Man breathes new life into cemetery
April 4, 2013 at 4 p.m.
Updated April 3, 2013 at 11:04 p.m.
MORE THAN THE EDGAR FAMILY
In addition to Edgar family members, other burials occurred in the Edgar Family Cemetery, including many who have descendants still living in DeWitt, Victoria, Lavaca, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes and surrounding counties. Some of those surnames include: Abel, Batchelor, Bates, Bell, Bennett, Bouldin, Brown, Carr, Dikes, Donnell, Duke, Dykes, Farquhar, Hadley, Hugo (or von Hugo), Jacobs, Ladd, Lee, Luce, Mahler, McAdoo, McCormick, McMeen, Means, Mikes, Mikesh, Murphey, Newsome, Nyegaard, Odom, Pincham, Powers, Pridgen, Rackley, Reader, Robinson, Skeen, Sparkman, Strown, Taylor, Welch, Witherington and Young.
YES, THERE IS AN EDGAR, TEXAS
Edgar is on alternate U.S. Highway 77 about seven miles northeast of Cuero. In 1853 James Edgar brought his family to the area and claimed the land granted to his son, Joseph Smith Edgar, for his service in the Texas Revolution. In 1887 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway located a depot in the area and named it for these early settlers. The local post office was established in 1888. In 1890 the community had daily mail delivered by rail, a general store, and a population of 25, and by 1915 a reported 100 residents supported a Wells Fargo office, at least one store, the school, and a cotton gin. The community also had telephone service. The Edgar post office was discontinued in 1940, and the school closed in 1951. In 2000 the population was eight. Edgar is not listed on the 2010 U.S. Census.
SOURCE: Handbook of Texas Online
Bob Webb doesn't want his family's history to be forgotten.
Webb, of League City, a descendant of the Edgar family who came to Texas in 1853, is leading the effort to restore the Edgar Family Cemetery in DeWitt County.
The Edgar family's first-born son, Joseph Smith Edgar, was a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, said Webb.
Webb and his cousin, Kittena Jane Hannah, of Washington, D.C., began collaborating on researching and cataloging the Edgar family history about seven years ago.
"Getting the cemetery cleared, restored, secured and maintained has been one of our projects to do," Webb said.
"To my knowledge, the last burial occurred in the old Edgar Family Cemetery in 1938," Webb said. "My late cousin, John Tracy, visited the cemetery in 1969. It was an overgrown jungle then. It had certainly not been maintained, and may not have been cleared since around the time of that last burial there."
The cemetery is on private property, a mile within a ranch over some rough terrain and across a small creek with no bridge, Webb said.
A descendant of the Mahler family, which also has graves in the cemetery, worked with the landowner in the early 1990s and cleared portion of the cemetery where most of the Mahler graves are located, Webb said.
"I made several visits to the cemetery starting in 2006 with very minor clean up done but with gravestone searches and photographing," Webb said.
After retirement last year, Webb and his wife Jane Webb, began devoting more time to the cemetery.
"Thanks to the contribution of a Mahler relative and ours, funds were provided to hire a crew to do the rough part of the clearing which was done over two weekends in March," he said.
"What is left now is to remove the rest of the vines and to smooth the cemetery and do a more detailed survey including locating as many as possible of all of the grave markers there, with and without inscriptions," said Webb.
A Decoration Day is planned for Saturday and Edgar descendants from Texas and other parts of the country are expected to take part.
There will be two, three-hour work sessions at the cemetery, one at 8 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. and a visitation period at 2 p.m. for those unable to attend either work session, Webb said.
During lunch, an organizational meeting will be held aimed at forming an Edgar Family Cemetery Association with the objectives of restoring, regularly tending and preserving the cemetery.
If interested in attending a work session, the visitation at the cemetery and/or the luncheon contact the Edgar Family Cemetery Association via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found at the Edgar Family Cemetery web site.