Still at the Gate….and Hill Top Cemetery

Chris came the other morning and finally brought our License.   We are now Level 2 Private Security Agents registered and certified by the state of Texas…..Rather impressive I think….lol…We can now get jobs at any Company in Texas that is looking for Security.  It is really quite a business down here.  The fingerprinting stations rotate in different towns through out the state.  Their were at least 6 different towns just in our section of the state open when we were fingerprinted.  They move around every week within that section, so no one has to drive very far.


We are still at our Gate 15.  They don’t have much left to do, but they are spending most of their time at other gates, trying to get them closed.  Out of 25 gates, only 3 are still open.  We thought we would be done last weekend, then we were told this Friday.  Now today we were told they might not be finished till next Wed.  Hopefully we will be done by Sunday.  Their not closing the gate this weekend, working through to get it done.  They still have concrete work to do at the valve area and build a fence around the valves.    So the days stretch on.  Last Friday we had a bad rain storm and left early.  When it rains in Texas on the back roads its not good.  They had to grade the gravel road because of all the ruts.  The weather has turned hot again, It was over 100 degrees, the last several days.  So glad this is almost over.


I went to visit Hill Top Cemetery the other day.  It was formed in the late 1800’s after Boot Hill Cemetery was closed.  When Choke Canyon Reservoir was formed in the 1980’s, the remains of another Cemetery was relocated in the Hill Top Cemetery.  I didn’t find as much history on it as I thought, but did find some interesting stones.  You might think it rather strange that I seem to enjoy Cemetery’s, but many people do.  Many stones tell a story of a person.  How many children, what type of job in life, how old they were and sometimes how much they were loved by their family.


Here is one that I thought was special, as the wife had written this beautiful passage about her husband, for all to read.  They must have shared an amazing Love.


Some were very sad.  This plot was a father on the left Abel and his 2 little children, Mark 4 and Alicia 8 on the right.  All three died on Oct 9 1994.  One would assume it must have been an accident.  The wife is still alive.  They planted palm trees and bushes on either side.  On the far left is another stone.  I believe it was Abel’s mother.


This is the back of her stone.   It is a family tree of her children and Abel’s name is on it also. This was a very beautiful setting, but so sad when you try to imagine their story.

I also found some simple stones, some cross’s.  Homemade. The one on the left is simply wood.  The one on the right was made with concrete with colored stones pressed in to decorate it.  He passed in 1948.


Many of the plots are surrounded by rusted iron fences.  It must have been the thing back then to surround the family with fence to keep intruders out.


This must have been an infant.  Behind this plot across the road was another family plot.


It was surrounded entirely by a crumbling stone wall.  Ironically, their was no gate or way to easily enter.  The stone on the left was Mary, she died when she was 29 in 1889.

As I walked around you can see the grass was dead and brown.  The heat has been 90-100.  I seen many places that there are water spigots located through out the cemetery.


Some were actually being used.  The family must spend lots of time coming out to take care of their family plots.


I seen only 2 mausoleums.  This one was really old and crumbling.   The headstone  was on the top and at the other end must have been a ventilation pipe.


Here Lies Our

 Beloved brother

Tommy Sotello

There was a lot of love and thought put into this one.  I has a concrete base with wooden sides.  Alphabet beads were used to write his name and a plate of glass was sealed over it.


Another one similar to the last.  It is formed with concrete.


This lady was also very loved by her family.  Her photo was their along with a coffee cup, and a ceramic grocery store.  Flowers, a solar light, metal rose and an arbor completed the plot.


Here is a row of  identical cross’s.  Their wrapped in Christmas tinsel that has faded and grown old with time.  It makes you wonder how long its been since the last family visitors’.


This one was really constructed with LOVE…..concrete blocks and wood posts….created a garden fence with flowers inserted.  The flowers were all silk and also very pretty.  They hadn’t been faded or wind beaten yet.


