Photos and story by Thomas D. and Darline Brown
History: Searching for Grave Markers of Mary Elizabeth Craig and Thomas Fielder Weldon
In December of 1999, we made a trip to Palo Pinto Country to locate the old cemetery of Fortune Bend in search of the burial places of Mary Elizabeth Craig and Thomas Fielder Weldon and their daughter Bell Elizabeth Weldon.
Mary Elizabeth Craig was born in 1841 at Wash, Arkansas. She married Thomas Fielder Weldon about 1867/69. She died in 1883 and was buried on top of a hill near Fortune Bend.
Thomas Fielder Weldon was born in Henderson, Kentucky, October of 1823 and died in 1885 and was also buried upon the hill at Fortune Bend.
Their daughter, Bell Elizabeth Weldon was born in 1871 in Arkansas. She was killed in 1887 when her foot caught in the stirrup while ridding a horse. She was sixteen years old.
In the Possum Kingdom Country book, the Thomas Fielder Weldon and Elizabeth Craig Weldon story: The Weldons, farmers and ranchers, established a small ranch in Fortune Bend. They registered the XAV brand on February 8, 1881. Their homestead was started on a beautiful hill with a living spring at its base. A doorway was dug in the hillside and framed with cedar logs. On the threshold, the mouth of the spring is built around with sand rocks and the initials TFW-MEC are carved in the rock facing the entrance. When Elizabeth died in 1883 at the age of 42, she was buried on a hill some distance from the house. After Elizabeth's death, Thomas went back to Arkansas a while, returning to the home place in Texas, where he died on arrival 1885.
In our quest for these graves, we came from
the east on highway 180, entering the town of Palo Pinto, we turned
right onto Farm Road 4 and traveled about eight miles north until
we reached an intersection bearing a sign 'Fortune Bend.' Here
we turned left and followed a gravel road for about ten miles
when we reached the Fortune Bend Cemetery. We found no Weldon
grave markers at this cemetery. After later obtaining more information
from Mr. Lloyd McCoy, we made another trip in January 2000 in
search of these burial sites. We made the same trip to the Fortune
Bend Cemetery and there continued on up the road about two hundred
yards where we turned right and followed the road up the hill.
The earth is cut away on each side of the road. We continued up
this road until we reached an old house and barn (the William's
old family home). Behind the house, upon the hill we found a small
family cemetery containing the markers for the Weldon family.
Success, at last.