Cass County

History of Floyd Hill Church & Cemetery

This information was copied from The Cass County Genealogical Society, 1979, Vol. VI, No. 1, pg. 7-11.

By: Faye Spurger Perdue

I. On the 9th day of October 1854, 140 yards square, or a 4 acres of a grant of land in Cass County, Texas, that had been made to John Stiles, was deeded to the Missionary Baptist Church, by Killis S. Floyd, for the sum of $1.00. Hereafter, this Church was to be known as "Floyds' Hill Church", with all necessary privileges, liberty, benefits, rights and purposes, with perpetual authority, as seen fit by the Church Trustees and Commissioners, John S. Blankenship, William J. Henderson and G.C. McMichael.

This plot of land is situated on or near the Cusseta Linden Road, which was an early immigrant route to Texas. This was a growing community of farmers who immigrated to Texas from Georgia and Alabama, during and after the Civil War.

II. Killis S. Floyd who donated this 4 acres of land is buried in John Robin Heard Cemetery, Rt. 1, Marietta, Texas.

III. On the 10th day of December, 1854, the settlers of this community met at Frifogle house for the purpose of organizing a church. Two ordained ministers met with them, C.G. Stevens and John Massy. After the sermon by Brother Stevens, a call was made to those holding letters and wishing to be organized as a church to come forward and present their letters, 15 came, the letters were read and approved, they were pronounced a church in good order by Brother Stevens and Brother Massey, Presbytors.

For several days after the organization of the church, people of the community met at Frifogle house for preaching service and many other names were added to the church register. W.J. Henderson was Church Clerk.

There were deaths in the community from time to time and the bodies were laid to rest on the plot of ground, now known as Floyds' Hill. Some of the early graves were: Lucenia M.E. Swinford, (1823-1859), Mack W. Wilkins, (1850-1859), and Mary Bryan, (1850-1858).

There were other burials at Floyds' Hill, people who were passing through this part of Texas and were so unfortunate as to have a death among their families, laid the bodies to rest at Floyds' Hill, using large rocks as grave markers, no names are available for these. Over the years, the rock gravestones had been misplaced, with the cleaning of the cemetery and in 1960 the Floyds' Hill Cemetery Association, bought marble slabs 3" x 5" x 12" and put at these graves, these slabs were lowered to the ground for the purpose of mowing the cemetery, as it is sod in creepers grass.

So far as is known, no disaster or epidemic caused any of the deaths, no one knows who the first person was that was buried at Floyds' Hill. The earliest tomb is of Mary Bryan, date of death 1958.

IV. There are several Civil War Veterans buried at Floyds' Hill, R.I. Jones of Nelsons Independent Calvary Company of Georgia, W.J. Townsend, Nat Curtwright, and Ada Culwells husband, she was a member of Floyds' Hill Church, was very ill and worried, because she wanted to live to see her husband again, he finally came home on a Saturday morning, she died that night, but her wish and prayers had been answered.

This cemetery is still in use, there are approximately 200 graves at Floyds' Hill. I will be buried there when that time comes for me.

V. On the south side of Floyds' Hill Cemetery, just over the fence, are graves of slaves who came to Texas with their former masters. Only one tombstone is there of Mollie Titus, the other grave markers were large rocks. This old cemetery is now grown over with trees. These former slaves who came to Texas with their masters, helped to build Floyds' Hill Church and worshipped there with them until Killis S. Floyd gave them a plot of ground for a church, its called Floyd Valley Church.

In 1973, a new fence of 4 ft. heavy galvanized net wire, with one strand of barbed wire at the top was put on creosoted post around Floyds' Hill Cemetery plot.