This plot was all by itself under a tree.  It contained one headstone and had a single faded silk flower attached to the gate.   ……Simple Beauty……It is a really beautiful Cemetery sitting on a hill top.


This is the view looking out over the country side.  So tomorrow is another day.  My turn at the gate.  The temperature is coming down a bit.

“I think only 94…lol…”

A Quick Trip to Harlingen & “Boot Hill Cemetery”….

Last Friday was Richs’ day to go to the gate.   They closed the gate at 3 pm. for the weekend for the hunters.  We think they were trying to pacify the landowner because they were running past the Oct. 1st deadline.  We don’t have to go back till Mon.  Sat. morning, we got up and did a load of laundry and decided around 1 or 2 to go to Walmart for cat treats and litter.  We decided to go to a town called George West. {weird name}  We headed east out of Tilden and first came upon the Choke Canyon Reservoir which is run by the state.  Well they wanted  $5 a person just to enter.  So much for that.  On down the road to the next town.  Its name is Three Rivers.  From a distance we could see that it had a HUGE Oil Refinery in town.  Looks like Star Wars Town Doesn’t it….lol…


As we pulled into town, you could see that the town was attached to the Refinery.  The town was wrapped around the refinery on several sides.  Obviously the town survived on the refinery jobs.  Again several NEW motels in town and lots of campgrounds.  As we drove from Tilden, we could see we were in the heart of oil country, but the boom was over.   So many campgrounds, now deserted or just with a handful of campers.  Several places were trailers all in a wagon circle or lines like little streets.  They were similar to Fema trailers.  They also were deserted or just a hand full of vehicles out in front.   As you look in the distance across the land scape, you could see many oil tanks in the fields from wells that had been drilled.  The highway is just busy with tankers carrying oil to the refinery.

On we went, with the next town being George West.  It wasn’t what we expected.  It didn’t look big enough to have a Walmart.  We seen a sign that said McAllen 150 miles.  I jokingly said.  ” We should go have pizza at Mr. Gatti‘s.”   Its a great pizza/salad bar in Harlingen.  Why not? We had the weekend off.  Three hours later we pulled into Eastgate Park in Harlingen.  It felt like going home…….We pulled in front of Debbie and Ricks house {managers}.  They came out totally shocked, thinking we had come early.   lol.   “No, we were just on the way to Walmart”……lol…Had a nice visit with them and went down to visit more friends.  Bev, Roberta, and Ken were just wrapping up a garage sale.  We had a wonderful visit with Bev.  Her husband Ernest had just passed away several weeks before.  They were Workampers. Bev cleaned and Ernest was the I.T. man.   He was so smart with computers.  Last year, he had spent all season trying to get the new internet system to work with the outside company.  He was not health, but a “Super Guy”.  He will be so missed.  Not only for the work he did, but as a friend.  Then we ended up at Roberta and Kens.  If you remember from last winter, Roberta has the Parrot and the little cockatiel.  “Maui and Love Love”.  Had a great visit with them and finally found a motel.  Of course no clothes or makeup, so a stop at the Dollar Store to buy make up and Cat treats and litter.   lol.   The whole purpose of the trip.   In the morning we were next door to the Golden Corral, so after breakfast we headed back up the road towards Tilden.

But it won’t be long………We’ll be Back………

Back in Three Rivers, we stopped at DQ.  In pulled some really cool cars.



It was a Car Club from San Antonio, out for a cruise.



This one was really neat….




The engine area was painted bright purple and right inside on the nose, above the grill was this signature.

12076653_10204863062444030_1565727732_o Beautiful cars……

We were back home before 3.   Poor Kitty, he was deserted……Gave him lots of treats and he was “Happy” again…..Monday was my day at the gate and Today was Rich’s.  Its getting slower and slower.  I decided to walk to the store today.  It is always closed when we get home.   How silly.  It was in the 90,s again.   Lucky I didn’t die of heat exhaustion.   The store was nothing to brag about.  All I bought was a sack of Ginger Snaps, and a Drumstick ice cream.  Had to eat it FAST…..

