McKinney Cemetery History
Blanco Co Cemeteries of Tx
Submitted by Joel Honeycutt and Pat Althaus
Prepared for Cemeteries of
TX by Wanda Qualls
Used with permission of the Blanco County Historical Commission, 101 Pitchfork, Johnson City, TX 78636.
McKinney Cemetery History
Blanco County News March 18 1982
God's Acre found at McKinny Cemetery
by Nancy Beck
McKinney cemetery is always peaceful, and is perhaps more so on a warm, spring afternoon. Songbirds call from the live oak and cedar trees which shade the graves.
The cemetery is a fenced acre, one of the most important acres in Blanco County. In its respect for the past, McKinney Cemetery protects the memories of Blanco's earliest settlers.
The cemetery's beginning is told simply by Annie Mabel Smith, a long time resident, born in 1874. For the 1953 Blanco Valley Fair, Annie Smith wrote out on deerskin these lines:
"In 1873, August 15, the court house burned at Blanco, Texas destroying all deeds stored there. So we can't pick up the threads of events prior to 1883."
"Before this time a family by the name of McKinney settled four miles west of Blanco City on the banks of the Blanco River, just where the McKinney Creek flows into the river. The creek took the name from the first settler to live there as was customary at that time."
"The family suffered a great loss in the death of their little daughter, who was attending school at Blanco. She rode to and from school on horseback. Her horse became frightened and threw her off, catching her foot in the stirrup. The horse drug her body to her family's gate."
"She was buried at the cemetery that bears her name......."
The McKinney daughter was 12 years old at the time of her death. Annie Mabel Smith, the mother of eleven children, is buried in McKinney Cemetery along side Val, her husband. Resting next to Annie is her own young daughter, Beulah. In 1901, Beulah was 23 months old when she contracted diphtheria and died. On her small tombstone the family asks, "God love and keep our precious baby."
The cemetery holds several other youthful graves: Will Ingram, R. L. Blackburn, the little King daughter. Along with these are the graves of the very old. One marker tells of Sarah C. Miller, mother of A. Moore. Born Feb. 1778. Died Oct. 03, 1874. This is the oldest of the legible markers.
Unfortunately, many graves are marked by no more than a rough granite slab. These blank faced granite gives no hint to the lives they honor. History is buried here which cannot be uncovered.
The McKinney daughters grave is also marked with no name or date, only the silent granite block. Few people can remember which grave is the girl's; it is apart from the others, resting alone in the far southeast corner.
"We built a new fence in 1967 and included the McKinney grave in the fenced area, " said Albert Darling, "Willard Gibbons, Warren Smith, Walton Lee Jones, Goldwin Smith, Carroll Smith, and I all worked on the fence." Most of these men have ancestors buried in the cemetery.
Names which are still heard around Blanco County are etched on the cemetery stones: Eppes, Moore, Adams, West.
"I'm the oldest of the surviving West family" says 96 year old Ben West.
West's grandfather, Tommy West, was one of the first settlers to arrive in the area. They came along with the Eppes, Smiths, Moores, Lawsons, Hines and Yates from Ashley, Illinois in 1872.
87 year old Edna Jones is a daughter of Annie Mabel Smith.
"In 1874 a school house was built next to the cemetery. On Sundays it was used as a church. I went to school there as a little girl and when I grew up, I taught classes there" she remembers.
"Part of the responsibility of the school children was to keep the cemetery clean and neat."
Today this schoolhouse still stands. It is a private residence and it shares with the cemetery a peaceful view of the surrounding river valley.
Only four miles from Blanco's Main Street, the cemetery in on McKinney loop, 2 miles west on the River Road (4th Street)
It remains a serene tribute to a girl who died many years ago, and to the families who lived alongside her own.