East Tx Cemeteries: Where They're Located, and Who's Buried There
This space is intended to provide a place to find burial locations in cemeteries in several East Texas counties, including - but not restricted to - Angelina, San Augustine, Sabine, Nacogdoches, and Shelby Counties. The information contained in the transcriptions has been taken directly from each individual headstone, and is recorded as it appears on the marker - even if the information is incorrect or misspelled. However, in instances where we know that the information is incorrect, we include (in parentheses) the correct or perhaps additional information.
All information herein, including digital photographs of each headstone, is the result of
our personal visit to each cemetery; we don't rely on any input from other individuals and don't include transcriptions of cemeteries that we don't visit personally.
THE DAMS, LAKES, and their effect on the area....
The dam now known as Sam Rayburn was originally known as "Dam A" (to distinguish it from the smaller "Dam B" which formed the reservoir now known as "Steinhagen Lake) and later as McGee Bend dam. Not long after the former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn - a champion of conservation measures - died, the dam and lake were renamed in his honor.
Construction, under the control of the US Army Corps of Engineers, began in 1956;
the complex began operating in 1965. This project was financed and controlled by the Federal Government. This is the largest lake that is contained completely within the State of
Toledo Bend Dam and Reservoir was a joint project of the respective State Legislatures of both Louisiana and Texas, and was conceived in the late 1940's for the joint purposes of controlling the serious flooding in the Orange, Texas area; providing hydroelectric power generation; and a large impoundment of fresh water, providing public recreation. This project was planned from the beginning as a strictly state project, and NO federal participation was intended - the states provided all funding - so that construction could proceed without the endless delays and interference from the Federal Government.
After property acquisitions and cemetery relocations, construction began in 1964 and was completed in 1969.
Graves in cemeteries within the impoundment boundaries were relocated to other cemeteries which were not in danger of being flooded. Many of those graves were not identifiable, so many cemeteries in the area around the lakes have re-burials of unidentified persons. The removal of remains that had been in the ground for many years - perhaps even as long as a hundred years - presented some unique challenges for the construction contractors. In a casual conversation with a gentleman at a local cemetery, I discovered how unique some of the solutions were. Since some coffins and the remains within had deteriorated to the point that they couldn't be removed from the soil, excavation wasn't an option. In many cases, liquid nitrogen was injected into the soil and the entire grave - dirt and all - was cut out and moved frozen to it's new resting place.
Some abandoned or unmarked cemeteries were not identified and relocated before the waters rose over them. During the long drought that spanned several years in the first decade of the 21st century, the water level in Sam Rayburn Lake dropped significantly; in some areas the lake bed was completely dry, and at least one of those cemeteries reappeared in the form of human skeletal remains.
In some of the cemetery listings in these records we have found many of those
relocated graves; a lot of them are unnamed, some marked only with a number. We make a notation of those that we can identify as relocated burials. Some cemeteries - such as Concord, near Zavalla in
Angelina County - have entire sections of such relocated cemeteries.