Byrd Owen-Payne Cemetery

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Two large, previously fallen Payne family tombstones were righted, another stone was leveled, and a loose footstone re-set in late June, 2009, at the cemetery. (L-R) Landowner Gene Herry helps HCHC worker Richard Gomez with the job.

Restoration of this cemetery by San Marcos-area Boy Scouts was first reported in the 1994-revised Hays County Cemetery Inscriptions book, researched and written by Dorothy Kerbow and Joe Ann Elam Hearn. A late Summer 2007 Hays County Historical Commission visit found that the site, while fenced to keep the landowner’s cattle out, had again become overgrown. Landowner Eugene Herry offered to apply herbicide and did so, to good effect.

The HCHC arranged for a Saturday morning visit on May 3, 2008, and followed up with a work day that accomplished the complete clearing of all underbrush, overgrowth, and fallen wood in the historic cemetery. It should be noted that several yards outside (north side) of the area fenced by the Boy Scouts in the 1990s, there remain a pair of apparent burial sites, one with four weathered (but obviously hand-sculpted) fence posts, one with only one post and rotting gate materials. These likely burial sites and their wooden materials were not contained by the 1990s-era Boy Scout fence and continue to rot, as well as being exposed to occasional passage of cattle.

In 2008, one (obelisk-shaped) tombstone, while still standing, has lost all traces of its original inscription, one stone is broken in two (pieces intact), and 2-3 are toppled off of their bases. Plans are being made to restore these toppled stones to their bases and to level them.

The severity of more than a decade of un-tended growth--even after a herbicide treatment by the landowner--was obvious in May, 2008, on the HCHC's visit to Byrd Owens-Payne Cemetery.   Hill Country wild vegetation largely covered the Byrd Owen-Payne Cemetery in its old Stringtown site along Hunter Road prior to its May 2008 clean-up by HCHC.   Clearly in need of a cleaning, the Byrd Owen-Payne Cemetery in old Stringtown is seen just before the arrival of May 2008 HCHC maintenance.

An "after" view of Byrd Owen-Payne Cemetery following HCHC maintenance.   Several tombstones at Byrd Owen-Payne Cemetery remain toppled, but are intact, and plans are underway to re-set the stones on their bases.   The long-anticipated righting of the Payne tombstones continues restoration work at Byrd Owen-Payne Cemetery.