Families Host Shiloh Cemetery Picnic - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/30/07-Rusk County

Families Host Shiloh Cemetery Picnic

A July 4th weekend event in Rusk county draws hundreds of participants each year, but it's not a well known event, possibly because it's held at a grave yard.  The gathering takes place at Shiloh Cemetery located in a remote area East of Mount Enterprise.  The cemetery's descendants come back to the old cemetery every summer to celebrate family and freedom.

"Ancestors coming here from way way back, and my great grandparents are buried here," said Cemetery Historian Carrie Patrick.

"Well, it's about family and everything getting together, meeting with family reminiscing about old times and celebrating independence day," said Celebrator James Harvey.  The cemetery holds graves as old as 1853.  The picnic began in 1876, when two relatives formed a group to help take care of the grave sites, and they've been meeting as families ever since.

"I think it meant as much, or more than Christmas, and we enjoyed coming here, and people come from far and near," said Patrick.  "This place would be covered with wagon buggies, horseback riders and people even walked."  They decorate the graves of their families, and share old stories.  Many, old and young, see the importance of this day with the sacrifices of others in the past.

"Well, it means that somebody's been fighting to keep us free for many a year," said World War II Army Veteran Alan Webb.  More than 300 people attended Saturday's event.  Many of the families had five generations at the cemetery.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com


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