On the way I went to “BOOTHILL CEMETERY”……….

Located in Tilden is Boot Hill Cemetery, one of the only two authentic cemeteries of its kind in the southwest. It was so named because many of those who were interred there died violently, “with their boots on.” Many of the early graves were those of people who were killed in accidents, murdered, or who died of cholera during an epidemic in 1869, although some were known to have died of natural causes. The cemetery was established sometime after Frio Rio came into existence in 1858. It is currently located behind the bank half a block north of the courthouse plaza on Highway 72 and half a block east of State Highway 16, across from the new sheriff’s office. In 1877, Boot Hill Cemetery was abandoned in favor of the present Hill Top Cemetery and then neglected for more than half a century. During this time a number of the markers deteriorated, fell down, and became lost, along with the local history they contained. In 1955, when the Cenizo Garden Club was organized, its members began to clean up and restore the cemetery. They cleaned the plots, cleared out the brush, and located as many graves as possible.



The grounds were enclosed by a low border of native stone and the Boot Hill Cemetery sign, a large boot made of masonry mounted on a large slab of petrified palm stump, was added to the cemetery grounds.


The club was also instrumental in obtaining a historical marker, which now stands at the entrance to the cemetery.


This is the only grave that has a name on it…..Glenn Greer….died 1878….. He was thrown and killed while trying to ride a half tamed horse.  His grave is still evident today (July 2002), as his family was notified of his death and they sent a iron railing and marble slab for his grave.  

12119408_10204872068069165_37283567_o                                Epamindondas M. Crain had made a trip to San Antonio in 1869 when the cholera epidemic was raging, contracted the disease and died a few days after reaching home.  His headstone reveals that he was born in 1816 and died in 1869.  He served during the Civil War and was a private in the 29th Brigade Texas Troops Confederates States Army.  Three other cholera victims were also buried here during this time, but their identities are unknown.  All the graves of the cholera victims were completely sealed with rock tombs.   The story that has been handed down is that the citizens of Tilden were so terrified of cholera that they were afraid it  might work up through the soil and infect others, so they sealed these graves in rock tombs.  How true the story is, no one knows.  (Note: When Renee Smelley visited the cemetery in July 2002 these graves were evident by the rock tombs that were on top of the ground, but were falling in and apart.)  

       Dick Gossett was wounded in a gun battle at Fort Ewell and buried here in 1869.  Known as one of the most noted outlaws of this area, a confederate deserter and a ruthless cold blooded killer.  Dick’s brother, Malachi, and their partner, Tom Green, tried to get him to Tilden for help, but he died before they reached town.  Note: No headstone located.

John Smithwick was murdered in 1870 while he was being held prisoner of the law.  The murderer thought Smithwick knew too much and this might be brought out during the trial.  Evidently the murderer was later shot by another person seeking revenge for the murder of Smithwick.  Note: No headstone located.

A stranger arriving in town on the stage coach had the bad judgment of walking around town in a top hat.  Some men from a local Dogtown saloon took notice of the tall hat and jokingly decided to put a bullet through the crown.  Clabe Young, one of the pranksters, had bad aim, shot to low and the unfortunate stranger was killed instantly.  Note: No headstone located

Wheeler, Phelix, infant son of Leonidas and Sarah Walker Wheeler, died of natural causes.  He was born on September 13, 1870 and died on October 16, 1870.  Note: No headstone located..

How many others are buried in Boothill Cemetery we will probably never know, but it is thought  that others were also buried here before 1877.



Tilden was on the caravan route between San Antonio, Dogtown, Fort Ewell, Laredo and Mexico.  Some time during the Civil War a stage route was also added and saloons began to spring up in Dogtown.  These all brought many undesirable characters to the town as well as men who were on the run from the law that used the surrounding area and brush to hide.  Some of these undesirables provided quite a few occupants for Boothill.

