Photographs and photography books


When the town of Bastrop, Texas was incorporated and platted on December 18, 1837, its survey included a twelve-acre burial site, as required by Stephen F. Austin’s original land grant contract with the Mexican government; the designated graveyard was situated on a hillside overlooking the colony, unprotected from wild animals, the forces of nature, or hostile indigenous people. Bill Duty and Bob Pace dug the first grave for a child, Sarah Wells (born 1822), who died of Yellow Fever and was buried on February 12, 1831; the mound of stones, or perhaps a primitive wooden cross, that originally marked her grave soon disappeared and the location of her remains today is unknown. 
From the Introduction, SILENT CITY OF THE DEAD 

In the nineteenth century, Bastrop’s main burial ground was often referred to as the “Silent City of the Dead,” but officially named “Fairview Cemetery,” in 1884, three years after the formation of the Bastrop Ladies Cemetery Association; this organization was granted by the mayor and city council control over the unmaintained and wild graveyard “without a fence to keep stock from trampling over the graves.” The voluntary association became the keeper of the cemetery for one hundred and sixteen years before management of Fairview reverted back to the local city government.

Between 1881 and 1908, Bastrop newspaper editorials, Cemetery Association notices, and letters to the editor describe the ongoing struggle not to “give up our cemetery to the thistles and weeds.” During this same period, obituaries, loving tributes and remembrances, often with prayers and poems, celebrated some of the earliest and most respected founding citizens of the town; and there were also news reports of more disturbing deaths involving suicide, murder, hanging, accident and disease, told in plainer language about villains and innocents, the scorned and abandoned.

This book is illustrated with black & white photographs taken in Fairview Cemetery between 1994 and 2000, miniature paintings and embellishments from a fifteenth century French handwritten illuminated manuscript,and botanical watercolors published in Paris during the early nineteenth century.

May be viewed at the BLURB website with link below: