BREWSTER COUNTY, TEXAS
Family Stories
My baby brother, Arthur Lee Durham, was buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in 1949.  He was born August 22, 1949 and died August 24, 1949.  Death certificate shows burial August 25, 1949, Elm Grove.  I wondered if there was a marker or record of the location in the cemetery.  I have pictures of the grave site but there are no monuments around.  Only dirt and prairie and mountains in the distance.  I was 7 at the time.  We lived in Presidio where my dad was employed at Agent of the Santa Fe Depot.  Is there a map showing the lot numbers, etc.?   Thank you,  Linda Jansen
Photo is gravesite of:
Arthur Lee Durham - August 22, 1949 - August 24, 1949
Son of Obe Earl Durham and Fern Audrey Durham
Date of Burial - August 25, 1949 Elm Grove Cemetery, Alpine.  Arthur was born at the Lockhart Clinic Hospital - Dr. L. W. Dumas - Alpine   The death certificate is signed by Funeral Director Chas Livingston, if I am reading it correctly.  I am guessing that Chas stands for Charles.  It was a lonely place and a sad day.  Mother was still in the hospital.  There were only a few of us there.   I only remember standing close to Dad.  I appreciate your help in looking for the site.  I knew it would be difficult after all of this time.   The Smith name is not familiar to me.   Dad, Obe, passed away in July 2003 and Mother passed away December 26, 2005.   Thank you again, Sincerely, Linda Durham Jansen

Hello.... I remember when......My mother and father came to Alpine Texas when I was about 6 maybe even 7 years old.  Now let me see that must have been in 1948 or 1949. They were Scott and Frances LeMeilleur. They upended up a  small cafe next to the Sweet Shop on main street across the street from the lumberyard.
We lived in a small house right behind the cafe. There was what we called a rock hound across the street from our house. This man would go out and gather rocks  , bring them back and polish the agate. He took my older brother David with him to search for these rocks, because my brother showed interest in these rocks too.  I remember a girl named Virginia also lived across the street she could not come out and play because she had heart problems. However her mother would let us come in and play sometimes. Virginia had to go to Mayo Clinic and that always impressed me that some would have to journey out of town to see a doctor. I guess that was because my brother Scott and I had our appendix out right there in Alpine by a local doctor.
Sometimes my brother Scott and I would climb up A mountain. That was a mountain that had a big letter A on it made from rocks gathered and then  they painted them white.
Our mom and dad were always busy at the cafe so we just roamed about all day and when we got hungry we would just go to the cafe and eat.
One day we went to eat lunch and low and behold the crew that was filming  a movie over at Marfa  and it was right after I had my operation and I got to show the cast my cut across my stomach. I think it was Lonesome Dove ?????
I also remember when Dan Blocker use to come in and eat , there was a iron pole in front of the Sweet shop and it was always said that Dad was so strong that he bent that pole....
The ranchers use to bring into town the rattle snakes that they killed on the ranch.  One time a fellow brought in one so long that it stretched the whole length of the pick up bed......
I remember Ray Davis that ran the reel at the movie theater. I always said I was going to marry that man... He was a whole lot older than me,, but I guess that red hair is what caught my eye at the age of 7.....
The most important thing that happened was when the train came through and Margaret Truman came out of the end car and the train stopped and she waved to everyone.  It was such a big event that everyone came out to see them. I remember that my dad said she was the ugliest woman that he had ever seen in his life !
I also remember that during that time between the Holland Hotel there was a place that sold coney dogs. It was a treat to get buy one , since we had all the food you could eat down at the cafe.
I remember the Saddle shop on Main Street that had glass block front. I remember the Safeway store as well, I remember that we use to ride our bikes down the hill starting up at Sul Ross.
The last time I was out to see Alpine the old cafe had been converted into a computer shop. Our house no longer existed it had been torn down. As the wind blows people come and go. As for us we left and went on out to Fort Stockton. My dad got into a poker game with a bunch a ranchers as he loved the game and lost all to a rancher named Herbert..........or Hubert
I am old now but when I pause once and a while I reflect on my childhood and I can say it was a fun time when kids could be raised in a small town.  As told by Barbara LeMeilleur Hill  Submitted by  Lawrence Hill <lrhbfh@msn.com>  January 17, 2010



Mary Bell Lockhart
Here’s an article about what we’re up to on the cemetery.  Lonn Taylor is a local historian and I contacted him about a connection between a grave site and the person’s history.  He doesn’t mention that part here.  But I talked to him about getting more history articles done and connecting them to the graves of the person via the website.  I’ve got the complete research done on 1A will send it shortly.
Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa Texas November 15,2007
The Rambling Boy
Elm Grove Cemetery yields intersting finds
By LONN TAYLOR

I had wanted to meet Mary Bell Lockhart of Alpine every since she sent me an e-mail describing her work documenting the tombstones in Alpine’s Elm Grove Cemetery. I am extremely fond of cemeteries, both as places for a quiet afternoon walk and as gateways to the past. This fondness goes back to childhood drives on country roads around Fort Worth with my grandmother, who could not pass a country cemetery without saying, “Let’s just stop and see who’s in there.” She would not only read all the tombstone inscriptions but she would point out the old varieties of roses and other ornamental trees and plants growing there, and identify the birds that were nesting in them. I learned from her that cemeteries are more than burial places. I am always anxious to meet another cemetery buff, and I was delighted when Lockhart offered to tell me more about her work last week.

