Walls Family Cemetery
Hall County, Cemeteries of Texas
Photos by Anne Chappell.
Location: About 1/4 mi. West of Hancock Lake, or about 5 mi. Southwest of the Leslie Community.
This cemetery information was sent to us by Anne Chappell. The cemetery was visited in 1993 and the information was transcribed in 1993-1994. If there are any questions or if you think there is an error please e-mail Anne Chappell . She will do lookups for this cemetery and several others in Hall County. Thank you Anne for your gracious contribution to this site! Much of the credit for the cemetery lists in Hall county should be given to Mike Hughes who walked each cemetery, recorded and transcribed them with a manual typewriter, starting back in the 1970's.These burial transcriptions were taken from Hall County's courthouse records, and from information given by Mina Eltice Walls Chappell, daughter of Joseph and Lucy Walls and Jiggs Walls, great-grandson of Edward and Sarah Jane Walls. The cemetery list follows the History section below.
|Joseph Wall's Woodmen of the World monument which is mostly buried.||
Ida Belle Shirley's monument which is mostly buried.
Near the Leslie community, blowing dust and
the steady march of time relentlessly continue their efforts to bury the
entire Walls Family Cemetery, but nature cannot rob from the remaining
family the memories of those lying there.
When the little cemetery was begun, the farm belonged to Edward Elijah Walls. By the time Ed was laid to rest there in 1930, he had buried his wife, his eldest son, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren in a span of about five years beginning early in 1913.
We can imagine the ache in his heart during those intervening years as he continued to work the farm that surrounded their little burial ground. But from birth Ed was accustomed to grief and change.
Born in 1847 just northeast of the Smokies near the North Carolina and Tennessee border, Ed was one quarter Cherokee. His mother was Caroline, daughter of Rebecca Hunter and Jeremiah Green, and his father was William Walls, half Indian. As family tradition relates, William Walls' father married a full blood Cherokee girl. One evening when he took his wife and infant son to a brush arbor church meeting, he was killed by Indians.
The once peaceful Cherokee Nation had very early adapted quite well to the Anglo lifestyle. However, with white settlers' steady appetite for land having grown insatiable by the discovery of gold, precipitating in the forced removal of most of their people to Indian Territory, the remnant of the civilized tribe had resorted to hostilities. The Trail of Tears had occurred less than a decade before Ed's birth. Relations between natives and white settlers were undoubtedly the worst they had ever been in that area of North America.
After Caroline's untimely death, her parents, Jeremiah and Rebecca, no doubt feared the same fate might one day come to William's and Caroline's part Indian infant son, as had to William's father. Possibly to prevent this event, the Green family stole away to Hood County, Texas with little Edward, raising him as their own, even giving him their Green surname.
But the Greens were not to be safe from Indian reprisal even in far away Texas. In 1863, fifty-three year old Jeremiah and two friends were taking wheat to a mill when they were attacked by Indians. Jeremiah, mortally wounded, urged his friends to escape. When the friends returned after a safe length of time, Jeremiah was dead, and they buried him on the spot. He was later disinterred and buried in Rough Creek Cemetery in Hood County. Jeremiah's story is related in Indian Depredations in Texas as well as in other histories. His widow lived until 1902, and she is buried beside him in Rough Creek Cemetery.
Not until he married Sarah Jane Rhea in Hood County in 1871, did Ed take back his birth name of Walls. Soon after the turn of the century when so many succumbed to the lure of Hall County farmland, Ed Walls and his family joined the Westward movement. His eldest son, Joseph Andrew Allen and wife Lucy Jane Camp Walls and their little family joined the elder Walls by 1908, unaware of the grief they would experience in their new home.
Sometime in 1912 in and around Hood County,
Texas, an epidemic of spinal meningitis swept through the country.
With improved communication and travel, Lucy Jane Walls learned that
her parents, Nancy Marie May and Benjamin Washington Camp, had
contracted the disease, and she hurried to their bedsides. However,
her loving care was incapable of saving her father, and on January 29,
1913 he slipped out of this life. Eleven days later, the illness
claimed the life of Lucy's brother, George. Father and son were buried
in Squaw Creek Cemetery in Hood County.
In Hall County, Lucy's husband, Joseph, son of Edward Elijah Walls, had received word that Lucy was ill. Leaving their children in the care of family, Joseph boarded the train for Hood County. Lucy was still conscious and able to recognize and speak to him before her death on February 10 just a day after her brother's death.
