By Emily Eddins
As a tight-knit community, it is part of the job of the citizens to take pride in our county and all its unique and historical attributes that it has to offer. These key features from past descendants have had such a significant impact on Tyler County; it is only fair that we treat them with respect and kindness.
Recently, concerned citizens have noticed a lack of appreciation for our area and believe that this issue is overdue for concern. Magnolia Cemetery, which is located in the heart of Woodville, is a resting place for many of Tyler County's loved ones. While the groundskeepers do their best at keeping the property maintained, especially the new and more accessible sections of the cemetery, many citizens are disturbed at recent degrading activities that have been taking place on the grounds, causing an upset in the community.
One of the most remarkable parts of the cemetery is the ancient graves of pioneer families that established the town we know and love today. This section is only accessible by foot and, when found, is a hidden gem in the cemetery that has much historical significance in Tyler County. However, the once heavily visited memorial site has now become unrecognizable due to weathering over recent years. According to nearby residents, many grave markers are covered with weeds, vines and other natural elements. Damage from fallen trees and past storms has left this piece of history in a rough condition. The residents also argue that the area is now unrecognizable and even harder to access.
While the weathering of these historical markers is inevitable, the concerned citizens believe that more preventative measures could be taken to preserve further damage to this historical site. According to Debbie Walker, a Tyler County Historical Commission member "Two weeks ago, on a walk, I discovered the saddest, most distressing thing yet. In a small family plot, surrounded by an old iron fence... I found both angels knocked over, breaking one into pieces. I was horrified that the "head" was gone! I couldn't believe, and still can't, how anybody could desecrate a grave in such a vile way. I reported this evil vandalism to our police department and await their suggested solutions to take place."
THC and other state agencies do not enforce cemetery laws. That responsibility goes to the county and municipal law enforcement agencies. Although the Tyler County Sheriff's office has been unsuccessful in its pursuit of catching those who are damaging the property, local law enforcement officials understand the severity of the situation. They plan to continue monitoring the area to protect it from further vandalism.
Citizens who have brought attention to the cemetery issue are urging that any suspicious activity be reported to local law enforcement. Woodville Police Department can be reached at 409-283-5262 and the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office can be reached by calling 409-283-2172.