Van Zandt County Genealogical Society


Old Family Tales

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society

Old family stories are not only fun, they enrich us and tell us about our ancestors and their lives back in the old days. If you have an old family story or biography that you would like to share (almost everyone has a either a character or a very interesting individual in their family tree!), please write it in your own words and email it to Sibyl and it will be placed on this page.


The story of a lost family cemetery that was found again

Submitted by Paul Ridenour

My mother, Mary Alice (Joines) Ridenour, wanted me to search the Joines genealogy many years ago but she would never give me the information I needed. In 1999, she finally gave me all of the information she knew. I added everything to my webpage and began to get emails from other Joines' relatives. I also wrote many relatives and before long, I could trace my Joines family back to my 4th great grandfather, Thomas Joines.

My Joines family came from Giles County, Tennessee, before moving to Edgewood, Texas. They came to Edgewood sometime between 1883 and 1888. All of my great grandfather Clint Joines' siblings were born in Tennessee except his two youngest. The first one born in Texas was May Joines and she was born in Quinlan, Texas.

Diana (Samford) Benat, a Joines/Haptonstall descendant, found my webpage. She sent me an email listing two Van Zandt County webpages. One webpage mentioned my 2nd great grandparents Seaton Leroy and Mary "Susan" (Jett) Joines, buried in Small Cemetery just north of Edgewood. I visited Small Cemetery and took pictures. Also buried there, are two of Clint's sisters, May Joines and Rosie Lee Joines. Rosie married Henry Haptonstall and May married Benjamin F. Vines. There are several Vines and Haptonstalls buried there. I recently found a Van Zandt County/ Edgewood book that includes several pages on the Vines and Haptonstalls.

The other webpage mentioned my 3rd great grandmother Nancy Ann Joines (1828-1898). I do not know Nancy's maiden name. The webpage said that the cemetery was call Toombes-Venible and it was one-half mile down a road, 100 feet on the right from the road, covered in eight feet of blackberries, no fence, and it did not mention the name of a road or a town. The webpage is maintained by Sibyl Creasey and the information is from Book 4 of the Van Zandt County Cemeteries. The webpage also showed that Alcy Elizabeth Smith and Mary E. Allgood were buried there.

I went looking for the cemetery because I was told it may be north of Small Cemetery. I ran into a guy who told me to call the Humphries. Pattizo Humphrie told me to call the Gleghorns. Penny Gleghorn thought the cemetery was off of FM 1395. She told me to call the Allens. Elvis Allen thought that the land was owned by Ben Henderson. Ben told me that he did have a cemetery on some of his land that had about five to six people buried there. He said it was under eight feet of blackberries and there was a fence. He did not know the name of it but gave me good directions. This cemetery was not off FM 1395.

I was warned about chiggers and Copperhead snakes, therefore, I took a can of OFF, a gun, a hoe, a machete, my camera, and a notepad. The cemetery is north of Edgewood on Hwy 859 past the Small Cemetery. Turn right at Hwy 19, drive about one mile and take first right on VZCR 3613. Drive exactly one-half mile and the cemetery is 100 feet off the road to the right. Before I found the cemetery, I spoke to a couple of neighbors in the area. Carol Miller told me about Bernadean Read. Bernadean's husband is a Haptonstall descendant. Bernadean remembers playing in the cemetery when she was a child but has not been down to that area in about three years. She said her ancestors, the Venables (notice the spelling), owned the land on the other side of the road from the cemetery. I found the huge patch of blackberries and Bernadean showed me where she thought the cemetery was. Sure enough, I found a corner of a chain link fence.

I hacked away the blackberries and honeysuckle with the help of two local boys named Jose and Manuel. As I began to hack, I saw at least two gravestones on the inside of the fence, and then three. I saw some more gravestones on the outside. After about two hours, most of the blackberries were cut away from the fence and on the inside of the fence. The fence was five feet tall, 10 feet wide and twenty feet long.

I was so excited to see that the three gravestones on the inside were the same as on the webpage, including Nancy Ann Joines' gravestone in the middle. On the outside, there were three gravestones for baby Toumbes (Notice the spelling). The cemetery should be called the Toumbes-Venable Cemetery.

A few weeks later, my mom and her sister Kathleen (Joines) Graves visited the cemetery. Kathleen wondered if the other graves were related to Nancy Joines. After researching and looking at a webpage by Nancy Ward that Diana also told me about, I discovered that all of the graves were related to Nancy. Alcy and Elizabeth were two of her daughters. The Toumbes babies were Nancy's great grandchildren, who happened to be descendants of another daughter of Nancy's. That other daughter is Martha Adeline Joines who married Richard Allen Toumbes. Martha is supposed to be buried at the same cemetery as Nancy but I have found no gravestone for her. Maybe she is buried there, maybe she is not. Ben Henderson has recently mowed down all of the blackberries.


To get to the Toumbes-Venable Cemetery, take State Hwy. 19 north from U.S. Hwy. 80. Go approximately 4.4 mile and turn left on VZ CR3613, drive exactly 1/2 mile and park your car. The cemetery will be 100 feet from the road on the right. The cemetery is on private property owned by Ben Henderson. There is a chain link fence that is 5' high and 10' wide and 20' long. Thanks to Mr. Henderson, the blackberries have been cleared away and the cemetery can be surveyed. It is strongly recommended that Mr. Henderson be contacted before visiting this cemetery.

I want to thank all of those who helped me in this endeavor. All of this information and more can be found at my webpage.

If anyone has questions or additional information, contact Paul Ridenour.

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This page last updated 23 September 2008

Van Zandt County Genealogical Society Website maintained by
Sibyl Creasey