It turned out that Lockhart is far more than a buff. She is a genius of cemetery documentation, a woman who has a vision of recreating the entire history of a community from the inscriptions on tombstones, with a little help from the computer. Lockhart is an Alpine native who came back home after retiring from the Austin-Travis County Health Department, where she worked for 27 years as an environmental health specialist. She told me that her project started when she decided to learn something about her Lockhart ancestors, who came to Texas in the 1830s. She started looking for deceased Lockharts in the cemetery records on the Texas GenWeb website, a research tool produced by a volunteer group of genealogists who have placed a wide variety of genealogical data on the web (Texas GenWeb is part of a nationwide genealogical research project called US GenWeb). The Texas website is broken down by counties, and within each county volunteers have copied the tombstone inscriptions in selected cemeteries and posted them on a section of the website.

What Lockhart discovered was that many of the cemetery listings that she consulted had a note saying that they were incomplete. She ran a controlled test by visiting some cemeteries in Llano County whose web listings she had examined without finding any Lockharts and sure enough, there were Lockhart graves in several of them. Being a methodical person, she started thinking about what it would take to do a really complete survey of a cemetery, drawing together as much information as possible about each permanent resident, and she decided to make Alpine’s Elm Grove Cemetery the subject of a model project.

The graves at Elm Grove are grouped into a dozen blocks separated by walkways. Lockhart visited all of the graves in one block, photographing each tombstone and taking down the name, birth and death dates, epitaph, and any other information found on it. Then she got on her computer and searched for additional information about the deceased in various on-line data bases: the Texas birth records; the Texas death records; the Social Security death records, the World War I draft registration records, and, most informative of all, the U.S. Census records, which are open to the public through 1930 and contain an enormous amount of information about birthplaces, occupations, levels of education, and ages and birthplaces of children. She entered all of this information into her computer on an Excel spreadsheet. Then she added information gleaned from newspapers and other sources in the Sul Ross Archives, and topped it off with her own memories (she was born in Alpine in 1948, and since her father was a doctor she knew everyone in town when she was growing up). The result is a vast compendium of information about everyone buried in one-twelfth of the graves in the cemetery. It is both a monument to Lockhart’s persistence and a reminder of how much information about individuals is available on the internet. If she works at it steadily for a year, she will have reconstructed the lives of a good chunk of Alpine’s residents who can no longer speak for themselves.

I asked Lockhart if she had discovered anything out of the ordinary on her perambulations around the cemetery. She grinned and switched the computer to a power point presentation that she was about to show to the Alpine Kiwanis, of which she is an active member. The first image that came on the screen was a handmade monument, a concrete tombstone with pebbles set into it and the words “Lee Walker, born Dec. 16, 1882 – died May 21, 1947” scratched into its surface.

“He was a cowboy on the Stillwell Ranch,” Lockhart said. “I guess his family couldn’t afford a tombstone.”

The next image was an ornate plinth commemorating the life of Alfred H. Irby, who was born in 1872 and died in 1892. Beneath a pair of clasped hands, a beautifully engraved inscription reads, “No pompous marble to thy name we raise, this humble stone bespeaks thy praise, a loving son and faithful friend.”  Lockhart made no comment on this contradiction in stone.

The third image was a sheet metal tombstone with letters cut through it that spelled out a name, birth and death dates, and the words, “We Love You Dad.” Below the words were the outlines of a spur and a cowboy hat, also cut through the metal. “That one will last,” Lockhart said.

The final image was the tombstone of a friend of Lockhart’s, Carolyn Bishop Nelon, which had simply the deceased’s name and birth and death dates on it but which also had a peculiarly scalloped top. “I thought this stone looked a little old-fashioned for someone who died so recently, “ Lockhart said, “so I looked on the other side.” She showed me the next image, which was the reverse of Nelon’s stone. It bore an ornate inscription commemorating Virginia E. Henderson, who was born in 1858 and died in 1884. “That was Carolyn’s great-grandmother,” Lockhart said. “She was buried in a family cemetery in Kimble County, but that cemetery was abandoned and when they took up the tombstones Carolyn got this one and kept it in her garden. She always said that when she died she wanted it on her own grave so that when people came to visit her they would be visiting her great-grandmother, too.”

“All of this is just in one block of the cemetery,” Lockhart said. “Think what must be in the rest of it. There are so many stories there, and those stories shouldn’t die when the people die. That’s what I’m trying to save.”

You can check out a sample of her efforts at www. rootsweb.com/~txbrews.2. Click on “Cemeteries,” then on “Elm Grove Cemetery,” and then on “Block 1-A.”

Lonn Taylor is a historian and writer who lives in Fort Davis. He can be reached at taylorw@fortdavis.net.
If you have a family story you would like to share please send it and I will post it.   Thank you.
TXGenWeb Project                    USGenWeb Project
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