Unique, Famous, & Historic Graves in the Lone Star State
(Cemetery Tales Book 1)
Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / History / Texas Travel
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: August 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 250 pages
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Explore the cemeteries of Texas with Tui Snider as she reveals overlooked history in these fascinating open-air museums.
You’ll meet fascinating characters, including a whistleblower who died in suspicious circumstances, an oilman who added a phone line to his mausoleum, and the events that caused two “frenemies” to be chained together in death.
Come along on a playful-but-informative tour of Texas burial grounds. Along the way, you will see photos of and learn stories about forgotten history, tragic tales, unusual characters, unsolved mysteries, and unique monuments.
Explore unique, famous, and historic burials in the Lone Star State. It is the first in a series of books revealing the stories behind the stones that just may inspire you to take a road trip or two!
Last year, I had the fantastic opportunity to read and review Tui Snider’s Paranormal Texas, so I was super excited to get on this tour for her latest release!
Rather than focusing on the paranormal aspect of cemeteries, this book respectfully examines these burial sites as an homage to not only each individual’s own history, but to the historical period as well. Largely concentrated in North and East Texas, there is an eclectic array of stories to be told from all walks of life! As a huge fan of hard rock music, I loved seeing Dimebag Darrell being featured and learning more about a famous guitar he is buried with! And as a resident of Central Texas, it was so wonderful to see the Alamo mentioned, including the cats that have called it their home!
Each entry is arranged alphabetically by city, making it a quick reference if you find yourself in or headed to one of those locations. Additionally, you will find location information and websites for more details. The author has also provided a black and white photograph of each marker she references, which makes this an incredibly valuable piece of work given the lack of travel going on right now! You’ll feel like you’re walking right beside her as you make your way from cemetery to cemetery, learning so much history and paying your respects along the way.
As always the author is a masterful and entertaining storyteller! Her depth of research will fascinate and inspire! Just as the synopsis states that you may find yourself motivated to take your own adventure into hidden history, I had to check out a famous grave site for the most infamous individual in my city’s history, the outlaw Sam Bass, buried in the Round Rock Cemetery!
Sam Bass was a 19th-century American Old West train robber, who notoriously with his gang, robbed a train of $60,000. Arriving in Round Rock with the intention of robbing a bank, he ultimately died as a result of wounds sustained in a gun battle with Texas Rangers. You can find out more from the city’s website by clicking HERE. The original headstone is currently housed in the Round Rock Public Library, as it was chipped away by time and memorabilia seekers.
The cemetery itself is located along the road that bears his name. Additionally, each year, the city hosts a Frontier Days during the July Fourth celebration, which includes a shootout reenactment. On the other side of the cemetery is the grave site of Williamson County Deputy Sheriff A.W. Grimes, who was killed as he attempted to disarm the gang members. A street in Round Rock also bears his name as well.
Next to Sam Bass’s grave is a half-acre area, enclosed by cedar posts and barbed wire that was set aside for slave burials. Sites are marked at the head and foot with large limestone rocks that are hand-grooved with names and dates. The first marked grave of a freed slave is dated 1880. Although there are 40 to 50 known burial sites of freedmen and the burial ground is still in use, no interments of former slaves occurred after the turn of the century.
Overall, this is a book that will captivate, as I could not pull myself away, completing it in a sitting! If you couldn’t tell, I can’t wait for the next installment! For now, I’m looking for some time to visit the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, which provides a final resting place for notable Texans such as Chris Kyle, Stephen F. Austin, and former Governors among many others. You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate how interesting and engaging this book truly is. A unique and apropos for the season read that is highly recommended!
Many thanks to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for providing me with a free copy of the book. This is my honest and thoughtful opinion.
Tui Snider is an author, speaker, photographer, YouTuber, podcast host, and musician who researches historic cemeteries and symbolism, offbeat Texas travel, overlooked history, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction–but then I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Understanding Cemetery Symbols, 100 Things to Do in Dallas-Fort Worth Before You Die, Paranormal Texas, and many more. Snider has several books in progress and enjoys connecting with readers all over the globe through social media, her weekly newsletter, and website: TuiSnider.com.
GRAND PRIZE (US only):
Paperback + $10 Amazon Gift Card+ Thank You Postcard
2ND PRIZE (US only): Paperback & Thank You Postcard
3RD PRIZE (worldwide): e-book
September 29-October 9, 2020
Many thanks again to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!
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