TX Cemetery Saturday, 10/2/2021, Limestone County

bdtex

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Next Friday, 10/8, is my grandson's birthday but I will be at the CWT Antietam Muster next week so I made a daytrip to Waco yesterday to celebrate his birthday early with he and my son. There was rain in the forecast all day, so I pared down my gravestone cleaning kit, rolled outta here at 5:45am and took my chances on the weather. Turns out, the only weather issue all day was some dense morning fog. I had 2 small cemeteries near the western shore of Lake Limestone picked out for visits. Both had been on my list for quite some time. Made one stop for a restroom break and coffee refill about 2 hours in. My first picture shows that I arrived at McKenzie Cemetery at 8:23am. Below is the first picture. Up top is the second picture. You can still see some fog in both pictures.

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McKenzie Cemetery is on Limestone County Road(LCR) 742, about 2 miles off the nearest 2 lane blacktop, TX 937. At times, I could see Lake Limestone to my right through the trees. As you might have guessed, it was very rural. A couple of deer bounded along LCR 742 in front of me and escorted me right up to the cemetery. There is a covered pavilion and storage building outside the fence.

According to FindAGrave, there are 183 burials at McKenzie Cemetery. There are 4 Confederate veterans buried there and all four have military gravestones, 2 upright Confederate gravestones and 2 flatstones. I had it in my notes that 3 needed cleaning. When I found them, all 4 needed cleaning. Even with rain in the forecast, I knew I could do some good with them. As usual, I had the place to myself and it was very peaceful. Plenty of room for future burials and it seemed to be well kept.

FindAGrave says the cemetery is in Thornton, Texas which is west of it. The smaller towns of Oletha and Old Union are closer and are northwest of it on TX 937. If you click on the Map link on FindAGrave, you can see how close to Lake Limestone it is and where the 3 towns I named are.

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/5142/mckenzie-cemetery
 

bdtex

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Well, Did you clean them and take some photos?
Yessir. Getting to it. Mixing posting with Sunday chores. The before photos will be first, then the after photos. I could tell as I found them that I could do a lot with just a scraper, water and a brush. I had all 3. After I did that I let 'em dry a little and sprayed them with a D2/water mix. I don't think it rained there yesterday afterwards or today. They oughta look way better a month or 2 from now.
 

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Pvt. Isaiah Shields, Co. H, 5th Texas Infantry . This soldier is why I chose to visit that particular cemetery on that particular day. 28 fold3 pages. He enlisted on March 1, 1862 in Trinity County for the war. He mustered-in on March 17, 1862 in Walker County. The Sept. 1862 - April 1863 Company Muster Rolls say "Absent. Wounded at Sharpsburg Sept. 17, 1862." He was in several hospitals in Richmond during that time. He is "Present" on the May 1863 - December 1864 Company Muster Rolls. He surrendered and was paroled at Appomattox CH on April 9, 1865. He is in the 1860 Census as a farmer in Walker County. He is in the 1890 Census with his wife and 5 kids as a farmer in San Jacinto County. He died in 1897. His wife died in 1898. He, wife and 3 kids are buried there. 19 "Shields" are buried there.

His gravestone is the one I didn't think would need cleaning. It looked new in the 2009 photo of it in FindAGrave. It was mildewed and had an ant bed on it when I found it. I took a picture of it, then flicked the ant bed off with a plastic scraper. Went back to clean it after I found the other 3.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44064127/isaiah-shields

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After I found and photographed the other 3 veterans' gravestones, I went back to Pvt. Shields' gravestone to clean it. I sprayed the straggling ants and the ground with bug spray and scrubbed his stone with a brush and some water. If I'd had more time, I would've scrubbed it a little longer. I left it to dry a little while I cleaned the other 3. This is what it looked like before I sprayed it. I did the best I could with the time I had. Hopefully, I can go back within the next year and see how well the spray worked.