In 1877 Boot Hill Cemetery was abandoned in favor of the present Hill Top Cemetery Hill Top Cemetery was originally called Graveyard Hill and many early setters as well as several generations of their descendants have been buried in Hill Top.  Hill Top Cemetery still serves the community today.  I will be checking out that cemetery soon….


This sign was at the corner of the court house…….Rather interesting….I decided to include it for all the history buffs…….Tilden is the county seat of McMullen County

Two Weeks On The Pipeline…..

This last week and a half has brought much change.   On Friday, Sept. 11, we were still 16 miles from Carrizo Springs Tx. gate guarding an oil well.  We were Gate 3, and our neighbors next door were gate 2.   They were a married couple and her twin sister and 3 dogs.  Down the road was gate 1.  The new couple had just come in on Wed. and taken over, as the other couple left.   They were new and were going to get their license.  We had a really hard rain on Thur. nite and their awning was torn off the trailor.  Well, if you remember, my last blog the crickets were so bad.   Well they just got worse.  Friday nite, we all got the call around 9:30 that all 3 gates were closed………….Wow………..Now were were expecting it but, to have all 3 at the same time….rather surprising…..We were to be off duty 6am. Saturday morning and pack to leave.   So this is what we got up to……


More Crickets…….Horrible Horrible…..the smell was getting so bad.   They were everywhere…..Piles under the wheels.   So Rich got out the Raid and sprayed the screen.  Then we pulled our patio rug out the the road and sweeped and dumped all the crickets.


They were so Gross………Grrrrrrrr……..We actually were very glad to leave.  Then the worst part, when we put in our slides, Rich chased the crickets off the bottom, but when they were in, Guess What…………..Crickets came in on the top of the slide……….Oh No………We ended up killing Crickets the next several days…..We even went to bed at nite hearing them in the Motor Home…..Yuck….

We had asked Chris our supervisor if their were any other jobs.   He said their were 12 hour gate jobs in Tilden.   It was 2 hours away straight east.   We could also have free hookups.  It wasn’t what we really wanted, but we decided that we would go.  We stopped to see the neighbors and Carol came out and said, “See what happened”…..They started up their 1986 Motorhome and a huge pile of liquid came out underneath.  We felt bad, but had to leave.  Their car and broke down on Thursday, in town.  The parts couldn’t be ordered till Mon. and now this.   I text them on Tue. and found out they had to be towed to San Antonio and they were in a motel, waiting for one of the vehicles to be down.  I hope they are doing well now.

We arrived in Tilden and found it to be a small town of 450 people.  It is the County Seat,  and is also the home of Boot Hill Cemetery, one of the 2 authentic cemeteries of its kind in the southwest. It was so named because many of those who were interred there died violently, “with their boots on.”  I will be investigating this before we go….Sounds so interesting.   It’s main income now is due to the growth of the oil industry.  It is the home of many of the employees of the oil or pipeline company’s in the area.  The area is full of wells, but now it is really slow as the Oil boom has really slowed down.   They have lots of housing, and trailer parks for the employees.



Here is some of the housing.


But this is the nicer one.  Right now, many of these units are empty.  We found our place to park and hooked up……Not really nice at all………..but FREE………everything we needed.  Our new supervisor came, John.  Here we find out its a gas pipeline and he is going to give us not only one, but 2 gates…………Yea…..Double Money………..”The catch”….its 32 miles from town.  He gave us directions……travel 23 miles south, turn left, after 7 miles turn on San Diego Road……drive approx. 3.5 miles on gravel road.   You’ll find 2 gates across from each other……..Be their 6 AM. Monday………….What!!!!………..its dark out at 6…No lights on the gates……Their are NO NUMBERS on the gates either…….How do we know?……No signs……lol….We decided to go out the day before and find it…..Thank Goodness…It is a horrible gravel road the shakes the truck from front to back…..You cant go over 15 to 20 mph for the 3.5 miles…..It is desert, cactus, mesquite trees, and they call them ranches………….


Wild Turkeys, roam the roads and ranch property.  Groups of a dozen or more….