Again, Joseph boarded the train, this time bringing Lucy's lifeless body home to Hall County for burial. It was on his return that the location of the family burial ground on Elijah Edward Walls' farm was chosen.
Lucy's and Joseph's oldest son, Olin Regis, unpacked his mother's clothing, aired them, and put them away. When he, too, developed spinal meningitis, the family reasoned he must have become infected from contact with her clothing. Seventeen days after his mother's death, Olin fell victim to the killer infection, and he was laid beside her in the new cemetery.
Lucy was preceded in death by four of their ten children, two before moving to Hall County. A son born in 1898 had lived only about a year as did a little daughter born in 1906, and of the triplets born in 1908, one died at birth, and another at about eight months of age. At forty-one, Joseph had buried his wife and five children. After Lucy's and Olin's deaths, Joseph wrote in the family Bible, "Lucy Jane Walls, Born May 8, 1874, Died Feby. 10, 1913 at 9 O'clock P.M. Mon.; Olin R. Walls, Born Nov 21, 1894, Died Feby 27, 1913, at 9 O'clock A.M. Thurs.; Two more dear ones gone to meet their Blessed Lord.
In 1914, only fourteen months after Joseph Andrew Allen Walls buried his wife, Lucy Camp Walls, cancer claimed Joseph. He was only forty-two years old when he was laid beside his Lucy in the Walls Family Cemetery a few miles southwest of Leslie. His surviving children lived with grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Joseph's mother, Sarah Rhea Walls, was buried there in 1917. Only a year later, his oldest daughter, Zella Alice became one of the many victims of the terrible influenza epidemic that in 1918 encircled the earth with doom. She was laid to rest with her parents, brother, and grandmother.
At the death of Zella, Eltice, the fourth child, now almost eighteen years old, became the eldest of the four remaining or the ten children born to Joseph and Lucy Walls. She was followed by sixteen year old Nancy Lucille, fourteen year old Carol (nicknamed Bill), and finally by the surviving triplet, ten year old George Varlis.
Nancy and Lucille both lived past their three score and ten, and George survived over half a century.
In 1921, Eltice married Bert Chappell, uncle of C. T. and Jim Chappell.
Eltice inherited the longevity of her ancestors. At her birth, she had eleven living antecedents, her parents, all four grandparents, four great grand parents, and one great great grandmother, the widow of Jeremiah Green.
Eltice now resides in a retirement home in New Braunfels near three of her five surviving children. The coming year will be more than just a millennium for Eltice and her family. She will be celebrating her centennial year. The past century has dimmed her hearing and slowed her step, but her mind is as keen as when she taught at Leslie School in Hall County eight decades ago. A lifelong attentive listener, she has stories of her own and of generations before her, for when "the old folks" talked of their youth, she listened and kept the stories in her heart. A shadow sometimes crosses her comely countenance when recalling the sorrow she has encountered throughout her life. But quickly the gentle radiance of her warm smile and the twinkle in her eyes returns as her reflections turn again to the good days.
On the last day of August, 1916, Edward Elijah Walls' nine year old grandson, Eldon Lee, child of Lily and Brackson Walls had been hunting with his big brother. It had been an exciting day, and the young hunters could not suppress their energy when they entered the house. Throwing themselves and the gun on the bed, they gave no thought to their reckless behavior. Suddenly the joy of the day's hunt turned to horror as the gun discharged, mortally wounding Eldon. He was buried in the growing Walls Family Cemetery on his grandfather's farm near Leslie.
Brackson worked on the large Lott ranch in northwest Hall County, and the family was provided a house on the ranch. It was there that Eldon died, and it was from that house about a year later that Brackson helped Lily into a wagon to rush her as quickly as one could travel by wagon over rough and rutted roads. Lily was in labor, and from the onset she knew this was not to be a normal birth, for Lily was well experienced in childbirth. One can imagine her anguish as the miles to the doctor in Clarendon stretched endlessly ahead. Whether still in Hall County or on into Donley County, somewhere on the trip Lily's pain ravaged body could endure no more. Turning the wagon homeward, Brackson drove the team back without the formality of filing a death certificate in either county. Once more the family traveled to that now all too familiar location and Lily still with child was laid to rest with Eldon and the other family members.
Those were hard years for so many poor working families. During the flu epidemic of 1918 occasionally the Walls family would hear of the death of a member of an itinerant family, and they would offer them a gravesite in their cemetery. The bereaved family might place a wooden marker, and most would soon move on seeking a better life. None of the Walls family now remembers the names or number of unrelated burials. One such family, however, did have a monument placed which reads, "Come unto me: Ida Belle, Wife of W. W. Shirley, July 8, 1870, Jan 17, 1921," but none of the Walls family recalls anything more about Ida Belle Shirley.
