St. Mary Cemetery suffers more damage as activist Bell presses for justice

Image: Local activist Elmerine Bell points out potential graves that have been marked after a dowsing rod was used to define their location. Many headstones located at Hughes Cemetery, between Italy and Avalon, have been flattened by bulldozers belonging to Creek Land and Cattle Company, a land development business registered in the State of Nevada.

Local activist Elmerine Bell points out potential graves that have been marked after a dowsing rod was used to define their location. Many headstones located at Hughes Cemetery, between Italy and Avalon, have been flattened by bulldozers belonging to Creek Land and Cattle Company, a land development business registered in the State of Nevada. (Barry Byers)

SAVE ST. MARY CEMETERY

In a follow up to articles previously featured on Italy Neotribune, back on August 28, 2012 and in September 28, 2012, St. Mary Cemetery has once again had a section of its heritage wiped out by bulldozers controlled by Creek Land and Cattle Company.

Creek Land and Cattle Company, a land development business registered in the State of Nevada, has recklessly and with no concern to the loved ones buried there, encroached upon the old St. Mary Cemetery located on Hughes Cemetery Road between Italy and Avalon, Texas.

It was a small but determined group investigating the site which included local activist Elmerine Bell, Deborah Franklin, aka Dr. Graveyard, Rex Carey with the Ellis County Historical Commission and his wife, Janice, videographer Susan Turner and photographer/animal artist Judy Yates.

Located on Hughes Cemetery Road between Italy and Avalon, St. Mary Cemetery, just across the road from Hughes Cemetery has been under siege by the Creek Land and Cattle Company for several months and Bell and her supporters are attempting to derail a land developer from causing further damage as the bulldozers remain parked near Hughes Cemetery Road as a constant threat.

The group took photos of the current property in effort to convince the Texas Historical Commission to deem the site historical and therefore give notice to encroaching individuals. A video was also created to document the devastation. Rex Carey used brass dowsing rods to locate and flag potential graves located under the area of the cemetery that has been flattened by the dozers.

Dowsing, also known as divining (especially in reference to interpretation of results), is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as currents of earth radiation (Ley lines), without the use of scientific apparatus.

Although using dowsing rods has its skeptics, Carey gave a quick lesson and then allowed me to canvas the rutted field that was fragmented with scattered glass, pottery, concrete and metal after the bulldozers trampled the holy ground.

Bell explained, “Historically, upon death in the black culture, family members and friends would often leave the last pill bottle used, the last glass the deceased drank from or the last dish they ate from somewhere on the head stone.” And the proof of that was everywhere as every step I took revealed a broken artifact.

Also becoming quickly apparent as I continued walking with the brass dowsing rods out in front of me, is that an eerie pattern was taking shape. Every 4-to-5 feet, walking at an angle away from the cemetery currently preserved, the rods would unexplainably pull and crisscross themselves as if to indicate a graveyard like pattern underneath me. One possible plot after another would crisscross the rods along a row that seemed to extend approximately 40 feet. I then turned back toward the cemetery up a shallow hill and like the row before, every few paces would create an undeniable pulling of the rods. Carey lifted his cap and peered back across the paths we had followed as we both realized the damage may be even worse than originally thought.

“With our pictures and findings today, we are hoping to deem the site a historical landmark. An 1861 map recently obtained at the Navarro County Courthouse of the old Tarrant Plantation has markings indicating that Hughes Cemetery existed at that time. We are also petitioning the state archeologist to perform rubbings of suspected graves in the bulldozed areas of the cemetery,” added Bell as she gathered the broken dishes, bottles and even a medal hinge that she worried was from a disturbed casket.

Bell calls on local politicians and law enforcement agencies to get involved and help the cause, which is simply stated, “SAVE ST. MARY CEMETERY.”

Follow St. Mary Cemetery on Facebook ….also view the website www.findagrave.com to locate a map of St. Mary Cemetery on Hughes Cemetery Road in Ellis County, Texas.

For any questions or concerns regarding in this matter, please contact: Elmerine Allen Bell at elmerinebell@yahoo.com.

Previous articles:
Help us SAVE ST. MARY CEMETERY between Italy and Avalon from land developers

SAVE St. Mary Cemetery – Activists hope to prevent destruction of local cemetery