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Pvt. Shields' Texas Muster Card:

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Pvt. William J. Choate, Co. C, 17th Texas Cavalry. 7 fold3 pages. He enlisted on Feb. 26, 1862 in Tyler, Texas for 1 year. He mustered-in on March 15, 1862. He is "Present" on the 2/26-6/30/'62 Company Muster Roll. Gap in his records there. In the May-Dec. 1863 CMRs he is "Absent. Belongs to Trans Mississippi Department." He also has 2 fold3 pages in Co. C, 17th Consolidated (Dismounted) Texas Cavalry. There is an Index Card and 6/30/62-6/30/63 CMR that has him "Present". According to NPS, the regiment was dismounted after it was formed in 1862 and was captured at Arkansas Post. After exchange it was consolidated with 3 other regiments and saw action from Chickamauga to Nashville in the Western Theater. Hard to know what action Pvt. Choate saw. I couldn't find anything definitive for him postwar in Ancestry either. He died in 1900. He and a daughter are buried in McKenzie Cemetery. I couldn't find a Pension or Headstone Application. 10 "Choate"s are buried there.

His gravestone is under a cedar tree. That is a "Choate" buried next to him. I was unable to determine their relation. His gravestone was hard to read.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/43978337/william-j-choate

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Pvt. R.A. McKenzie, Co. D, 6th Battalion Texas Cavalry. 6 pages in fold3 and they are scattered timewise. He enlisted on May 14, 1862 for 12 months. He was "Present" on the Sept. '62 - Feb. '63 Company Muster Rolls. On the May/June 1863 CMR he is "Absent. Detached with wagon train at Alexandria." He is "Present" in the Jan/Feb 1864 CMR and his muster records end there. From NPS:

"6th Cavalry Battalion was formed late in 1862 with about 400 officers and men. It was attached to the Trans-Mississippi Department and served in Texas and Louisiana until December, 1864. At that time the unit disbanded."

He is in the 1870 Census as a "Planter" in Limestone County with his wife and 2 kids. He died in 1891. His parents and 5 siblings are buried there. There are 20 "McKenzie"s buried in McKenzie Cemetery. There are "McKenzie"s buried in other cemeteries scattered all around there. Oddly enough, he belongs to the family that the cemetery is named after but his gravestone is the one that needed cleaning the most. It sits out in the open and it was covered with organic material and mildew. Below is how I found it.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36618898/ransom-alexander-mckenzie

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I was able to scrape quite a bit of organic material off Pvt. McKenzie's gravestone and scrub quite a bit off with a brush and water. I hosed it thoroughly with D2/water after this picture and before I left.

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A Headstone Application for Pvt. McKenzie was submitted by "W.A. McKenzie" in 1931. I was unable to verify their relation. The notes at the bottom don't match some of the fold3 muster records. There is some confusion in the records. There is an "R.A. McKinzie" and "R. McKenzie" in the same Company and Battalion in fold3. If you look him up in NPS, he's the same soldier with alternate names.

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Pvt. William M. Thomas, Co. E, Waul's Texas Legion, 1st Infantry Battalion. 15 fold3 pages. He enlisted on August 15, 1862 for 3 years. He was "Present" on the August 1862 - February 1863 Company Muster Rolls. He was captured at Vicksburg on 7/4/1863 and paroled on 7/9/1863. His written parole is in his muster records. He's "Absent without leave." on the November and December 1863 Regimental Returns. "Absent without leave since Nov. 1-'63" on the January/February 1864 Company Muster Roll. He next appears on a "List of prisoners confined in the Provost Marshal's Guard House, Galveston, Texas, dated June 28, 1864. Confined since June 4, 1864 for Desertion. Charges preferred." his records end there. He's in the 1910 Census in Limestone County as a Minister with his wife. William M. Thomas is a common name and I couldn't find anything else definitive for him in Ancestry. His wife was a "McKenzie" and it appears they had no children. His wife died in 1916. He died in 1921. Both are buried there. I couldn't find a Headstone Application for his Confederate flatstone or a Pension Application. There are 13 "Thomas"s buried there.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/44064586/william-mansfield-thomas


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I scraped, scrubbed and sprayed Pvt. Thomas' Confederate flatstone and sprayed his civilian gravestone which was right behind it. the flatstone cleaned up real good.


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A few more pics I took before I left McKenzie Cemetery. The 3rd one is the last one I took and the fog had pretty much lifted but it was still overcast. The times on my pics show that I was there an hour and 10 minutes and it was a really rewarding visit for me. Plenty of time for me to do my thing and leave it better than I found it. I've said it many times but I love to visit cemeteries like that and it was perfect for a relatively quick stop on the way to visit my son and grandson in Waco.

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bdtex

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You do well cleaning. I cleaned using Windex with vinegar; (my civil war ancestor's grave)
Thank you sir. I am aware that the primary cleaning agent in D/2 and Wet & Forget is a proprietary ammonium compound.
 
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