COVER: Monroe Higgs, shown in this un-dated photograph standing outside his downtown San Marcos grocery store, is among 15 people who will be profiled during walking tours of the San Marcos Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 18. SUBMITTED PHOTO
by SHELLEY HENRY
They walked San Marcos’ streets as optometrists, university presidents, grocers, teachers, physicians, real estate developers and insurance agents.
They were generations of husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, local celebrities, military heroes, chicken sexors, community volunteers, historians and Coca-Cola bottlers. They include veterans of every U.S. war except the American Revolution.
Each October, the stories of people interred at the San Marcos Cemetery are retold to new audiences during guided pedestrian tours that highlight a revolving cast of noteworthy local forebearers. Organized by the San Marcos Heritage Association and the Friends of the San Marcos Cemetery, “City Cemetery Tales and Tours” will be held 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18.
Points of interest this year include the grave sites of Sam and Toyo “T” Hada; Howard Tidwell; Frances and Jack Stovall; Jerry L. Moore; Alvin and Bernice Musgrave; J. Garland Flowers; Pete Owens; Herschel Walling; Monroe and Esther Higgs; Willie Higgs; Fred Feltner; Marcus Jackson and Corrie Handler Smith.
Tours will depart at regular intervals from a staging area near the cemetery’s main entrance, 1001 Old Ranch Road 12.
Beginning in 1846, early settlers buried their dead on a tract of land currently occupied by the Calvary Chapel of the Springs fellowship at 310 W. Hutchison St. In less than three decades, however, the property was nearing capacity and civic leaders began looking for more spacious posthumous quarters for the city’s departed.
In 1876, a group of businessmen and politicians organized as the San Marcos Cemetery Association bought ten rollings acres of farmland from Shadrach and Judy Covington Dixon, paying “$300 in silver coin.” Later that year, the cemetery was put in use with the burial of a Maj. C. Rogers, according to a three-page history of the property kept by the Hays County Historical Commission.
Some local families exhumed their late relatives from the Hutchison Street cemetery and carted them uphill, tombstone and all, to be reburied in the new cemetery. Consequently, at least four grave markers pre-date the graveyard itself.
Sold to the municipal government in 1924, the cemetery has been expanded to more than 45 acres in its 138-year existence.
SHELLEY HENRY is board president of the Heritage Association of San Marcos.