Bradley Springs CemeteryRestoration and Preservation Project
by Barbara Walters Eberly
Rose Ann Walters Watson
|During the winter of 2001, we began a self-imposed
task of "fixing up" Bradley Springs cemetery. We began by taking
pictures of each of the stones with the idea of putting up a web page.
In the process, we became concerned by the number of broken and missing
markers. There were numerous broken stones--mostly of babies buried
there. Some of the stones were broken into five or six pieces and
were easily findable. Some were broken into fragments and we still
haven't found all the pieces.
Finding the pieces was our first problem. Rose Ann designed a
couple of probes which are basically long ice picks. Barbara refined
hers to make a much longer ice pick which allowed the same search to be
conducted with less leaning over.
Rose Ann re-refined it to use a longer handle and a shorter pick which
produced a sturdier tool. The only problem with the probe is that
you can miss small pieces of stone if you don't happen to probe in that
specific area. After a while, it was harder and harder to find pieces.
So Rose Ann invented another "probe." This one consisted of a 6"
X 12" piece of plywood filled with 3 1/2" nails in a one inch grid.
She added a handle. On the next trip to Bradley Springs, Barbara
searched with the single probe and found two pieces of stone. Rose
Ann used the new invention and found ten pieces. It was a success.
However, we quickly learned to clean the leaves out of the way before looking
We are still missing pieces. And on our last visit, we found a
footstone for a grave for which we (probably) have no headstone.
The footstone was found in the area of the Bowlin baby stones. It
is the same size and shape as the other infant footstones, but the initials
on it are MCB. This does not fit any of the other headstones--unless
it stands for "Male Child Bowlin" and it goes on the "Infant" headstone.
Lest I forget to give credit where it is due, Steve and Christopher Eberly, Barbara's husband and son, have also contributed to the project. Christopher will never forget the day we plotted the cemetery in the drizzling rain.
While searching for the stones, we also searched for identity.
While Rose Ann worked on the puzzle of the stones, Barbara searched libraries,
genealogy societies and the internet. She found three previous recordings
of the cemetery:
This book is very important because thirty-five years ago, some stones were in better shape. This does not mean that there are no mistakes. (Mistakes are inevitable when you are working with large numbers of names and numbers--especially when it is almost impossible to read some of the headstones. This is why we have taken pictures--so you can check it out for yourself. Like everyone before us, we have done our best. When you find a mistake, please notify us by going to the bottom of the page and sending an e-mail with the relevant information--beginning with a URL to the page which needs to be corrected. Thank you.)
The people at the TAGHS library have been very helpful in trying to identify parents of infants as well as looking for information on people buried at Bradley Springs without markers. They are currently working on a book of stories about people in the Timpson area and have found information otherwise unavailable.
The people at the Ora McMullen Genealaogy Room at Kurth Memorial Library in Lufkin and the East Texas Research Center in the Library at Stephen F. Austin State University have also been very helpful as we searched through census records, marriage records, family history files, county heritage books, etc.
We went to the Bradley Springs Cemetery working
the last Saturday in May of 2001 and talked with everyone who came about
who they had buried there.
We explained that we were working on a website for the cemetery and
asked for pictures and stories about families. While everyone seemed
excited about the idea, we have not yet received any pictures or stories
to include. Hopefully when the page is up, pictures and stories will
begin to arrive.
While Barbara was looking in libraries, Rose Ann was working with the stones--a three dimensional puzzle. We considered various methods of fixing the stones and--at least for the moment--have settled on a special glue for concrete. It seems to be working. It will take time to see how it holds up in the Texas heat. If it does not hold up, we will probably try making a form into which we will pour concrete and make a frame for the stone. The reason we have not done that as a first choice is that this technique will present problems with the original bases for the stones. We would like to keep them in their original state as much as possible.
Bradley Springs Plot Map
Donations to the upkeep of the cemetery may
be made to:
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