Belle Plaine Cemetery

Belle Plaine  (or Belle Plain, depending on which reference one uses) was established in Callahan County in 1876.  It is speculated that it was named after the first child born there, Katie Belle Magee.  The  earliest marked grave in the cemetery is 1878, although there are numerous unmarked graves which indicate it could have been in use earlier.

One of several unmarked gravesites; the size indicates it is the grave of a child.

This grave was enclosed with a dry-stacked rock fence, but also included a large rock slab across the top to create a tomb-like enclosure.  The lid has cracked and partially fallen.

Dry-stacked rocks were the first fence enclosures for graves.  As previously indicated, the purpose was to prevent cattle from trampling the graves.  I find it somewhat disturbing that there are trees growing out of the top of these graves.

When I took this picture, I was intrigued by the shadow of the fence on the face of the tombstone.  Later, examining it, I realized that the tombstone mirrors the fence design:  arched design at the top of the post and the top of the stone, capped by an urn design.

This foundation outside the cemetery is preserved with a fence, although there is no indication as to what stood here.  There are also rock remains of a building near the fence in the background.  A few miles away are ruins of the Belle Plain College, which I remember seeing as a child.  The college was established in 1881 by the Methodist Church, but as the town declined, so did the college.  In 1883, the Texas and Pacific railroad bypassed Belle Plain, the county seat, for Baird and the community had declined by 1909.  The cemetery remains in use today.

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