Jonah Cemetery - Jonah Cemetery was established in 1902 when community leaders J. M. Barrington, W. S. McMakins, C. Brady, A. J. McDonald, and R. H. Northcutt purchased two acres near the San Gabriel River to be used as a cemetery. Burials were free to area residents. The earliest marked grave is that of George N. Northcutt. Other graves of interest are those of Confederate veterans Isiah S. Hicks and M. G. Walton. Twin sisters Sarah E. (Yoes) Robbins and Margaret (Yoes) Barrington are interred here near many of their 22 children. One of the last physical remnants of a once-thriving rural community, the Jonah Cemetery continues to serve the area. (1998)
Interment list by
Jonah Cemetery Burial Chronology
JONAH CEMETERY Historical Narrative researched and written By: Hazel and James Hood
In the late 1850s, James P. Womack and Joseph T. Mileham built a mill for wheat and corn about seven miles east of Georgetown at what was then known as Water Valley. By 1884, the small farming community which had developed around the mill also boasted a cotton gin, school, churches, and a post office designating Jonah as the new name of the community.
In 1902, for the sum of $125.00, five leaders of the community donated $25.00 each to purchase two acres of land out of the Silas Palmer Survey near the lush area of the San Gabriel River to be used as a community cemetery. These five men, J. M. Barrington, W. S. McMakins, C. Brady, A. J. McDonald, and R. H. Northcutt, became the first Trustees. It was their decision that a free burial plot would be made available to any area resident.
In 1981, under the Trusteeship of Riley J. Robbins, Claudie Gattis, and Eugene Leggett, the cemetery was enlarged by a 0.13-acre tract purchased from Ross Cole for $10.00.
Today, ninety-five years later, the cemetery is still active, though the town of Jonah is almost a ghost town with only a few houses remaining. Present Trustees are Neil Boydston, Joan Boydston, and James Hood. The same community spirit survives around the old Jonah townsite. At an annual reunion each June at the old schoolhouse, the "hat" is passed for donations toward the upkeep of the cemetery. With these contributions, the grounds are cleaned and mowed, edges and gravesites are filled and smoothed when necessary.
Today the cemetery contains one hundred and four marked graves.
Some unmarked gravesites, located by using a "witcher," have been marked by the cemetery committee with carved slabs which read "UNKNOWN." Perhaps the families could not afford a tombstone, but more likely vandalism, the ravages of time, or both, are responsible for the lack of a marker. Prior to March 1974, no record of burials was kept. At that time, Thomas McDonald conducted the first survey and drew a plat. Since 1974 Neil and Joan Boydston have recorded all burials. Several of the older stones are no longer legible. But for McDonald's survey, many more names would have been lost forever.
The earliest known burial is that of George N. Northcutt (7 Jan 1834 - 13 Jul 1902), a relative of R. H. Northcutt who had contributed money to purchase the land for the cemetery.
The stone is new, apparently replacing an earlier one. Members of the Northcutt family still reside in the area.
The second interment, five months later, was Percy Caroline Woodard Barrington (8 Jun 1845 - 9 Dec 1902), wife of W. W. Barrington, whose nephew J. M. Barrington had donated money to purchase land for the cemetery in 1902. Most of her family now lives in Colorado.
Confederate Veteran M. G. Walton (1845-1930) gave four years to the Lost Cause, serving in Mayberry's Company, Cheatham's Division, Stalls Brigade of the 33rd Tennessee Regiment.
Defeated but not without honor, he pursued peace for the rest of his life. A prisoner when the War Between the States ended, Walton did not wait to find his unit and muster out but headed straight for home on foot. His great-granddaughter, Effie Woolbright, who furnished this information, is currently attempting to obtain a posthumous Honorable Discharge for him. Walton came to Texas in 1880 and arrived at Jonah in 1900.
Isiah S. Hicks (1832-1913), another Confederate Veteran who is also a great grandfather of Effie Woolbright, served in Co. A 4th Regiment, Alabama Cavalry. His descendants still reside in Williamson County.
One of the original purchasers of the cemetery, J. M. Barrington (1851-1923), was born in Minden, Louisiana. He came to Water Valley around 1875, where he married Margaret Josephine Yoes (1860-1950) on September 14, 1876. Margaret's twin sister, Sarah Elizabeth Yoes (1860-1956), married J. H. Robins (1854-1925). Having arrived from Arkansas at an early age with their parents, the twins never lived more than a few miles apart for most of a century. They are buried in close proximity, along with many of their combined 22 children!
Gano Satterfield (1895-1956) and his wife, Nettie Barrington Satterfield (1895-1989), farmed the land across the road from the cemetery most of their lives. When their son, Barney Satterfield, died on 12 October 1983, his body was donated to science at the University of California, Oakland, and a cenotaph was placed at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio. In his memory, his wife, Lee Satterfield, had a chain-link fence built around the Jonah Cemetery, and a sign placed over the gate which reads "JONAH CEMETERY, EST. 1902."
Two of the most recent burials are those of the co-author's parents, Annie Barrington Hood (23 Dec 1900 - 19 Sep 1991) and Homer Hood (27 Oct 1899 - 11 May 1980), a distant relative of General John Bell Hood.
In 1920, Homer helped build an iron trestle bridge over the San Gabriel River on present CR 366. He lived in a tent nearby with his young son and wife, Annie, who cooked for the crew. Homer later built a garage on the Mileham Branch in the middle of Jonah, where he repaired automobiles for many years. After the birth of their fifth child, Homer moved his family to Georgetown to enable the children to continue their education. Too young to join the service in World War I and too old for World War II, Homer found a way to serve his country. In 1943 he moved his family to San Antonio, where he worked for the Air Force as a mechanic. He was buried in San Antonio but was reinterred in the Jonah cemetery in 1991. His wife, Annie, was buried beside him two months later.
Researched and Written By: Hazel and James Hood