Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cenotaph Dedicated for Richardson Perry

On Wednesday, March 27, 2013, members of the William Joel Bryan Chapter No. 14 of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and a number of interested community members dedicated a cenotaph to the memory of Richardson Perry (1817-1836) at the historic Steep Hollow Cemetery located a few miles east of Bryan.

Blair Fannin, the Chapter Publicist, welcomed those in attendance and served as master of ceremonies for the dedicatory ceremony.  George Nelson, Chapter President, provided an invocation and John Hick, Chapter Vice President, lead those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Texas Flag.  That was followed by the singing of “Texas, Our Texas.”  Mervin Peters, the Chapter Secretary, provided remarks on the historical significance of Richardson Perry to Brazos County and to the Republic of Texas.  Following these brief remarks, the Cenotaph was unveiled and the ceremony concluded with a benediction.

The Steep Hollow Cemetery is located on land that was originally part of the Richardson Perry League.  Perry, born in Hancock County, Mississippi, in 1817, came to Texas with his father, Burwell Perry, an early settler.  The younger Perry was single and received a land grant in Brazos County on October 10, 1835.

Perry took part in the siege of Bexar and later served in the Alamo garrison as a private in Captain William R. Carey’s artillery company.  He died in the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

The Steep Hollow Cemetery has been designated a Historic Texas Cemetery by the Texas Historical Commission.  According to the historic marker provided by the State of Texas:

This burial ground was part of the Steep Hollow community, named for the valley of the Steep Hollow Branch, a tributary of Wickson Creek.  Residents were ranchers and farmers, and the community had a general store, cotton gin, gristmill, and schoolhouse.  Saint’s Rest Baptist Church (later Steep Hollow Baptist Church), organized in 1873, was associated with the cemetery, which first served as a private family burial ground.  In 1874, Charles and Evaline Peters conveyed property for the cemetery and surrounding land to the church.

The earliest interments were those of James Peters, (died 1870) son of Charles and Evaline, and Robert Martin (died 1871), son of Sarah Ann (Cheshire) and Rev. Samuel Crawford Martin (died 1902), the first pastor of Saint’s Rest Baptist Church.  The Martins are also buried here with four other ministers of the church.  Other burials include teachers, businessmen, farmers, ranchers, and veterans of military conflicts dating to the Civil War.  The cemetery is located in a naturalistic setting and features curbing, interior fencing, vertical stones, obelisks, and Woodmen of the World grave markers.

In its early years, family members cared for grounds.  By 1926, the Steep Hollow Cemetery Association (SHCA) had formed to maintain the cemetery.  In 1966, the church officially transferred ownership of the burial ground to the cemetery association.  Today, Steep Hollow Cemetery continues to serve the area and persists as a reminder of the pioneering men and women whose hard work and sacrifice contributed to the establishment of the Steep Hollow community.

Found in the accompanying Smilebox are photographs of the ceremony and parts of the cemetery.

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Additional information about Richardson Perry and the Steep Hollow Cemetery may be accessed at the following links: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpe77;

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