Welcome !

Hello and welcome to our blog.  My name is Suzanne McAlpin and I am the President of the Pond Springs Historical Cemetery Association, Inc.

Pond Springs Cemetery is an award-winning historical cemetery located in Northwest Austin, Texas.  The first known burial on the land was that of 6-month-old Jacob Leonce Glenn.  He was buried in the Walden Section of Pond Springs Cemetery in October 1860.  In 1862, Asenath Stewart was the first known burial in Pond Springs “proper”.  There are 232 known/assumed graves, and there are perhaps 300 or more total, as there are numerous graves without markers, and death certificates without corresponding graves.

As is the case with so many old cemeteries in Texas, this one was doing a very good job at re-forestating.  There was damage from roaming cattle, from the elements, and from downright vandalism and neglect.  Many people have worked on this cemetery through the decades.   Personally, I have been working on this cemetery off and on since 2005.   I’m not the only one.  There wasn’t much left, and we have had to put the place back together like a gigantic puzzle.  It’ll probably be a lifelong project.  The county, the city, and the state are all “hiding” behind the wording in the original 1872 deed, and will not claim responsibility for upkeep.  No one takes care of it but us few volunteers.  Those interred here were good people, and they deserve better.

As an amateur genealogist, the condition of the place just broke my heart, and though I am not a descendant of anyone buried here, I decided in 2005 to use my time and (pitiful) talents to try to tell their stories electronically.   I am in no way a professional.   In 2009, Buster added his time and talents to TOTALLY clean up our cemetery single-handedly.  And in 2011, many heroic descendants teamed with us to form our Association.  We meet every 3 months – January, April, July, and October – on the first Sunday of the month, at Denny’s/620 & Lakeline Blvd, 2 pm.  You do not have to be a member to attend, and we promise to not “force” you into the Association :)

Now surrounded by the growth of Austin and Cedar Park, stepping into this cemetery is like stepping back in time, and stepping away from the hectic pace of modern-day life.   It’s a good place to “reconnect” and clear your head.

Visitors, please:

In the spirit of a Benjamin Franklin quote,
“One can tell the morals of their culture by the way they treat their dead”:

1  BE CAREFUL.  Pond Springs Historical Cemetery Association, Inc., is in no way responsible or liable for any injuries obtained on the property.

2  Respect the headstones and foot stones.  They are historical documentation, and for a lot of people buried there, they are the only proof that they were ever born.

3  Respect the flora, fauna, and wildlife on the property.

4  No camping.

5  No trespassing after dark.

6  No open flames.  This includes, but is not limited to, candles and cigarettes.

7  No alcohol.  Whether it is in an open container or not.

8  Whatever it is, if you brought it in, you take it out.

9  No chalking, foaming, rubbing of the stones.  Or any other means of capturing its info and charm, other than photography.  Photography only.

10  Legaleeze:  In the State of Texas, all cemeteries are now newly protected under Criminal Mischief, Penal Code 28.03, which states:

    “An offense under this section is a state jail felony if the damage or destruction is inflicted on a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, or a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs and the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is less than $20,000.” (visit http://www.thc.state.tx.us/cemeteries/cemWord/CemeteryDesecretionWhitePaper.doc).  And we will prosecute.

If you are a descendant of anyone buried here, we’d love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment, a memory of your relative, a photo of them, anything, it would truly be a treasure.

If you’d like to join our Association, please contact this blog.  The dues are $25 annually, and are tax-deductible.  Please visit our link “How to Donate:  Membership Fees and Other Ways to Help” on the menu to the right.

- Suzanne

I would like to dedicate this blog to my awesomely wonderful Dad, 1923-2007, who STILL encourages me every day. Fish on Daddy, your “Motor-Mouth” will always love you !

Published in: on August 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm  Comments (7)  

UPDATED: Names Without A Stone: Mattie HART

Hart, Mattie buried WALDERAll information I have on Mattie HART is from her death certificate.

