Banner photograph of St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery, Bath, North Carolina - Taken by Judith Richards Shubert October 2008

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
- Thornton Wilder

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ghosts in School Hill Cemetery?

I love ghost stories!

I spent one afternoon before Christmas in the North Richland Hills Library looking for books on Texas Cemeteries, burial customs and traditions. During my search through the digital repository I noticed a title that intrigued me, “Ghosts in the Graveyard, Texas Cemetery Tales.” I decided to check it out with my other selections of cemetery research guides and books on Texas graveyards.

Olyve Hallmark Abbott has written a delightful book filled with ghosts from at least twenty graveyards in North Texas and many more from other sections of our state.

You may have read some of my accounts of my childhood memories in and around the community of Lingleville in Erath County and the cemeteries there. I was so excited to find listed in Ms. Abbott’s section on North Texas graveyards one that is only ten miles northwest of my home in Lingleville.

Her story, “Skip-a-Rope” is an account of apparitions and laughter – the sound of children that are said to have been students in the old school that once stood there. The story is told that the graveyard overlapped the old foundation of the school. Some of the Lingleville residents who went to school there were also buried in this small graveyard called School Hill Cemetery or Upper School Hill Cemetery.

“According to Dave Julian of ‘The Shadowlands’, the theory is that former school sites may have a buildup of psychic energies of emotional events having previously transpired there. This is an open invitation to spirits.”

I decided to go with my sister and sister-in-law to find this little graveyard and take pictures and record any information on tombstones found there. Being stubborn females, we refused to allow my brother to call his friend, Mike, for directions. So we bundled up since it was a bitterly cold day and drove to the area where we remembered School Hill to be located.

There are two School Hill Cemeteries – the Upper School Hill Cemetery and the Lower School Hill Cemetery. The ghosts that Ms. Abbott writes about are found in Upper School Hill. It is a small, unfenced cemetery and has twenty-three marked graves. In “Cemetery Inscriptions, Erath County,” Weldon Hudson in 1970 indexed seventeen marked graves and six graves marked with fieldstones without names or dates. “The earliest tombstone is dated 1884 and it appears the cemetery has not had any burials since approximately 1918.”

Since we refused to ask for directions to the Upper School Hill Cemetery, we only got pictures of the better known (to us, at least) Lower School Hill Church and Cemetery. Newspaper reports from the area records Lower School Hill Church was organized in 1929 and closed its door in the late 1950s.

The day we visited, there was no one around even though the cemetery was obviously well cared for. The abandoned church building was open to the elements with some heavy screens on the windows but open doors.

The building held old church pews that were scattered around and pieces of the ceiling were falling down.

My photo taken in 2008

In 2002 when Charlie Turnbo visited Lower School Hill he found and wrote about a podium sitting on top of some pews. He also posted a picture of that scene at I took a picture of that same pew in 2008 and the pictures look almost identical.

There is a beautiful mural on the wall behind the pulpit where the podium once sat and it also looks virtually the same in the 2002 and 2008 photos. It was painted by Annie Lynn Leatherwood, 1952.

“When indexed in 1970 by Weldon Hudson, there were five marked graves dating back to 1905. There have been more recent burials here not included on Hudson’s index.” My sister recognized some of the names on the gravestones and I have included them here along with my transcriptions and photos of the Church.

Maybe another day I’ll ask my brother’s friend, Mike, for those directions to Upper School Hill where I might be one of the “fortunate” ones to hear the children singing and playing “Skip-a-Rope.”

Lower School Hill Cemetery is on private property.

There is not a curved lichgate but the double gate was unlocked.

You can reach it by turning northeast off Highway 8 onto 397

west of Lingleville going toward Desdemona.

The artist's signature and date can be found in the lower right hand corner.


Apr. 17, 1828

Oct. 18, 1908

There is a closed Bible on top of marker and has the Gates of Heaven symbol inscribed on front.

In the background is a very large cedar tree that is common to this part of Texas.

I could not make out all of the inscription on this stone

but it has the same last name as the taller one just above.

At RootsWeb George and Elayne Gibbons have transcribed the above stone as reading:

Glenn, Mertie infant dau of J. W. & M. A. 3 May 1905

Some of the family names found here are Moon, Elston, Glenn, Sims, and Armstrong.

You can see more of my photographs of Lower School Hill Cemetery here on my Photostream at Flickr.


“Ghosts in the Graveyard, Texas Cemetery Tales,” 2002, Olyve Hallmark Abbott, Accessed 2008, North Richland Hills Public Library., “The Churches of School Hill,” 2002, Charlie Turnbo, Salado, Texas

Pictures taken by Judith Richards Shubert, copyright 2008

Lower School Hill Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath County, Texas


  1. Judy, What an interesting adventure and interesting building and cemetery. I hope one day soon you stop and ask for directions and find the other School Hill Cemetery too!

  2. Oh, I will. My interest is peaked now. Glad you enjoyed my story.


  3. Hi Judith,

    Because I like your blog:

    I nominated you for the Proximidate Award!

    Please go to

    for more information!

  4. Oh I like this one. I must put it on my someday list. Great pictures you took too.

  5. Thanks, Diane! Come on by and we'll go together.


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