52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Overlooked
The Connersville Primitive Baptist Church African American Cemetery is located in Round Top, Texas. Situated behind the Richter Cemetery, this burial site was dedicated as a historic Texas cemetery in 2018. The Connersville Cemetery is of particular interest because it was used by slaveowners long before the abolition of slavery. It is the only known cemetery of this kind within a three-mile radius. There are many unmarked graves but of the marked ones, the earliest-dated grave marker is for George Craft, who died in 1934. One headstone reads “In the backwoods we lay,” which is a reference to a common trait for historically African American cemeteries.
Through the hard work of the Fayette County Historical Commission, a historical marker was dedicated on November 15, 2021. The Connersville cemetery was officially designated as a historical landmark.
When I visited the Richter cemetery several years ago to clean Marie and Alice Quade’s (Granny’s mother and sister) graves, I noticed a stark difference between the Richter cemetery and the Connersville cemetery. The Richter cemetery was well-kept and clean. The majority of the graves were clean and well-tended, with bouquets of brightly colored flowers adorning some of the newer graves. However, the Connersville cemetery was littered with plastic bottles and beer cans. The headstones were leaning over, and the inscriptions had long since worn away. Even what appeared to be newer graves, with modern cradles were discolored, shifted, and cracked. If ever a sacred place lay in the backwoods, this was it.
However, despite being largely overlooked by those who never venture past the boundaries of the Richter cemetery, one only has to pause and look beyond the overgrowth to see the love in these handwritten markers. Beneath the weeds are flowers and small gifts lovingly placed by family members who want to remember and honor their ancestors.