Mattie HART is the only known African American buried in Pond Springs Cemetery.  She died 23 December 1913, and is buried in “Walden”.

Mattie was born to Silas HART and _____ BLASINGALE in Gonzales, Texas in 1868.  Silas HART was born in North Carolina.  I find no record of a Silas HART, who was no doubt a former slave.  I find no record of a BLASINGALE marrying Silas HART.  But if they were slaves/former slaves, I seriously doubt there would be public record of their marriage.  Still under research.

I have often said that the most important piece of information on a death certificate is the name of the informant.  The informant on Mattie’s death certificate was A C Barksdale of Lockhart.  Lockhart is in Caldwell County Texas.  Gonzales County Texas (where Mattie was born) was a neighboring county.  An AC Barksdale (Americus Collier Barksdale) was a guard at the Huntsville Texas Prison in the 1910 census.  If this is the same man, how he came to be the informant on Mattie’s death certificate is unknown.

Although Mattie was a widow, her married name is the same as her maiden name. So:

1  She was divorced, and went back to using her maiden name (Hart).  In these cases the record would say “divorced” and not “widow”.

2  Her married name and her maiden name were the same (HART), which can happen.  Since she is”Mrs” Mattie Hart on her death certificate, I believe Mattie was truly a widow whose maiden name was the same as her married name.  Unless -

3  The informant was erroneously giving the name of THEIR OWN FATHER, and not Mattie’s.  It happened sometimes.  If so, then AC Barksdale was a married daughter of Silas Hart and _____ Blasingale.  If so, why wouldn’t she know the first name of her own mother?

UPDATE December 2014:

Americus Barksdale was not the informant.

There was a family of African-American Barksdales in Lockhart in 1910, and I cannot help but think they are related.  Although there is no match for “AC Barksdale”, I do find:

1  Monroe Barksdale, born ca. 1865 in Texas, servant in the household of John M CARDWELL.  Amy PARISH was their cook, born ca. 1870 in Texas.  She and Monroe were both divorced.  Monroe Barksdale married Amy on 24 August 1910, about 10 weeks after the census was taken.  Amy might be our informant “AC Barksdale”.

2  Henry Barksdale, born ca. 1872 in Texas, married to Lucy.  Living with them were Willie Barksdale, born ca. 1890 in Texas, married to Mattie.

Henry and Willie Barksdale were living next door to “Annie Hart” a 41-year-old widow.  This matches Mattie Hart’s demographics, but Annie and Mattie are not the same person.  I don’t know why, but I firmly believe that Annie and Mattie were related (sisters?).  Annie Hart was born 31 May 1870 to Cecil (Silas?) Hart and Sharlett McDonald (no further info found on either).  Annie died in Lockhart 9 December 1957.  Annie had five children:

1  Sylvie (Sylvia?), born ca. 1894 in Texas.

2  Allie, born ca. 1896 in Texas.  Alexander?  In his WWI Draft Registration, Allie BYRD was born 4 December 1894 in Prairie Lee, Caldwell County TX.  In the 1930 Caldwell County TX census, he is Allie “Byrd”, married with two children.

3  Claude, born ca. 1898 in Texas.  In 1920 Caldwell County TX census, he was Claudie BIRD

4  Fate, born ca. 1900 in Texas.  Lafayette?  In 1920 Caldwell County TX census, he was Fayette PROCTOR

5  Gussy, born ca. 1908 in Texas.  Gus?  In 1920 Caldwell County TX census, he was Gussie PROCTOR

Mattie was sick for a little while before she died.  Her death certificate states that the physician (JH Stevens) first saw her on December 19th, 4 days before she died.  She somehow made it to Austin for medical care, but unfortunately she died.  She was in my opinion buried in Pond Springs (not the Walden section), as Pond Springs was a public cemetery.  The easiest guess would be that she was a servant in a Travis or Williamson County TX household, but so far research has not been fruitful.