We found it….It turns out this pipeline is gas and is nearing done.  The pipeline is over 32 miles long.  It is connecting 2 gas plants that are 32 miles apart.  Right now they truck it over and it is over 90 miles one way.  So this will be quite a savings.  Our gates are right in the middle.


Richs’ Barbed wire gate……he has to open it for each truck and log their plate and signature


My Gate on the left.  It is a double swing nice galvanized gate….lol…This is our canopy were we hang out.   The Guy is Bruce…..We called him Louisiana for most of the time.  lol..We didn’t know his name.   He was from Louisiana, lives in Arkansas, but works for this company in Texas.  He is a welding inspector.  He spent more time washing his truck and talking than working….lol….But that’s where we learned a lot of info.   He was very nice and loved telling us all about the industry.

Gate 15 and 16 are right across from each other on the country gravel road.  The pipe is a 24″ pipe, that is already buried.  They are right now cleaning out the pipe and getting it ready to fill with gas.  It is quite a process.  My gate is the center of the project and is where the valves are.  They are cleaning them out with Styrofoam “PIGS” as they call them.

12041602_10204795095424897_644011828_o Used “pigs”, being taken to the land fill…..Different colors mean different textures for cleaning….

 They are the same circumference as the pipe and some have bristles.  They are shot threw the pipes under pressure, from the plants to the valves.  They clean out the inside.  It takes one, 3 hours to go 15 miles.  When they come out at the valve area, their is a big boom and lots of dust is stirred up in the air.


After filling with water, they also build up the pressure for 8 hours to make sure it is sealed.  Then after draining they have to shoot more pigs through to dry the inside of the pipe.  They said the pipe held 2 million gallons of water in the pipe.  It was then drained into the ranchers pond and the remainder over the next hill.  During the drying process, they told us it could take up to 150 “pigs” to dry the pipe.  Now the drying process is over and they are connecting the 2, 15 mile sections and welding them together at the valves.  We have maybe 2 weeks tops here and it will be over.  My gate will be last, as it is were most of the activity is.



Heavy Equipment crossing the road on tires, from gate to gate…

They are now grading and cleaning all the areas of the pipeline.  Some places will be reseeded as to what the rancher wants.  Then all the gates the contractors installed, will be replaced with new fencing.


The 2 ranches that we are on have the most interesting, beautiful iron works on their gates.   The rancher gates are left undisturbed and the contractors installed their on gates about 50 ft from them. The ranch on my side is owned by a man from Houston.  He uses it for hunting.  He has a pond, deer stands, and his house trailer for his stays.  We were told he has over $800,000. worth of white tailed deer on his property.  Hunting is quite an industry in this area.


The owner was down last weekend and was Quail hunting on his property.  Other wildlife in the area are Turkeys, Javelinas, Wolves, some Bobcats, lots of Ground Squirrels and Road Runners, and of course the dreaded Rattlesnake.


Now on Richs’ side is the most beautiful Proud Deer standing over the gate…..Standing so tall and Proud….


This rancher feeds his deer with a product called “Record Rack”…..We have seen deer, but only the young ones.


12008418_10204766348346238_1649205244_oAll in all, this has been a long 2 weeks but we’ve learned and experienced so much.  And of course above all me made some nice money so far.  In 2 weeks or less, we will be done and on our way….Don’t know where Yet……lol…..That’s the Adventure……lol….

Until then, we are getting up at 4 am.  Packing lunch and coolers, leaving to buy a bag of ice every morning.  We arrive at our gates at 6 am.  We stay till 7 pm. and then head back home, arriving by 8 pm.  Eat and to bed by 10 or earlier.   It gets to 95 in the afternoon…..we drink lots of liquid….I eat ice and run water over my head also….lol….and the worse part is ….NO PHONE SERVICE….NO INTERNET .until we get home….So not a lot of time to write this blog….But the wildlife is breathtaking.  We are spending everyday in their environment and can watch their daily activities…..We have lots more stories to tell….