Elm Creek history includes peace and war

North Elm Cemetery, named for North Elm Creek, is in the northeast part of Milam County, just off FM 485. There are a few scattered homes left in the area that once was home to North Elm Baptist Church and, Common School District No. 56 and the cemetery.

Benjamin R hodes, born in Edgefield District, South Carolina in February, 1796, and John George Lagrone immigrated by way of Alabama and Tennessee.

Twelve families, the Rhodes, Pools, Cones, Lagrones, Lavenders, Dobbins, Russells and Mowdys, made the journey to Texas from Perry County Alabama by wagon.

The location name was taken from branches of Elm Creek. The name dates back to 1835.

The creek is known as a symbol of peace and war. On Jan. 7, 1837, Captain George Erath led a small force of Texas Rangers into battle against raiding Indians. The elm trees described as “friendly trees” when the Rangers sought shelter during the raid.

Texas Ranger Pvt. Ellzey Perkins, a resident of the community, is buried in the cemetery. He died in November 1928 in the line of duty. He and another Ranger were ambushed in the Big Bend area.

His brother, Jim also a Texas Ranger, found his body and brought him home to Elm Creek for burial.

The first school in the community was under a brush arbor and was taught by Joe Eplen. A three-room school was built and three teachers were hired for each term. Eighty-two students were enrolled, grades 1-10. Across the road from the church and school was the North Elm Cemetery. The first burial was J. G. Lagrone in June 1870.

In 1883, B. I. Arnold deeded six acres of land to the cemetery and in 1886 W. J. Valentine deeded seven acres. In 1912, J. C. Mayfield deeded .7-acre to bring the cemetery up to 13.7 acres.

Over the years, the cemetery suffered neglect until a group organized the North Elm Cemetery Association and located the original deed which was in the name of the church at the time of Jim Lagrone’s death.

The new deed was signed April 27,1970, for the cemetery’s 100th birthday.

North Elm Cemetery is recognized as a Texas Historic Cemetery.

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2010-05-06 digital edition

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