Drama students from Texas State University and San Marcos Academy portray more than a dozen men and women at their gravesites…Halloween Fun For A Great Cause!
San Marcos, Texas– They were ranchers, coaches, teachers, musicians and business owners. Many served in the military. All were active in the life of San Marcos and Hays County. All also share a final resting place in the San Marcos Cemetery.
San Marcos Cemetery Tales and Tours celebrates the history of the community by profiling some of its past residents. Drama students from Texas State University and San Marcos Academy portray more than a dozen men and women at their gravesites, sharing biographical information about them through monologues, while wearing period costumes. Thirty-minute tours begin every fifteen minutes from 3 – 5 p.m., on Saturday, October 28 at the San Marcos Cemetery, 1001 Ranch Road 12. The Friends of the San Marcos Cemetery and the Heritage Association of San Marcos jointly sponsor the event.
The oldest gravesite visited during the walk will be that of Elizabeth Jane Jones Graham Jewell. Born in Kentucky, she lived in Tennessee and Mississippi before coming to Hays County in 1847. She eventually owned ranch and farm land around the area, including land that today is part of downtown San Marcos.
Nellie Louise Serur is another honoree. She and her husband, Alexander, owned Serur’s, a clothing store. Her passion was the San Marcos Heritage Association. Many remember her most fondly for her role in furnishing the Charles S. Cock House with authentic period antiques before helping to launch the Friday Cottage Kitchen luncheons at the Cock House that are still a tradition today.
James Taylor, Ph.D., served in Army Air Force in World War II and co-authored a 7-volume study about it. He and several veterans share honors during the cemetery tour. After leaving the military, Dr. Taylor became a faculty member and administrator at Southwest Texas State Teachers College.
Korean War veteran, Daniel B. Rojo, Jr., served in the U.S. Air Force and later taught mathematics in New Braunfels. He grew up in San Marcos. His father, Dr. Daniel B. Rojo, studied medicine in Mexico City and in 1930 became the first Hispanic medical doctor in San Marcos. The stories of both father and son are remembered during the tour.
Other honorees this year include:
- Edwin Stafford Lyon, longtime director of the San Marcos High School Band.
- Virginia Cox Witte, honored by the City of San Marcos and the Heritage Association for her 31 years of teaching at the San Marcos High School.
- Charles Callihan, a track star at San Marcos High School and longtime employee at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
- Wren Giesen, who was a civilian employee of the Air Force during and after WWII, and later worked for the ROTC Department at Southwest Texas State University.
- Ira Bowles, Sr., Ph.D., served on the music faculty at Southwest Texas State University for 30 years. As a musician, he performed across the United States and in South America with major ensembles including the New York Philharmonic.
- Paul Guerrero founded Paul’s Restaurant in San Marcos. The restaurant was well known for its chicken fried steak. He served in the Army during WWII. He was married to his wife Vera for 68 years, and was survived by his wife and many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Tickets cost $10 (adults) or $5 (students). Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance online at www.heritagesanmarcos.org.
Sponsors of the event include Frost Bank, Thomason Funeral Home, Theodore and Thea Dake, Jane Hughson, McCoy’s Building Supply, Pennington Funeral Home, and Wake the Dead Coffee House. Event organizers also thank the Cemetery Commission, City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation, First United Methodist Church and the San Marcos Academy for their support.
Proceeds from Tales and Tours help the Friends of the San Marcos Cemetery to fund improvements to the cemetery. Over a ten-year period, for example, the Friends spent almost $100,000 on tree care and ball moss removal. They spent thousands of dollars more on landscaping, flags and flag poles, construction of a toilet, and for arborist services.
The next major project of The Friends of the San Marcos Cemetery focuses on beautifying the secluded Roberts Section. The site has many unmarked graves of early area residents and indigent travelers. The project involves landscaping the hillside area and researching the lives of people buried there.
Early black settler Peter Roberts bought the parcel in 1868. Several years ago, the use of ground penetrating radar revealed the location of many previously unknown graves on the site. Subsequent research suggests that a diverse group of nameless decedents, including Hispanics, blacks, indigent travelers, and even early Native Americans may lay buried at the site.
The goal of the Roberts Section Renewal is to honor the lives of the nameless deceased who were buried long ago. It will also create another lovely setting for reflection for all who visit and value the cemetery.
The Friends of the San Marcos Cemetery is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, and donations are tax-deductible. More information on the event is available at www.sanmarcoscemetery.org. For general information, call (512) 353-1943.