a couple of updates for you. First, the remains from the Oscar
Abstein grave(s) at I10 and Eldridge have been re-located to
Washington cemetery back in town. Here's the history along with a
description of the excavation done in November 2003 by Prewitt and
Associates archeologists at the request of TxDOT:
> Oral history indicates that Oscar Abstein and an unnamed
child died in 1884
> and were buried on land owned by the Gastmann family. They were
> to the Gastmanns, but were "travelers" who became ill and died.
> recollection is from interviews by TxDOT personnel in 2001. They
> interviewed Emilia Browning and Emil Koehn, a brother and sister
> related to the Gastmann family.
> The Gastmann family sold part of their property to the
Missouri, Kansas, &
> Texas Railway in 1892, and three graves were located within the
> right of way. The grave of Oscar Abstein was moved a short
distance to a
> safe location near the edge of the right of way. These records
> that the two other graves were to be left undisturbed. There is
no map, but
> presumably these graves were along the edge of the right of way
> grave was moved nearer to these graves.
> A 1931 State Highway Department construction map shows 4
graves. There is
> no other reference to these graves.
> A 1954 State Highway Department construction map shows only 2
> A 1965 State Highway Department construction map shows 2
graves and the
> construction plan for the retaining wall that was to be built
> Here is what we know from the investigation:
> A headstone of Oscar Abstein at the site confirms his death
date as July
> 10, 1884.
> Prewitt and Associates archeologists were at the site from
November 17 to
> 21, 2003, to do the burial excavations and reinterment.
> On the surface, the gravestone fragments of Oscar Abstein's
> been cemented together and a large white wooden cross was
> other headstone fragments were cemented together and a smaller
> cross was erected. The latter turned out to be fragment of the
> Oscar Abstein's headstone, so there was really only one grave
> We used a gradall to locate the graves. About 2 feet of
artificial fill had
> been brought in to raise the ground surface inside the concrete
> wall. We found 2 headstone bases (called plinths) at about 13
and 22 inches
> below the ground surface. One of these was definitely the base
> stone, the other had a small broken fragment of a stone still in
> but this stone was not found and may have disappeared long ago.
> We found three graves.
> Grave 1 was an adult, probably a female but too incomplete to
> precise age. Buried in a plain wooden coffin. The buried
> (without marker) was associated with this grave..
> Grave 2 was an adult, but also too incomplete to determine
age and sex.
> Buried in a plain wooden casket. No grave marker is associated.
> partially disturbed by the gradall because it was located so
close to the
> edge of the retaining wall and was not marked.
> Grave 3 is the very fragmented remains of an adult and a
child, buried in a
> small pit with no evidence of a wooden container. This grave is
> very close to the buried headstone base that fits Oscar's
headstone, and it
> is presumed to be the reinterment of Oscar and the unnamed child
> We did not find the elusive fourth grave (observed only in
> we scraped everywhere inside and beyond the retaining wall. It
> that there never was a fourth grave, but that surface evidence
> to think there were four.