San Saba County - Big Uncle Cemetery

San Saba County

Big Uncle Cemetery, located a little over a mile northwest of Richland Springs, Texas on Richland Creek, is probably the oldest cemetery in the county.  It was named for Amaziah R. "Big Uncle" Woods, an early settler in the area, who donated the land and helped fence this half acre with sandstone blocks to establish the settlers’ first cemetery.
This cemetery was located near the old Duncan’s Fort which was built in 1859 by the Amaziah Woods, John Duncan, and John Hall families as a protection against the Indians.
Fort Duncan later became the town of Richland Springs and is now designated as an historical landmark of Texas.
Each fall during those early years, the settlers would move into the fort and remain there throughout the winter.  When spring came, they would return to their homes and land to plant and harvest their crops.  All the early deaths in this area were buried in Big Uncle Cemetery, many of which are now unmarked graves.
There are many interesting stories about the people buried in Big Uncle Cemetery which provide an insight into the way the settlers lived and died.  These stories stress the hazards that these people faced daily.
The earliest marked grave with an inscription is that of Amanda Keese Hudson, 41 years old, who died in childbirth in 1859.  She and her baby are buried together.  The last burial was that of Jasper Brown, 82 years old, in 1929.
There is, also, a tragic story about a very early family who moved to the area around 1854.  In 1869 the father of this family, Daniel Riley Harkey, died within 15 days of his wife’s death, leaving 13 children under 17 years of age  to survive on their own.  One of these children was Dee Harkey who wrote Mean As Hell about his life.  His sister, Sarah Harkey Hall, also wrote a book, Surviving On the Texas Frontier, which tells of the hardships the 13 children faced living by themselves after their parents died and tells how she handled the tragic deaths of her three brothers who were killed in gun fights.  These three brothers, a sister, her parents, and three of her children are buried in Big Uncle
Cemetery as well as other Harkey and Hall family members.
These three Harkey brothers and another young man who is buried in Big Uncle Cemetery each died at the age of 21 in gun fights. John, one of the  Harkey brothers, was killed in a gun fight near his home in 1878. A copy of The San Saba News dated Jan. 12, 1878, tells of  "a terrible tragedy (that) occurred at the store of S.E. Hayes on Richland Creek, when John Harkey and Augustus Stephenson had a ‘personal difficulty’ and shot and killed each other."  Both men are buried near each other in Big Uncle Cemetery. Another brother, Jim, was killed in a shoot-out in the Texas Panhandle in 1880; and Mose, a third brother, was also killed in a gun fight in 1888 in the Texas Panhandle.
Another early settler, Alexander L. "Beardy" Hall and his son moved to Richland Creek in 1855 and later Beardy served on the first jury panel in San Saba County in 1857.  In 1863 he was killed and scalped by Indians and was buried in Big Uncle Cemetery.  His son later found and killed the Indian who was carrying his father’s scalp and wearing his hat.
There are two Civil War veterans buried close to each other in Big Uncle.  Peter Lee died in 1884 and is buried beside his wife and daughter.  G.W. Handley’s stone has no dates, but does have the inscription that he was in Co. A, 41  Missouri Inf.
In the April/May 1974 issue of Frontier Times, in an article about Big Uncle Cemetery, Chris Weatherby has this to say about the conditions of the cemetery: "Nobody has been buried there since 1929.  It’s truly a place you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in - and time is running out to make it more inviting…"
For the past 50 years much of the cemetery has been obscured by trees, briars, weeds and vines and only partially cleaned several different times until the complete clean-up and restoration was organized in July of 1999 by Billy James "Bill" Hall, gg grandson of "Beardy" Hall, with help from Renee' Maxcey and Gwen Hall Ware,  gg granddaughters of "Beardy" Hall.
During this 1999 clean-up, all undergrowth has been cleared away and all that can now be seen in this cemetery are six huge oak trees and the very old markers of 103 graves.