VI. According to Sylvester Young, an 80 year old colored man, who lives on a portion of the Old Sledge Plantation west of Floyds' Hill and whose land joins the Floyds' Hill Cemetery and grounds, says his grandfather told him the first church at Floyds' Hill was constructed of logs. Sylvester, his father and grandfather were born and reared on the Sledge Plantation. I have no record of this log church or when it was replaced by a larger one room structure modern for its day, 40 ft. x 55 ft., large rocks were used for the foundation, virgin timber was used throughout, donations of labor and money was used in the building of this church. The benches for the pews were fashioned by this volunteer labor as was the pulpit, the inside was very plain and unadorned, oil lamps and lanterns were used for lighting at night, there was no musical instruments until about the year 1907 and an organ was bought.

The building, benches, and pulpit were put together with square names and wooden pegs.

The church faced the East with 2 doors and a window between, 3 windows and a door on the South side near the cemetery gate, 3 windows and a door on the North side and 2 windows on the West, with the pulpit between these, no doubt, so the preacher would have light for reading.

VII. In 1932, a bad storm struck Floyds' Hill Cemetery and Church, Cedar trees in the cemetery were twisted off like a broken match stick and the church was so badly damaged, it was judged unsafe for use. It was dismantled and a smaller structure, 24 x 36 feet was built in its place. Grady Spurger, my brother, acted as carpenter - boss for the rebuilding. It was put on the same rock foundation using the same sills, 2 x 4's, rafters, inside ceiling and the old drop siding on the outside, but they deemed it better to cover the outside over with Johns Mansville siding too as the drop siding had many nail holes. New windows 20 x 24 inches of solid glass were installed as the others were torn up by the storm and a corrugated galvanized roof was used.

The benches and the pulpit from the old church were put in the newer building, keeping as near as possible the primitive internal features. The outside, although smaller, is in the likeness of the old church. A large door on the east front. Three windows and a door on the South side near the cemetery gate, three windows on the North and two on the West with the old pulpit between them. All labor and any material that had to be bought was taken care of with donated labor and finances.

The organ that was in the old church has worn out years ago, we have a piano there now, kept covered with a sheet of plastic, and window shades for the windows, kept stored from time to time of use.

I am sure the founding forefathers of Floyds' Hill, would shout for joy, if it were possible for them to know, that we are to preserve the wonderful heritage they left to us, as a Texas Historical Landmark.

Once each year on the 2nd Sunday of September, we meet for "Homecoming Day", decorate the graves, have preaching service, afterward a bountiful lunch under the oak trees on the grounds. After the lunch and social hour, the president of Floyds' Hill Church - Cemetery Association, Alden Thompson, calls the crowd to order, for the purpose of attending to all business concerning the maintenance of the church, cemetery and grounds. Personal contributions are made for this purpose and an account is kept in the First National Bank of Linden, Texas. Personal contributions are also made to the Perpetual Maintenance Fund we have in the Federal Savings and Loan Association of Atlanta, Texas.

We are so happy to commerate this church - cemetery as a Texas Historical Landmark, for its background of the struggles, triumphs and failures, which speak so eloquently of our forefathers, a heritage of which we can be justly proud. We revere the significance of this unusual landmark in our county and state for the younger generation to observe and try to comprehend the struggles our forefathers had in settling and living in this, then a Texas Wilderness.

Charter Members of Floyds' Hill Church - Taken from the Homecoming & Dedication Program, 10 September, 1978:

William J. Henderson and Jane Henderson, John S. Blankenship, John L. Blankenship, Sarah Burks, Richard Trimble and Sarah Trimble, A.J. Morris and Frances Morris, Wiley Shadix, A.M. Fletcher and Margaret Fletcher, John Fletcher and Martha J. Fletcher, and Green B. Hanes.

My Source of Information:

Cass County Deed Records, Vol. I, Pages 476-477

Copy of Floyds' Hill Church Records, Pages 4-5

Copy of Organization of Governing Body.

Copy of Cemetery - Church By - Laws.

Minutes of September Meeting, 1960.

Personal tour John Robin Heard Cemetery by Faye Perdue.

Personal tour Floyds' Hill Cemetery and memories from my childhood.

Personal interview with Andy Viard, October 10, 19_6.

Personal interview with Sylvester Young, October 5, 1976.

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