Noble-San Jose Cemetery

Fannion, Goliad Co. TX

Submitted by Louis Barrientes, Sr

This is intended to hopefully clarify some of the records and history surrounding the Noble and San Jose Cemetery located 1.8 miles East of Fannin, Goliad County, Texas on US59 according to the US Geological Survey coordinates position Lat284200N Long0971246W. My name is Luis (Louis) Barrientes. I was born 27 April 1943 on the Joe Biggo homestead in Fannin, Goliad County, Texas. My father, Higinio, told me that he was born on the property on the North side of US 59 southbound just West of Fannin at a windmill he use to point out to me that was supposed to be next to an airstrip, where he alter cooked at during the Depression.

I am unsure but I think the property the airstrip is on belonged to the Swickheimer's. The Luter family were merchants and was one of the earlier families that settled in Goliad country in or around 1850 according to the 1850 Goliad Census and were the owners of the property being refereed to as the Noble-San Jose cemetery today. In the early 1950's,the State of Texas constructed or reconstructed US 59 and acquired part of the original graveyard or cemetery as referred to in the original deed. The Nobel's had purchased the surrounding property from the Luter's, however it did not include the cemetery. The Nobel's later sold the land to the Hanley"s, the Hanley's sold it to the Willemin's and the Gordon's own it at the present time. It was a custom of the times that certain groups or families that worked or sharecropped with certain landowners were given oral permission to bury their dead on their own family cemetery or land. It was also the custom that these groups or families helped or maintained the cemetery of their dead. As far back as I can establish, this was the case with the Noble Cemetery .

The original Noble Cemetery is very well defined, even thou the original fence post have long been decayed. The oldest grave on the West fence line, the offset in the entrance and the Noble headstones also indicates the boundary of the original cemetery .The other part presently fenced in area is the new part of the Noble-San Jose cemetery .During the summer of2001, after certain events occurred, I wanted to document as much of the history and records before all knowledge or records are forgotten or lost. It is local knowledge that a "Barrientes" has been in charge of the cemetery as far back as people can remember. With the proposed reconstruction of US 59 during 2001, I wanted to know how the cemetery was going to be effected. 

I personally tried to find records on the Noble cemetery to no avail. During the past years, I was under the impression that when my father and other "pillars of the local Mexican-American community", had talked to Mr. Austin Willemin in the early 1950's about the state acquisition, he had given them a deed to the property he had told them to fence in and that it had been recorded to a certain member of the Medrano family (Jose Medrano II). I have consulted with the oldest living member of the Medrano family, my cousins, and discovered that no deed was every prepared, which could explain why I could not find any records. I consulted Mr. George Gordon and his son, Gregg and the question of ownership arose. Mrs. Shirley Gordon is the daughter of Mr. Austin and remembers Mr. Austin giving them permission to fence said property .it is also noted that during those times, it was no unusual for transaction such as this to be done on someone's word or handshake. After intensive research and the help of Mister Adan Valadez and his daughter, Velma Starr, of Right-of- Way Services of Alice, Texas, we found the original deed to the cemetery.

In 1898, Mrs. Susan Noble purchased " a graveyard/cemetery" from the Luter's because her husband and son were buried there and is recorded in Volume "Y" page 308 in the Goliad County courthouse. No further records of any further living relatives could be found. Sometime during the 1950's, I assume after my people talked to Mr. Austin, the cemetery was being referred to as "San Jose". Unaware of this, when I was discharged from the US Army in 1969, I made and we erected a sign for "San Jose". This will changed to Noble-San Jose as soon as possible. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon have granted me a quick claim deed to the property Mr. Austin told my people to fence in and is recorded in Volume 170 Page 779 in the Goliad courthouse. Ironically they deeded the property to me on September 11 2002, one year after the tragic terror attack on the World Trade Centers. I am in the process of establishing the Noble-San Jose Cemetery Association.  

The purpose of this association is historical and educational: to perpetuate the intentions, history and memory of our dearly departed; to educate the community and members: establish control and to ensure the original wishes and intent of the original owner( s ) and families are respected. The Association will remember and respect every November 1 (All Saints Day) and every November 2 (All Souls' Day/Dia De Los Muertos) be!ieved to be indigenous and European tradition: it is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit the living. 

I have prepared a cemetery layout sheet of the Noble-San Jose Cemetery with all the present physically known burial locations,  however I know there are other persons that are not listed because for what ever reasons, their markers or locations are unknown. Some of the markers were made of wood, long since decayed, others had no markers or the markers were removed and lost during maintenance over the past years. I would like to publicly express my thanks, gratitude and appreciation to the George Gordon Family for their kindness and love they have shared with me with this project I have been working on for several years and wanted to get done before I expired. I dedicate this in loving memory to my parents, Higinio Barrientes and Leonor Martinez Barrientes, and to the following families, in due respect, which shared in this personal and historical event:

The Luter Family, The Noble Family, The Biggo Family, The Swickheimer Family, The Hanley Family, The Willemin Family, The Gordon Family, The Barrientes Family,  The Cantu Family, The Floores Family, The Garza Family, The Leal Family, The Lopez Family, The Martinez Family, The Medrano Family, The Moreno Family.


is to breathe the flower in every seed,

to see a star in every drop of dew, 

to await the promise of a rainbow despite the cloud.

(author unknown)