Many tombstones, including Big Uncle’s stone, had fallen over several years ago due to animals digging in the graves and under the stones. Many of these were broken, so these markers were repaired and straightened at this time.
A new gate has been put up and additional posts have been added around the wire enclosure to replace the old cedar posts that have rotted and fallen to the ground.  Regular mowing and maintenance will be done from now on,  as well as regular spraying to keep the briars and vines under control.
Memorial contributions from many family descendants of those buried in the cemetery are helping to finance this clean-up and restoration. These contribution and additional contributions will be listed in the San Saba News from time to time.
Only 53 of these markers are inscribed and identified, leaving us to wonder about the people and the stories that lie buried in all the unknown graves.
Big Uncle Cemetery is the final resting place for many people who lived and died during the early years of San Saba County.  Preserving this cemetery will preserve much of the history of this early time .
Louann Hall

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Burial Name Birth Date Death Date
BROWN, David C. (son of George H & D.A.)(6 months old) Nov. 4, 1883 May 9, 1884
BROWN, Jasper (dates are from death cert. & census records) Aug. 19, 1845 Oct.  10, 1929
BROWN, Clara E. Hutchinson (33 years old) (wife of Jasper)             ,1846             ,1879
BROWN, Edward M. (son of John M. & N.J. Brown) Feb. 3, 1883 Sept. 10, 1883
BROWN, James M. (son of John M. & N.J Brown) Nov. 26, 1889 Feb. 2, 1891
DUNCAN, James Thomas (5 years old)(son of Robert J. & Lavina A.) Feb. 9, 1870 July 5, 1875
CHAPMAN, Woodie Speake (24 yrs. old)(1st wife of D.J.) Oct. 17, 1859 Aug. 20, 1884
COTTINGHAM, Inf. Dau of Elisha W. & Casandra "Cassie" A. June 23, 1884 June 23, 1884
FLEMING, Lucinda C. Woods (1st wife of James P.) Oct. 20, 1852 May 24, 1876
FLEMING, Bettie M. (8 years old) Dec. 17, 1874 Nov. 29, 1882
FLEMING, Jason L. (8 1/2 months old)(son of James P. & Manervia J.) July 9, 1888 Apr. 24, 1889
FLEMING, Elizebeth (Mrs. W.W.) (82 yrs. old)(mother of James P.) Aug. 30, 1809 Oct. 19, 1891
FOSTER, John H. (Masonic Emblem on stone) Mar. 13, 1822 June 18, 1883
FOSTER, John E. (son of J.E. & A.F.) Sept. 11, 1878 Aug. 11, 1882
FOSTER, Walter E.(son of J.E. & A.F.) Jan. 12, 1881 July 23, 1884
FOSTER, Perry K.(son of J.E. & A.f.) June 29, 1883 June 17, 1884
GIBBONS, Inf. twins of William Henry & Mary Virginia Gibbons             ,1883             ,1883
HALL, Alexander L., Sr. "Beardy" (53 yrs. old) (killed by Indians)             ,1810 Nov., 1863
HALL, Alexander L., Jr.  "Alec" (hus. of Polly Ann) (68 yrs. old) Jan. 3, 1837 Nov. 11, 1905
HALL, Polly Ann Brown (wife of Alec, Jr.) (70 yrs. old) Dec. 1, 1841 July 27, 1919
HALL, Martha C. (dau. of Alec and Polly) June 20, 1861 July 15, 1861
HALL, John W. (son of Alec and Polly) Dec. 26, 1859 Jan. 14, 1862
HALL, J.M. "Pony" Sept. 22, 1814 Dec. 31, 1864
HALL, Elizabeth (wife of "Pony") Nov. 25, 1826 Feb. 18, 1912
HALL, Robert Pickens (son of "Pony" and Elizabeth) Jan. 20, 1859 Oct. 28, 1859
HALL, Warren M. (Son of David C. & Sarah Caroline Harkey Hall) Jan. 30, 1877 Mar. 14, 1877
HALL, Infant son of David C. & Sarah C. Aug. 13, 1884 Aug. 13, 1884
HALL, Myrtle (Dau. of David C. & Sarah C.) Dec. 26, 1887 Dec. 21, 1888
HALL, Baby (Inf. son of Nathan J. & Eleanor Hudson Hall) Jan. 4, 1890 Jan. 4, 1890
HALL, Nancy J. Harkey (21 years old)(wife of John Hall) Dec. 24, 1852 Oct. 10, 1874
HANDLEY, G.W. (CSA)(Co. A, 41st Missouri Inf.) no dates no dates
HARKEY, James L. "Jim" (killed by Jim Barbee) Dec. 5, 1858 Jan. 3, 1880
HARKEY, John A. (killed by "Gus" Augustus Stephenson) Apr. 8, 1855 Feb. 5, 1878
HARKEY, Mose (killed by Mr. Drace)(dates from family records) Nov. 11, 1867 ,1888
HARKEY, Polley E. (Sarah's stone has Polly E.)(71 years old) Sept. 10, 1831 Oct. 15, 1902
HARKEY, Sarah A. Francis (dau. of Levi & Polly E.)(20 yrs. old) Dec. 8, 1861 Jan. 7, 1882
HARKEY, Daniel Riley Nov. 15, 1829 Apr. 14, 1869
HARKEY, Margaret Smith (wife of Dan) (37 yrs. old) Nov. 10, 1832 Mar. 20, 1869
HARMON, Infant Son of G. Harmon ,1877 ,1877
HOUSE, Sallie Lee (dau. of Peter & Eliabeth Lee) (wife of Joel A.House) ,1860 ,1880
HUDSON, Richard "Dick" J. June 12, 1848 June 6, 1890
HUDSON, Amanda Keese (oldest stone with inscription) Aug. 8, 1818 Sept., 1859
HUDSON, Infant (buried with mother, Amanda, who died in childbirth) Sept., 1859 Sept., 1859
HUDSON, Isabella (1 year old) Aug. 29, 1878 June 14, 1879
JOHNSON, Anne (Infant of Peter N. & Mary L.) July 3, 1883 Aug. 24, 1883
JOHNSON, Sophie (Inf. Dau. of P.N. & Mary L. Johnson) Apr. 13,1882 Apr. 14, 1882
JOHNSON, Nicoline (dau. of P.N. & Mary L. Johnson.) Nov. 16, 1876 Dec. 8, 1876
J.C.C.  (small footstone, nothing written on small headstone) no dates no dates
LEE, Peter T. (CSA Veteran)  (71 years old)(hus. of Elizasbeth) June, 1813 Mar. ,1884
LEE, Elizabeth Ann Nicholson (wife of Peter)(58 years old) June, 1823 Sept. ,1881


