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We all have a story to tell. Some speak louder than others. Listen closely to hear the stories of our ancestors echoing under our footsteps. They are the authors. We are the keepers.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Are you my ancestor?

Headstone: Unknown, Nelson Grove Cemetery (Est. 1875), near Woodbine, Cooke County, Texas. Photograph by Herstoryan. Houston, Texas. 2007

Nelson Grove cemetery is a rural cemetery about 9 miles east of Gainesville, Texas. The first burial was a 14 year old girl named Mollie Nelson who died in 1875 from pneumonia and the measles. 

My 3rd great grandparents, Madison D. and Harriet (Miller) Lynch, also died in 1875. Harriet died 08 Mar 1875 and Madison died a few weeks later on 06 May 1875. They left 5 children orphaned. My great great grandmother, Alice Louise (Lynch) Creel, was only four years old at the time. 

According to the historical marker on site, the cemetery and surrounding land was deeded to the Cooke County judge in 1877 for use as a "school, church, and burying ground." Several members of the Lynch family are buried in this cemetery. It is unknown whether Madison and Harriet are buried here or on their land. The cemetery wasn't donated for public use until 2 years after they died. 

However, some researchers have said that they are buried at Nelson Grove Cemetery which is entirely likely. Madison owned 80 acres of the J. Banning land grant and 160 acres of the Elizabeth Spencer land grant which bordered the Nelson's land. R. C. Nelson was appointed administrator of the Estate of Madison D. Lynch after he died. It is entirely possible that Madison and Harriet are buried near R. C. Nelson's daughter, Mollie in that shady grove that later became Nelson Grove Cemetery. 

The stone pictured above is one of several unmarked stones located next to the Lynch family graves. Could one of these stones belong to Madison and Harriet? Mollie Nelson's grave is also "unmarked."

  • Cooke County, Texas. Will Records: Will Boxes 9 & 20, Estate of Madison D. Lynch,  1875-1882; County Clerk Office,  Cooke County Courthouse Annex, 112 South Dixon Suite 116, Gainesville, Texas. 
  • "Texas Historic Sites Atlas," database online, Texas Historical Commission ( accessed 01 Dec 2009), Marker No. 12372 entry for Nelson Grove Cemetery (Gainesville vicinity, Cooke County, Texas), marker location "9 miles east of Gainesville on US 82, then 1.5 miles south on FM 678," erected 2000.
  • "Map of Cooke County, Texas, December 1868." Compiler: Max Stakemann. Archives and Records, Map/Document No. 3439, Texas General Land Office, Stephen F. Austin State Office Building, Austin, Texas 


  1. Interesting. I have history in Cooke County, but I've barely touched the surface. Jones, Bourland, Nielson/Neilson.

  2. Great picture, and I liked reading about the history of cemetery. Reminds me of my stepfather's family - the Jones' had a "burying ground" on what is now the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. No engraved stones, just stones. Beautiful, but for a genealogist, not too satisfying.