Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clark-Dickey-Smith cemeteries, Sabine County, Texas

This is an odd site in Sabine County, Texas:  two cemeteries located literally spitting distance from each other.  In urban terms, they're less than half a standard city block apart.  No other traces of a community remain so it's difficult to say how they were located historically, e.g., were they once separated by a road?  As the book-on-a-stick notes, at one time a settlement existed that included several families.  I'm told there was also a cane mill, but no evidence of that settlement other than the cemeteries exists today. 

The Clark-Dickey cemetery is larger and, at a guess, appears to have been used for a longer time.  There are a number of fieldstone markers in addition to the commercial stones.  The cast concrete markers with hand lettering appear to be fairly recent, and may have been added at about the same time the historical marker was planted.

The Clark-Dickey cemetery includes half a dozen or so of the vernacular cast concrete tablet style markers like the one shown below; none were made using lettering kits.

Both cemeteries are surrounded by chain-link fence that's fairly new and in generally good condition, although a tree had fallen recently (within the past year) on the fencing for the Smith cemetery. 

The photo above is from the Smith Cemetery; it's the most noticeable grave there.  No inscription was visible on the tablet. 

The book-on-a-stick erected by the Texas Historical Commission suggests that both cemeteries began as family cemeteries, but notes a connection between the two, making it even odder that they're physically separate.  Local sources suggested that the fencing is wrong, the two cemeteries were connected, and more graves exist than are currently known or marked.  Whether or not that's true would require a thorough archeological survey, including the use of ground penetrating radar, a highly unlikely scenario given that both cemeteries appear to fall within the Sandy Creek riparian zone and are thus unlikely to be impacted by any future logging operations on that portion of the Forest. 

Both cemeteries are located on the Sabine National Forest.


David Smith said...

Interesting. I am related to Obediah Smith who is supposedly buried here in the Smith Cemetery. One day, I'd like to make the trip and check it out. Thanks for the post.

-David Smith

R Clark said...

William Clark is my super grate grandfather. :) it would be cool to be able to go there and see where part of my family came from!