S.E.R. (Initials only) no dates no dates


STEPHENSON,  Augustus A. "Gus" (killed by John Harkey) Oct. 30, 1857 Jan. 8, 1878


STEPHENS, J.T. no dates no dates


TERRY, Agnes A. (17 yrs old)(died following flood in Rountrees' cave) Apr. 23, 1863 June 8, 1880


ROUNTREE, Ross M. (moved to Richland Springs Cem.) Feb. 16, 1877 May 27, 1880
ROUNTREE, Lawrence F. (moved to Richland Springs Cem) May 2, 1874 May 27, 1880


WOODS, Amasiah R. "Big Uncle" (66 yrs. old) May 5, 1813 July 16, 1879
WOODS, Martha E. Dowdle (81 years old)(wife of A.R.) Apr. 23, 1816 May 23, 1897


ROUND ROCK CIRCLE: (No names)(Script on stone) no dates no dates
   "Go Home Dear Friend,
   Dry Up Your Tears,
   Here I Shall Lie,
   Till Christ Appears"    


Total 105 graves, 57 identified names and 48 unknown markers

Special Thanks to Louann Hall for providing this listing and all the hard work she, her husband - Billy James "Bill" Hall, gg grandson of "Beardy" Hall; Renee' Maxcey and Gwen Hall Ware, gg granddaughters of "Beardy" Hall have done and plan to continure doing.

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