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A descendant’s thanks

To the members of the Abandoned Cemetery Association of Parker County, Texas:

Ladies and gentlemen, The Legal Genealogist doffs her hat to you.

And offers you a family’s thanks in general — and this descendant’s thanks in particular.

Yesterday, as the wrap-up event of a trip to Texas to speak to the Dallas Genealogical Society, I managed to con … er, convince … a good friend, professional genealogist Kelvin Meyers, to take a quick research trip to Weatherford, county seat of Parker County, Texas.

I got to touch the record of my great grandparents’ 1874 marriage.

And examine the record copies of deeds by my second great grandparents.

And lament with the clerk the loss of the country’s pre-1874 records in a fire — and the loss of the late 19th and early 20th century brands and marks books to who-knows-what-cause.

And, on the way back to Dallas, Kelvin graciously agreed to stop by the Baker Cemetery, a small no-longer-active cemetery near the Baker Baptist Church in an area called Baker Community.

After my ancestors and their children.

My third great grandparents Martin Baker and his wife Elizabeth (Buchanan) Baker were among the first to settle in that area of Parker County. They brought with them their daughter — Martha Louisa Baker, who was called Louisa and married George W. Cottrell — they are my second great grandparents. And the Bakers also brought with them their son, Josiah A. Baker, his wife Nancy “Kate” (Fore) Baker and their children.

We’re not entirely clear whether Josiah’s family included his mother-in-law Nancy Fore from the beginning, or whether she joined them later, but the older Nancy was very much part of the Baker Community — and her contribution to the family wasn’t limited to Kate Baker.

Nancy had another daughter, Mary “Polly” Fore, who married Mathew Johnson. At some point after the Civil War, Polly bundled up her family and moved them to Parker County as well, including a bright young daughter named Martha, called “Mattie.” In time this Fore granddaughter met a Baker grandson — Martin Gilbert Cottrell — and that pair became my great grandparents.

Which makes Nancy Fore my third great grandmother as well.

The land on which the Baker Cemetery stands was donated by the Baker family. Elizabeth’s is the first known burial in that cemetery. Her stone records her death in July of 1854. Martin followed in November of 1868 and is buried next to Elizabeth. A row or so back is the stone marking the grave of Nancy Fore in October 1882. And Nancy Kate Baker is nearby, her stone dated October of 1895.

Three great grandparents and a second great grand-aunt, all buried in that cemetery, with a variety of other cousins both known and unknown.

The last time I was at that cemetery was a round dozen years ago. The grass had been cut, the weeds trimmed, and some effort to maintain the stones.

Yesterday though … Yesterday blew me away.

The grass had still been cut. The weeds still trimmed. But the cemetery maintenance had obviously been stepped up big time.

The stones had been cleaned. Some of them repaired, or even reset.

And one thing that bothered me enormously in 2007 had been fixed by yesterday.

In 2007, Martin’s stone faced away from the fence, and Elizabeth’s faced towards it. It was jarring to see these two side-by-side gravestones facing in different directions. Both had obviously been broken, and when they were fixed and reset, they were done differently.

Baker graves 2007

By yesterday, they were both facing the same direction.

Baker graves 2019




Thanks to the people now maintaining that cemetery. According to a sign on the fence around the cemetery, that’s the Abandoned Cemetery Association of Parker County.

Who are now getting a donation from me as soon as I get home and find my checkbook.

Thank you, ACAPC.

You have this descendant’s thanks for being on the scene where I am not and fixing what I can’t.

Thank you.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “An open letter,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 8 Aug 2019).

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