Bradley Springs Cemetery Restoration  

 Bradley Springs Cemetery 

Restoration 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 for stones.

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: 
           1.  JB Sanders. OUR DEAD, Shelby County, 
               Texas 1839-1964. 
This book is arranged alphabetically by name.  Each cemetery has a location number.  Bradley Springs is listed as "93 Bobo-Bradley Springs." 

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.) 

             2. We found a list for Bradley Springs online at the 
                 Shelby County GenWeb site done by Ray Jackson 
                 and Leonard Irish in January of 2000.  (They are 
                 linked to our pictures.)

              3.  There is a cemetery book published by 
                    the Timpson Area Genealogical Heritage
                  Society.  "Bradley Springs Cemetery 
                    of Shelby County Texas."

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. 

Linkable Bradley Springs List of Known Burials

Bradley Springs Plot Map
South West Section:  Rows 1-3, A-C
Mid West Section:    Rows 4-5, A-C
North West Section: Rows 6-8, A-C
North East Section:   Rows 1-3, E-G
Mid East Section:      Rows 4-5, E-G
South East Section:    Rows 6-8, E-G

Bradley Springs Restoration and Preservation Project

Photos from Cemetery Workings

Photos of Bradley Springs

Location Map

Return to Bradley Springs Home Page


If you have family buried here, you are welcome to attend the annual cemetery working the last Saturday in May.  If it is raining, the gathering usually moves to the First Methodist Church in Tenaha. Come about 11 AM and bring a covered dish, a chair, and information about your family (copies of pictures we may use are especially welcome).

Donations to the upkeep of the cemetery may be made to: 
              Bradley Springs Cemetery Fund 
              Citizens State Bank
              PO Box 380
              Tenaha, Texas 75974

Send comments to Barbara Eberly