Probably Edward Elijah Walls' 1930 interment was the last in the Walls Family Cemetery. When the farm sold outside the Walls family, they failed to withhold the cemetery. When another of Ed's and Sarah Jane Rhea Walls' sons, Thomas Edward Walls discovered this oversight, he bought back the acreage comprising cemetery. Recorded in the Hall County courthouse is the document that warrants that little piece of land will forever remain the Walls Family Cemetery.
When Thomas Edward Walls died in 1951, he was buried in Lakeview Cemetery. His widow Kittie Ingram Walls and their son Jiggs continued to fight against the elements to maintain the cemetery. But over the years the task became too much for them. In 1986, Kittie passed from this life, and she was buried beside her husband in Lakeview Cemetery.
The weeping willow trees and the monuments surrounded by cultivated land probably aided the blowing sand in drifting higher and higher until now Walls Family Cemetery is a large mound comprising a common grave for all who lie there. Today, only the top of Joseph Andrew Allen Walls' Woodmen of the World monument, the monument of the Shirley woman in a corner somewhat protected from the blowing dust, and the willows weeping above the knoll attest to the solemnity and the purpose of the place. The casual passer-by would never realize the heartache and history that lie in that little area in northwest Hall County.
Cemetery Inscriptions List
The cemetery is completely surrounded by
farmland, and is now mounded high in soil. The only Walls family monument
remaining visible is a Woodman of the World stone only about 12 to 16 inches
above the ground just a few feet west of a willow tree; although, at one time
all the family members had visible markers.
In the northeast corner is the only other visible stone with the following inscription:
Come unto me
Wife of W. W. Shirley
July 8, 1870
Jan. 17, 1921
In the southeast corner several infants of itinerant families were interred with only wooden crosses for markers which are no longer visible and whose names are now forgotten.
Last name, First/Middle, Birth date, Death date, Other information.
Walls, Edward Elijah, Oct. 20, 1847, Jun. 19, 1930, b. N. C. (death certificate at Hall County court house)
Walls, Sarah Jane Rhea, no date, ca. 1917, (wife of Edward Elijah Walls)
Walls, Joseph Andrew Allen, Sep. 15, 1872, Mar. 20, 1914, (son of Edward and Sarah Jane), died in Hall County of colon cancer.
Walls, Lucy Jane Camp, May 8, 1874, Feb. 10, 1913, (wife of Joseph) died in Granbury, Hood. Co., TX, of cerebral spinal meningitis.
Walls, Olin Regis, Nov. 21, 1894, Feb. 27, 1913, (son of Joseph and Lucy) (death certificate in Hall County court house)
Walls, Zella Alice, Nov. 6, 1896, Mar. 16, 1918, (oldest daughter of Joseph and Lucy) died at Brice of pneumonia. (death certificate in Hall Co. court house)
Walls, Lillie May Russell , b. Jan 5, 1883, d. Sep 1917, (wife of Brackson, son of Edward and Jane) died in childbirth in route to Clarendon from Lott's ranch.
Walls, Noma, b. and d. between 1913 and 1915., (twin sister of Noel - children of Lily and Brackson)
Walls, Eldon Lee, Apr. 7, 1907, Aug. 31,
1916, (son of Lily and Brackson - died in gun accident) (death certificate in
Hall County court house)
According to Jiggs Walls, the first six listed above lie in a row on the west side in the order listed, beginning on the south side. Lily and her two children lie in a row behind them. Eltice Walls listed the other children of Lily and Brack as Andrew, Trolly, Clayton, Connie, Cecil, Olita, Oveta, and Hazel, Brack Walls married two more times. His third wife was Mrs. Cora [Cass?] James, whom he married in Hall County on 13 Jan. 1919. He died and was interred in Washington state.
Jiggs Walls also listed Daniel E. (Dee)
Walls (son of Edward and Jane), served in WWI - died with flu about 1916 or
1917 as interred in Walls Cemetery, but Eltice Chappell said he died with
typhoid fever in east Texas and was interred there. And Jiggs said Cecil Walls
(son of Lily and Brack) who died in Borger of burns received fire fighting was
buried in the Walls Cemetery, but Eltice said he was buried in Borger.
Recently the following was found in death records. This was obviously one of the migrant infants buried there.
Jesse Lee Bryant son of E. M. Bryant, died of meningitis, January 25, 1922