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Cemetery Research: Preserving a legacy
The chain link fence shown in the background on the photo at the right was put up by the developer to protect the cemetery from the construction going on around it. Before that the old iron picket fence in the foreground was used to keep the Texas cattle and sheep out of the place.
The tombstone is Eliza J. Grumbles. Here is a close up of Terry kneeling over his ancestor's gravestone. Terry & his grandson Michael Torrez had to remove quite a few briars to get the photos for this column. I asked Terry to take some additional shots for this column, and to tell me a little more about his day at the cemetery.
Terry writes: "Sunset Valley is not a real city, other than they have city limits to protect their neighborhood, and they do that well and beautifully. A few years, ago, they even imported people for a new section in the middle of the city from the richest part of West Austin. It is so small there is no daily newspaper or library.
This Sunset Valley area has LOTS of green
space. So much so that if you use GoogleEarth you can see the subdivision
installed in the middle of it, a few years ago. There is a 50 Year
Anniversary (1954-2004) article in Sunset Valley's informal history book. This
book can be purchased from the Public Works Department in Sunset Valley, Texas
John D Grumbles is a cousin, but like so many people, I just fell in love with Capt John J Grumbles son's family plot. I guess too, it is like an oasis, eh? Capt. John J was a Texas Ranger in the '50's.... 1850's that is. He also owned everything south of The Colorado River at one time, out to south of Sunset Valley, bound by Williamson Creek, which runs through Sunset Valley.
I also was going to get some photos of a bunch of deer feeding, and I mean a bunch... but the sun was wrong. We were looking at where the 1882 railroad ran down to the creek and the abutment on the other side of the creek, then we saw the deer grazing. (Gahhhhleeee, another train is going ...creeping.. by already). We were facing straight into the sun, so no go on that one. When they ripped up the rail in Sunset Valley about 1888, some of the roadway became a popular dirt (gravel?) road to the picnic area on the creek, across from and west of the limestone cliffs.
John D. Grumbles' dad was an uncle of mine. My ancestor, Jesse Grumbles, was Capt John J's "brother" in Travis County. I think that makes John D a first cousin. I mention how people love this cemetery -- makes me wonder if those on the other side still notice when visitors arrive. These are a loving people buried there. There is another cemetery that I am working on that Michael and I have studied. Michael was standing on a set of stones that represented the porch in front of a school/church way out in the country. Suddenly Michael started acting weird.. What's the matter. "I have a strange feeling. People are watching me." Bad vibes. I told my daughter, Jennifer, (whose birthday is today), later about our going over there. Jennifer said that when she goes to the playground there, she gets a spooky feeling.
Back to this cemetery -- We want so much to honor John D Grumbles, b 1833, by renaming his family cemetery to be Grumbles Cemetery. It is presently known on the records of the county as "Fowler Family Cemetery."
Within the confines of Sunset Valley, it is nestled on 1/4 acre amongst a big shopping center, including Home Depot and Office Max, on Brodie Lane in South Austin, Texas. It is so begging to be converted from a forest to a park, matching the others in Sunset Valley. Sunset Valley still loves beauty in landscaping, and the other City projects show it.
There are about 6 Grumbles members buried there, amongst them are two family friends, the Carpenters. There is possibly another kin buried in the Grumbles Cemetery, but yet to be proven: Mr. Lafayette Benedict (Buddy) Best, a son-in-law of Capt. John J. (which makes him John D.'s brother-in-law). He was married into the family of the Plumleys, intertwined in the Grumbles family. Across Fredericksburg highway from the Grumbles Cemetery, the Plumley family also had a large ranch there. Lafayette died in March 1888, but no record of his burial site has been located. This could be the spot, since the cemetery was an active burial ground at that time.
Things were so overgrown, that my grandson, Michael, and I clear a trail back to the main part of the cemetery. Here is a picture of Michael as we first "uncovered" Eliza's tombstone. It tells us that Eliza J Grumbles lies amongst the grand oak tree there.
One of the first things we want to do is put a granite marker in the plot, showing who has been laid to rest amongst these shady trees. That granite marker we propose is shown below.
While we have found Eliza J. Grumbles' tombstone, and based on first hand notes from his descendents, it is believed that John D Grumbles lies beside her, along with a grandson, baby Chester Allen Grumbles.
And so, DearREADERS, let us hope that Terry Grumbles and his grandson succeed to clearing the 1/4 acre cemetery. Perhaps there will be more tombstones to uncover. What a wonderful project to preserve this little part of his family history.
Happy family tree climbing!