San Isidro Cemetery

IMG_2284I was out, walking my neighborhood yesterday, trying to burn off a few calories.  Just down the street is a private cemetery, fenced up with a gate that stays chained closed most of the time.  Yesterday, the gate was open so at the end of my walk, I decided to go inside and  take a look around.

The cemetery is named San Isidro and lies on the banks of  Oyster Creek in Sugar Land.  I strolled around, reading the names and dates off the headstones, snapping a few pictures with my iPhone.  Almost every name was hispanic – Garcia, Hernandez, Torres, Luna.  It was a peaceful little cemetery.  The grave sites, overgrown with grass and weeds, lack regular care.  A man with a thin shovel and a woman with a plastic grocery bag tended one or two sites, probably their own family members.

As I strolled through the 6 or 7 rows of graves, the man approached and asked if I had family buried there.  I told him that I didn’t and asked if he’d like me to leave. He was, after all, a pretty good sized hispanic fella himself and I had not been invited in.

“Oh no,” he said, “you are welcome here any time.”

He told me that his wife’s grandparents are buried here and that he and his wife come a couple times a year to tidy up their graves sites. While they’re at it, they work on a few of those nearby that need some extra care. He spoke slowly in a solemn voice and held out a handful of pecans he’d picked up while cleaning up the area.

“Come in and get you some pecans whenever you want,” he offered. ” We just keep the gate locked to keep the dirt bikes and bad guys out.  Some people were even stealing headstones.”

“Do you know the history of this cemetery,” he asked.

“No, I sure don’t.  I recently moved here and have been curious about this place but it’s always locked.  What do you know about it?


I can do all things…

His name was Hector.  He explained that long before the houses in these subdivisions were built, this land was donated by the Imperial Sugar Company for a cemetery for those that worked for the company.  Anyone who worked the fields or in the sugar mill was able to be buried there along with their families.  He explained that this site was way back in the boonies, nothing but woods and fields.

He pointed over to a vacant area fenced off with a six foot hurricane fence. “That was for the slave families”

“You’re kidding!  Slaves?”

He said that there was one stone gravesite visible still, and pointed to something that looked like a small cement cross leaning sideways.  He said there were other concrete markers in the ground, but grass had grown over most of them.

“Just take a shovel over there the next time it’s open and you can still find them.”

IMG_2290He told me that there used to be a wooden bridge across Oyster Creek just southeast of where we stood, but it’s not there any more.  He said that families used to bring their dead over here and dig their own graves for the deceased.  People didn’t have money to pay for graves to be dug in those days.  I noticed that most of the older gravestones showed the date of death in the 1940’s.  I concluded I’d have to do some more research on the slave topic and the actual dates that the sugar cane fields were farmed.

Hector gave me the gate code for the padlock and said I could come back whenever I wanted.  We shook hands.  I enjoyed meeting Hector.

When I got home, I went to work on the pictures I took with my iPhone.  Using the techniques of rubicorno,  I used several apps to tweak my images.

IMG_2281Start walking.

Take some picture.

Meet new people.

Say a prayer.

Tidy up someone’s final resting spot.

About Wayne to the Max

Active writer, dancer, traveler, Christian and father, aviation enthusiast, photographer, music lover and a DJ, hiker, Harley driver and fine wine drinker. My digital photo artist page:
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26 Responses to San Isidro Cemetery

  1. Me ha gustado la historia que viviste, pero las fotos son preciosas!!, besos Wyne y Feliz 2013

  2. rubicorno says:

    Great story and beautifully edited photos Wayne! Have a great 2013!


  3. Mom says:

    You certainly do find some interesting things to write about. Just think, if you weren’t a curious guy, you would never have spoken to Hector in the first place. Then, as usual, you got a bit of history that has peeked your interest. Bravo!

    Guess you’ll be cleaning up that little spot.

    Keep your curiosity active. I love to learn from your writings.
    Love, Mom.

  4. Erica says:

    A lot of my family is buried there Mr. Wayne. This was a great article your wrote. I love going there because it is so peaceful and beautiful. i remember being a little girl and crossing that old bridge! God bless

  5. Melissa Gonzales says:

    My father and grandparents are buried thier love going thier , feels very peaceful. I remember that old bridge when my dad would talk me as a child to visit my grandpa. Also I recognize one of the grave in one of your photos that you took. He was a childhood friend. The one where it says Gonzales Jr 1983-2007

  6. Elvia Sanchez says:

    Mr. Wayne, I thank you for taking the time to visit the Cemetary! I’m glad your curiosity got you there because your story is a beautiful one! And I myself heard stories about the surrounding properties from my grandparents who used to work in the fields! They said it used to be call El Grande Centro! I myself have a few family members buried there and my oldest child! You are more than welcome there I’m sure! Unfortunately I live 300 miles away and cannot visit often but it is a very peaceful place along with the neighborhood!