Who was Mattie?

“Mattie” is commonly a nickname for Matilda, although it can also be used for Martha. In working from the known to the unknown, by first researching the 1870 census for Gonzales Texas, I discovered three African American “Matildas” born ca 1865-1870:

1  Matilda FLY, born to George W. and Mary FLY.  George was born ca. 1848 in Mississippi, Mary was born ca. 1853 in Arkansas.  No further info.

2  Matilda “Tildy” MONROE, born May 1870 to Steven and Charlotte MONROE.  Steven was born ca. 1840 in Mississippi, and Charlotte was born ca. 1842 in Mississippi.  Matilda lived to 1900 at least.  No further info.

3  Matilda DAVIDSON, born to Ann DAVIDSON.  Ann was born in Tennessee ca. 1840.  No further info.

And 15 African American “Marthas” born ca 1865-1870, surnames:  CANADA, COLLINS, DANIELS, GOSSET, GREEN, HAGENS, HENRY, JACKSON, MCKELLER, MORRISON, PRICE, SOLOMON, THOMPSON, WALKER, WALKER

Contributors to Ancestry.com and census records reveal the following:

a.  Mattie Thompson (1868-1903) married Joseph Blasingale (1868-) and Osborne Shannon.

b.  John Blessingame in 1860 Lavaca County TX Slave Schedule, white, born ca. 1822 South Carolina.  Lavaca County is next to Gonzales County.

c.  John Blassingame, black, 1870 census Portland, Ashley County Arkansas, born ca. 1813 South Carolina.  Dau? Louisa born ca. 1844 ALA.  Daughter Martha born ca. 1869 ALA.

If you can help shed any light on Mattie HART, please contact this blog.  Researching former slaves, especially in the 1870s, is so unlikely to reveal much.  I will keep all this info here so that future researchers will not reinvent the wheel.

- Suzanne

Published in: on December 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Clean-Up Day Success !

After every clean up, I always say our beloved acre is more beautiful than the time before….and this was certainly no exception.  Many thanks to

Jim, Lauren & Bill, and Ken

For helping make this an absolutely successful Clean-Up !
Photos do not do it justice, you must do a drive by !
1  LIFTED THE CANOPY, bagged up, and hauled away all the brush.  That one sentence no where near describes the back-breaking labor involved…….(Buster and Jim mostly, plus Bill and Ken and Lauren and Suzanne)
2  100% mowed (Ken !).  Might not sound like much, but IT’S AN ACRE.
3  Removed gravel from under front sign, replaced with dirt, planted Lantana.  Now, this might not sound like a lot, but there was several hundred pounds of gravel, and Lauren pulled it all out almost single-handedly.
4  Removed very tenacious and prickly vines from the Walden fence and tree FINALLY (Bill !)
5  The usual weed-whacking, trash detail, watering of roses, rosemary, heather…..
6  And the water barrel is filled to capacity for the first time ever in my recollection !

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Published in: on October 19, 2014 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Semi-Annual Clean-Up Day ! Come One, Come All !

WE WILL HAVE OUR QUARTERLY MEETING ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY BEFORE WE GET STARTED, 10 am to 1015 am

Saturday and Sunday
October 18 & 19 2014
10 am to dark
Stay the entire time, or just stay a few hours.  Bring the family !

