cemetery] in Milam County, Texas . . . she died of typhoid on the 11th day of September in Rockdale . . . she is survived by her parents, Thomas and Zulda (Gray) Murphy, and several siblings . . .

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1896 :: Death of Jim Trueblood

According to one of the tombstones still standing in the Murray Cemetery, James H. Trueblood died on the 10th day of September in the year 1896 . . . but the following news item from an October edition of The Galveston Daily News would seem to indicate that he actually died on the 10th day of October in 1896 . . . 

Rockdale, Tex., Oct. 10. -- While Oliver and Jim Trueblood were hauling a load of cotton out of their field this morning Jim was run over by the wagon and killed. After hitching their teams to the wagon both men put their shoulders to the wheels to help the team start, expecting to mount themselves while the wagon was in motion. Oliver succeeded, but Jim, while attempting to mount, lost his footing and fell under the wheel, which passed over his breast, causing almost instant death. Both men were farmers and lived on the San Gabriel river six miles north of Rockdale. The Galveston Daily News, October 12, 1896

Monday, September 8, 2014

1936 :: Burial of Sam Fergeson

On this date . . . the 8th day of September . . . in the year 1936 . . . Sam Fergeson is laid to rest in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . his Texas Certificate of Death was signed by Dr. T.S. Barkley of Rockdale . . . the following obituary was said to have been published in a local but unidentified newspaper . . . 

"Samuel Washington Fergeson was born in Tyler County, Texas December 27, 1850. At the age of 4 or 5 years he moved with his parents to Washington County, Texas. His father died [11 March 1863, location unknown] when Samuel was about 12 years old. He moved [before 1860] with his mother [and father], four brothers, and a sister to Milam County, Texas. He was married to Elizabeth Holder at the age of 25 years and to this union were born three sons. He is survived by two sons, John and Dan of Rockdale; five [?] grandchildren, Mrs. Bernice Hurley and Sam Houston Fergeson of Rockdale; and one great grandchild, Idella Mae Fergeson of Lubbock; one brother, J.F. of Rockdale [and a sister]; and several nieces and nephews. His wife died June 3, 1932. He was a native born Texan and proud of the fact that he was never out of Texas."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1941 :: Burial of Thomas E Murphy

Following an illness of long duration, Thomas Evan Murphy, 59, died at his home in Deanville Tuesday morning. Funeral services, under the direction of Phillips-Luckey, were held Wednesday afternoon at the Murray cemetery near Rockdale, with the pastor of the Rockdale Baptist church officiating.

The deceased was born in Mississippi, where he lived until 1919, when he moved to Milam county. He had been a resident of Deanville eight years.

Survivors include his widow; two daughters, Mrs. Milton Brandstetter of Sharp and Mrs. Oden Dockall of Rockdale; four sons, Paul Murphy of Deanville, Clyde Murphy of Rosenberg, Homer Murphy of Brenham, and Clarence Murphy of Corpus Christi. 

The Caldwell News and The Burleson County Ledger (Caldwell, Tex.), Vol. 56, No. 9, Ed. 1 Friday, September 5, 1941

1954 :: Burial of Alton Baggett

Alton Baggett died at the Scott and White Hospital, Temple at 3 p.m. Wednesday, September 1, 1954. He had been a patient at the hospital a few weeks ago but had returned to his home. He was taken back to the Temple hospital Tuesday where he died twenty-four hours later.

Mr. Baggett was born in the Tracy Community, October 2, 1905 and was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Walter Baggett who were prominent residents in that community. He was a nephew of Mrs. J.A. Laird and Miss Cora Baggett of Cameron. Mr. Baggett graduated from high school in Cameron and was an outstanding athlete on both the football and track teams. He attended the University of Texas and worked a number of years in Houston and Waco for the Anderson-Clayton Company. He had made his home in the community where he was born for the past ten years and had been employed with H.H. Coffield in Rockdale for several years.

Mr. Baggett was a large land owner in the Tracy community and had engaged in farming and ranching extensively for the past eight years. He was well known over the entire county and had many friends in Cameron.

Survivors include one brother, Elmo Baggett of Lubbock, one sister, Mrs. Cy Carroll of Philadelphia, Pa., one niece, Miss Nancy Baggett of Lubbock.

Funeral Services were scheduled from the St. John's Methodist Church, Rockdale, at 10 a.m. Friday, September 3, 1954 . . . Earl S. Yokley, pastor, assisted by Dr. Magers, pastor, First Methodist Church Cameron.

Interment in the Murray Cemetery with Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home directing arrangements. Cameron Herald, September 9, 1954