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Hill Country Roads Less Traveled

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Hill Country Roads Less Traveled

By Renee Walker
     Photos by Renee Walker

Put yourself in the shoes of a local – travel down the back roads few know about. Keep your eyes peeled for any sight of long-lost treasure. You can’t ever tell what you might discover.

Hill Country Roads Less Traveled

You might even stumble upon an overgrown grave, with a tombstone dating back to the 1800s, right off the road. Sometimes you don’t have to look too far to find hidden bits of history.

Hill Country Roads Less Traveled

Dusty back roads reveal life in the Texas Hill Country. From the 1800s German-founded ranches still owned by the same families, to hunting properties, to weekend getaways for city folk – you’ll see a bit of every part of Hill Country roots. Agriculture thrives in the form of livestock of all kinds and fields of coastal Bermuda and other improved grasses, either growing or in round bales, depending on the time of year.

Hill Country Roads Less Traveled

And inevitably, a cemetery will appear, public or private. They range in size from a grave or two to a few acres. And chances are the tombstones will date back to the 1800s or, as in the case of Red Creek Cemetery, way before then. Surprisingly, this small, rural cemetery contains soldiers from nearly every war since the American Revolution. And, like so many of the Hill Country graveyards, infants and young children rest in peace there as well. Influenza and other plagues greedily took the young ones, especially in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and even wiped out entire families. Those who were loved. Those who gave their lives in battle. Those grandly memorialized with marble and statue. Those born in the Old Country. Those who lived long and bore many children. Those married for decades until death they did part (but buried side by side). And those who barely lived. All this and more discoveries await you as you wander among the final resting places of Hill Country settlers.

Here are some other cemeteries to visit for a lesson in Hill Country history:

Gray Cemetery (San Saba County)
Chew Cemetery (Llano County)
Oxford Cemetery (Llano County)
Art Cemetery / East and West (Mason County)
Cavness Cemetery (Mason County)
Pioneer Rest Cemetery (Menard County)
Red Creek Cemetery (Kimble County)

Hill Country Roads Less Traveled

Roads marked RR or FM indicate you’re in the country, alright. Ranch Roads and Farm-to-Markets lead you into the undiscovered, unspoiled Hill Country world. Wildflowers flood rolling pastures in the springtime. Roads cross rivers over cement slabs at water level. Open range ranching is alive and well, and can surprise you around the bend with cattle standing in the road.

There’s just no telling what you’ll see. Especially if you take the time and go slow. Maybe a tortoise in the road (means it’s going to rain) or a doe and her fawn browsing in a field or granite bluffs turning gold in the setting sun with the river meandering below.