Texans are known for their love of high school football. It’s bigger than the NFL down here y’all! I mean, after all, there was a movie made about it!
While we were camping at Guadalupe Mountain National Park, we decided to head down to Van Horn to explore and escape the heat. Most of you that have been around my blog a while, know that we love geocaching, and geocaching led us to Van Horn Cemetary.
We also love checking out old cemeteries and Van Horn Cemetery has a lot to tell. It wasn’t the old graves that caught my attention, but the high school football field directly in front of it.
Almost, like the field was put there so even the dead could continue to watch high school football! It made me chuckle, which made my husband give me a perplexed look and ask what that was about. I replied, “In Texas, we love high school football so much, that we build the fields next to cemeteries so even our dead can continue to watch the games.”
Obviously, who knows why the city decided to build the football field there. But, it just goes to show you how serious Texans are about their football!
Visiting Van Horn
Van Horn holds a lot of history. It began with the discovery of wells near what is now the Ghost town of Lobo by Jefferson Van Horne (an Army Major) in 1849 as he traveled on his way to Fort Bliss where he was set to take command. Originally the town was called Van Horn Wells and was a stage stop on the San Diego – San Antonio Mail Route.
In 1861 Confederates captured the wells and the Union officer in charge during the Civil War. Oddly enough the Union Officer in charge at the time was LT. James Judson Van Horn and held no relation to Major Van Horne. The city of Van Horn is named after that Union Officer.
In 1881 the city of Van Horn established itself around the new construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway. This was also the year that the town cemetery was established. In 1886 a post office was established as well as the town’s first store. In 1945 the town finally became incorporated.
Van Horn Cemetery
The Van Horn Cemetery was established in 1881. The first occupant of the cemetery was a 20-day old infant simply named “Baby Beach” who died on September 15, 1888.
The town’s early motto was “This Town is So Healthy We had to Shoot a Man to Start a Cemetery” which was suggested by a rancher named Augustus Sanders Goynes. The motto hung in the lobby of the now-historic Clark Hotel for years.
Ironically, shortly after the motto caught on, Goynes became the first adult buried at the cemetery on June 30, 1892. More ironically, he was shot dead by his brother-in-law in a feud over a watering hole.
The cemetery is located at Bell & West 6th Street right next to Eagle Field (and you thought I was joking about my opening story).
Have you visited Van Horn? What tips do you have?