Volunteers:
Please bring as many supplies as you can.
Make sure all your equipment works before arrival.
Bring 1 or 2 gallons of water for the water barrel.
Bring plenty of water to drink.
Wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed-toe shoes.
See below for the Top Needs – Assist with one or all

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Straightening Leaning Tower of PisaHeaton Stone is Leaning – Needs Straightening Up

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lmphoto_tom1SANDING AND PAINTING of 1 fence enclosure

Supplies Needed:

  • Association will provide paint
  • Paint Brushes, 2 inch and larger
  • Painter’s Tape or masking tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Sandpaper
  • Bedsheet/cardboard to sit on
  • Newspaper or something to keep the paint off the concrete
  • Rubber Gloves if you prefer
  • Leather Gloves
  • Face mask and goggles

    ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

0511-1010-2403-2231Trash Detail
Please take the trash away with you

Supplies Needed:

  • Contractor bags recommended, but others are just fine too
  • One of those “Grabber” things work really well and makes it easy on the back

    ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

0511-1104-0222-5061Lawn and Garden (Buster is in charge of this and he might have more to add):
(Weeding, Limb Removal, Grass Cutting, Dusting the Fire Ants if needed, cleaning fenceline)
Supplies Needed:

  • Fire Ant Killer
  • Round-Up “Brush Killer”
  • Leather Gloves
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Face mask and goggles
  • Gasoline if needed for equipment that you bring
  • If you have gas lawn equipment  of any kind please bring it.  Saws and heavy duty pruners are good as well.  There is no electricity.

    ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

imagesIt would be SUPER APPRECIATED if someone would volunteer to be on the “Food and Drink” Committee :) and surprise us with some goodies.

See you then !

- Suzanne

Published in: on September 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cemetery Entrance Gate

Pond Springs has a small wooden billboard type sign. The sign is useful but does not allow the cemetery to stand out and be recognized by the community. We need a proper entrance gate. I believe big stone or brick columns are out of the question due to cost, space constraints, nearby graves and property boundaries. I have posted several photos that show similar entrances that I have in mind. I would like the name and the year of establishment listed on it. The year I have in mind is it earliest known grave. Our entrance is not a 2 lane road but closer to driveway width. It could have double gates or no gate at all. What is our hold up on getting a new entrance? MONEY! This is the time of year to raise money not only for maintenance but improvements. If you are not interested in joining our association just $25.00 a year then maybe you would like to give 5, 10, 15, or 25 dollars toward the new entrance gate. Just click our PayPal link and Thank You. — Buster

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Little Benn Franklin’s Footstone

ImageImageLittle Benn Franklin’s foot stone has been epoxied back on to its base. There is still some mortar work to do on it due to a couple of small pieces are chipped off. For many years the footstone was considered lost or stolen but the cemetery decided to give it up so it could be placed on the grave site. Bill White’s petrified wood marker and 2 field headstones were also epoxied back together. The photos used in this post are not new but are file photos. – Buster    

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Hunter Section (Southeast Area)

Hunter Section After the post and chainlink fence were removed, Jan. 2014.

Hunter Section After the post and chainlink fence were removed, Jan. 2014.

The last of the old fence post to the Hunter Section have been removed and the post holes filled in. The unsightly beat up chainlink fence had been removed earlier last fall. The area is now clear for veiwing without any obstruction. The Hunter Section is still clearly marked by cement cylinders that lay end to end. Many of these cylinders had become buried into the ground and had to be raised or cleaned around. After the cleaning and some straightening of the cylinders was completed the section was mowed as was the Southeast Section. These 2 areas were mowed very short to remove the dead grass and allow the Bluebonnets to grow better. In about 8 weeks there will be a beautiful stand of flowering bluebonnets there. Soon it will be Spring in Austin/Pond Springs, TX. – Buster

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm  Comments (1)  

1867 Stone: Allen STROUD, Second Sheriff of Williamson County Texas

I have found no closer match to this stone.  Moreover, I have found a Bosque County Texas deed dated 12 October 1867 in which the executor (son Samuel A Stroud) of “Allen Stroud, dec’d” and “surviving wife Arza” is selling their homestead in Williamson County Texas.  So, Allen Stroud died before 12 October 1867, likely in Williamson County.  His wife died after that date and is found nowhere in 1870.  Samuel migrated on to Fresno California, and that is where he is found in 1870; but I believe Arza died by 1870 is buried back in Williamson County next to her husband.  Unless or until proven otherwise.  For a really good bio (not written by me, was submitted to an Ancestry Family Tree), click here

Deed dated 12 Oct 1867

Deed dated 12 Oct 1867

“Feb 1 1867″. This was found about halfway down the stone, below ground level. Click on the image to enlarge.
Close up of the 1867 stone, 2006. This is the uppermost portion of the stone.
1867 stone on the right; assumed spouse is on the left.

