I find it interesting that we can say the name of a place day after day and not really give any thought to where the name originated. The name of the street that I live on is Winston Ranch Parkway. I’d never really thought about the name Winston, so I decided to look it up. Turns out, Jane Long’s daughter, Ann, married a man by the name of Edward Winston. Their son was named James Edward Winston. I just have to believe that my street name is somehow connected to the Winston family.
When I taught at Mission West Elementary (FBISD), our kids were zoned to Hodge’s Bend Middle School when they started sixth grade. Once again, I never gave any thought to where the name Hodge’s Bend came from. It just so happens that there was a man by the name of Alexander Hodge who came to Texas as part of Stephen F. Austin’s Old Three Hundred. He and many of his family members are buried at the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery.
I found the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery by accident. I was headed to Cullinan Park to see how it was looking two months after Hurricane Harvey. I didn’t want to go all the way out to Highway 90 and then to Highway 6, so I decided to go the back way. I somehow ended up on Old Richmond Road. When I came to a stop sign at the intersection of Old Richmond Road and the entrance to the Pheasant Creek subdivision, I looked across the street and saw a lot of white crosses and quickly determined that I was looking at an old cemetery. However, since my original destination was the park, I continued on my way. I eventually came to FM1464 which was not what I was hoping for. With that cemetery still in my mind, I turned around and made my way back down Old Richmond Road.
Once I got near the intersection where the cemetery was located, I experienced some trepidation because there was no parking lot for me to park in. There was just a grassy area near the entrance to the cemetery just big enough for one vehicle. Putting my apprehension aside, I pulled into that spot and got out of my car. The first thing that caught my attention was the historical marker. It told the story of Alexander Hodge and how he came to live in the area.
Mr. Hodge was born in Pennsylvania in 1760. When he was about 17 years old, he and his brother moved to South Carolina and fought during the American Revolution. For those of you who might be military history buffs, the brothers fought under the leadership of Francis Marion AKA The Swamp Fox. After the war ended, Mr. Hodge moved to a few other states and at some point met Stephen F. Austin. In 1824, Mr. Hodge (age 63 or 64) and his family began their move to Texas. They were given land near the Brazos River and Oyster Creek where they started a plantation that they named Hodge’s Bend. Mr. Hodge’s wife, Ruth, died in 1831 and is buried in the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery.
In 1835, Santa Anna, the leader of the Mexican army, began his quest to have total control of Texas. Texas was already a part of Mexico, but Santa Anna did away with most of the rights that the Texans had; this prompted the Texans to declare their independence from Mexico. Mr. Hodge and his family were part of what was known as the Runaway Scrape. In fear of the Mexican army, many settlers left their homes and headed to safety in Galveston or Louisiana. Even more left their homes when they heard the news of the fall of the Alamo. By April 1, 1836, the city of Richmond was evacuated. The settlers continued to seek safety even after hearing the news that the Texan army had defeated the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Rumors were prevalent, and they didn’t want to start heading back to their homes until they were sure that they were not in danger of attacks from the Mexican army.
Like many of the settlers, Mr. Hodge was exhausted and ill by the time he and his family made it back to their home in Texas. He died on August 17, 1836 and was buried in the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery.
After pretty much finishing this blog entry and getting it ready to send to the guys who run the website, I took a friend of mine to the cemetery because she wanted to see it for herself. As we neared the intersection where the cemetery is located, I saw that there were two cars in what I had come to consider MY parking spot! With nowhere else to park, we had to park across the street at the convenience store and cross the street to get to the cemetery. We were happily welcomed at the entrance by a guy named Kevin. He gave us a lot of information about the cemetery, but the most important information he told us about was the recent status of the Hodge’s Bend Cemetery Association as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The association is now completely responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery. They are accepting donations through gofundme.com (search Hodges Bend Cemetery). You can also get information about the work that they’re doing now and hope to do in the future when you visit the gofundme.com page.
In a previous blog, I wrote about my fascination with old cemeteries. Throw in a little bit of Texas history, and those cemeteries are even more appealing to me. The Hodge’s Bend Cemetery tops my list of old, historic, creepy cemeteries. When you walk into the cemetery, your eyes will first be drawn to all of the white crosses. Soon thereafter, you’ll take in the beautiful natural growth all over the cemetery, especially the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. We’re fortunate to live in a part of Texas where so much history has taken place, so I hope some of y’all will take the time to go visit the cemetery. If you do get to visit, you’ll be paying tribute to some of the earliest settlers in Fort Bend County.
(images by Carol McClelland)
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