  7. Mike Herring says:

    I moved to Sugar Creek in 1972, and it was not long before I found that place. On the opposite side, there was a dirt road that went from Dulles over to the freeway. There was a small wooden bridge before the trail to the cemetery and a second one, further down towards 59. (sort of like Lexington, but it was straight.)That bridge was concrete, a favorite fishing spot for many people and it is actually still there today and still functions as a Dam. (At least I THINK it still functions. There were no houses that direction from those lining the Riverbend Country Club golf course, all the way over to the cemetery and dam, and beyond. All that area was WAY deep in undeveloped territory. We rode motorcycles and go carts all over the dirt roads back there. I remember coming across a funeral out there..(mid 70s)..coming from Sugar Creek, we were “deep woods” hunting. Haha! (Daisy BB guns and bow and arrow from Kmart!) If you look closely at the satellite view, you can still sort of see where the old bridge was. It ran from the pool/rec center (late 70s early 80s), over to the SE corner of the cemetery lot. Somewhere about 83 or 84, the bridge collapsed into the water on the side opposite of the cemetery and was never repaired, they just took the whole bridge out. But yes, I remember getting from that dirt road to the bridge along a dirt path/road. The kind where there are two paths with weeds in the center where vehicles had driven. If you find that pool on a satellite shot, then come down a bit and draw a straight line over to where the dam is, you can mark oput where the old dirt road ran, because it was completely straight, from Dulles past the path to the cemetery, out to the concrete dam, then to the freeway. I went and found the old dam in about 2010 or 11. it is right off someone’s back yard now, at the end of a cul-de-sac. Buried WAY off in the underbrush, between that dam and Riverbend Golf course, was an old house, totally overgrown. Probably could not even see it from the air even. But it was wooden, with greyed planks that had remnants of old white paint, and it was surrounded by a small moat. I ran across it, one day I was at the old dam anjd got into an argument with a friend, and walked home, cutting through there….. somehow. I’m looking at a map of that area right now, and cannot overay what I remember, onto the map, so my memory must be missing peices somewhere…. But that hidden house was real, …in the underbrush. I walked all the way around that little moat which was fed by a stream. I couldnt see any way across it. One guy was with me, and we got fallen branches and tested the moat….it was deep! So we did not attempt to cross, just headed back towards Sugar Creek, coming out on the far side of Riverbend Country Club Golf Course.

    • Wow! Thank you so much, Mike for adding this information!

      • Mike Herring says:

        Well, as I said, my memory has some swiss cheese holes in it!! Haha! Looking at different maps tonight, I saw that the old straight dirt road going away from Dulles Ave (which was a dirt road also, after passing Riverbend) may not have gon all the way to the freeway, and the cemetery was AFTER the concrete bridge, instead of in between, as I had stated. I pulled it up on Google Earth, and yes, it is still there, between an area called Riverbend North, and Oyster Point. You can see the old bridge dam very clearly, using that program. I did a little more digging too, and found an account of the Cemetery, that I found just amazing, and explained a lot of stuff. The section goes from the early years, to more recent years and even describes some of the reactions of the homeowners during those times, and a LOT of it’s history, that I never knew about. We used to go there while in Highschool, and party, but always left it clean. We were checked out by the cops a couple times, but they never chased us off. I was CERTAINLY never SHOT at by Sugar Creek homeowners!! Hahaha! Yes, the book goes into quite a bit of detail! The name of the book is Experiments in rethinking History, edited by Alun Munslow, Robert A. Rosenstone The pages about the history of the cemetary are on pages 56-70, if you are up for a bit of reading…. not too many pages. Seems Creekers were not really happy about that bridge coming down! Here is a link, that should take you to the book, then just scroll to page 56, and that is where the tale starts. I very much enjoyed reading that, over the past hour.
        I will check this and see if the link does work.

  8. Mike Herring says:

    Yes, it does…. it takes you to page 70, so just scroll to page 55. Hope you enjoy this, as I have!

  9. Carmen Perez says:

    Thank for your interest of San Isidro Cemetery these angelic grounds is the burial place of my family, friends and neighbors. I’m content to say that my Grandchildren have over twenty-six family members buried there. So many remarkable memories on the people that have been put to rest like Cosme Gonzales a Mexican Federal Soldier during the revolution that would proudly display the Mexican flag on his front lawn every 16th of September,

  10. Beverly Rodriguez says:

    My mother is now 84 yrs old and she has many spectacular stories. If you can ever find out wat happen to Captain Brooks . This man was a boss man out there. My mothers side of the family is buried there. If you would ever like to hear her stories just let me know! Yesterday was the 1st time I have ever heard of this cemetery. Spectacular

    • Thank you, Beverly. I sure would like to hear some of those stories. Would you mind sharing a few? I love having the stories to go with the names I see when I visit San Isidro.

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