- Suzanne

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Nothing Runs Like a…..

Rolling Thunder

That’s right !  An anonymous donor gave us a brand-spanking-new John Deere riding mower!  Words cannot express our heartfelt appreciation.  She’s been christened “Rolling Thunder”

This round of Clean Up Days was a spectacular success.  Many thanks to:  Our anonymous donor for the mower plus a weed whacker; Whataburger for free lunches; Lowe’s for our 25% discount; to Firehouse 34 just because; and to Ken, Gloria, and Shirley for too many things to be enumerated here.  The place already looked better than it ever has, EVER, thanks to the prior efforts of nearby Whataburger employees, and of course to Buster who can’t be thanked enough for all he has done over the years.  We were freed up to do the other things on our list:

The Hunter/Nelson fence was removed and placed on the curb, free to good home.  The posts are still being worked on, about half are dug up, it’s going to take more work.  They have concrete still on the bottom, so we don’t exactly know what to do with them.  The entire cemetery looks SO MUCH CLEANER without that fence.  Thanks to Buster and Ken.

Laban and Nancy Stewart’s enclosed plot was finally painted.  Wow it was pretty bad.  There are still “spots” here and there that will need going over again, but the sunlight was decreasing and our fatigue was increasing, so we will do that touch-up later.  I still have plenty of paint.  Thanks to Ken and Gloria for this.

Ken went around with a vengeance :) and put Fire Ant Killer on top of the seemingly millions of Fire Ant hills out there.

Ken took Rolling Thunder out for its maiden voyage, and in no time had mowed the entire front section.

The Sign got 2 new coats of white paint front and back (minus the stenciled part).  The blog/website is now on it, and a new vinyl logo was placed.  We have a new Children’s Memorial on the back now.  It is charming and contains a bit of an optical illusion:  As you back away from the sign, a sleeping baby angel appears in the background.  I did the sign :)  Still needs touch-up here and there.

Louis Houghton’s broken stone got some “Caution” tape put around it, thanks to Shirley, who also performed general clean up, removal of the dead lavender bush, etc.   The tape might not last but the effort was made.  We can tweak it later if possible.

The “Posted” sign has not arrived yet; I’ll take care of that when it arrives.

We need new “Letter to potential members” in the box.

The “Video Surveillance” signs are also to follow soon.

That’s all for now, time for a hot soak :)

Angel Baby

“Too Beautiful for This Earth” – The Children of Pond Springs Cemetery

Mr and Mrs Garcia - after Gloria's cleaning

Mr and Mrs Garcia – after Gloria’s cleaning

Stewart Before

Stewart Before

Stewart Before

Stewart Before

Stewart After

The really cool Stewart Lock

The really cool Stewart Lock

Caution

Sweat Equity

Sweat Equity

- Suzanne

Published in: on October 20, 2013 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Whataburger pitches in !

I cannot express enough the heartfelt gratitude that is felt toward the employees of “our” Whataburger.  On Saturday, October 5, they cleaned up the ENTIRE cemetery.  Much more than we could have ever asked for.  I cannot recall a time when it looked so beautiful.  Much thanks to the good people of Whataburger.

- Suzanne

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Published in: on October 8, 2013 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Unknown No More

Baby Girl Bird recently received a BEAUTIFUL headstone from a descendant in the Washington DC area.  What beautiful homage.  Folks, this is what we’re here for.

- Suzanne

Baby Girl Bird

Published in: on October 8, 2013 at 10:14 am  Comments (1)  
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