Searching for the Gravesites of Ransom and Sarah Williams

Panoramic view of a section of the San Marcos-Blanco Cemetery. Sarah William's headstone is the tall grave marker in the center of the image. Photos by Doug Boyd.

Throughout this project, we had wondered where Ransom and Sarah might have been buried. We found no death certificate for Ransom Williams, and speculated that he might have been buried on his farm or perhaps with friends or relatives at the Antioch Colony cemetery (near Buda) or somewhere near Manchaca. But this was all speculation. Our archival research did discover a death certificate for Sarah, and it stated that Sarah Williams’ maiden name was Houston and that she died on March 11, 1921 in San Marcos at the age of 70.

Online searches of cemetery databases lead to the finding of several Sarah Williamses who were buried in or near San Marcos, but none of them had the right death date. Finally, a breakthrough came when it was discovered that one online listing had been recorded incorrectly. In the Find-A-Grave database for the San Marcos-Blanco Cemetery in Hays County was a listing for a Sarah Williams who reportedly died in 1902. However, the headstone photograph linked to this grave seemed to show a death year of 1921 along with “AGE 70.” A quick trip to the cemetery on the north side of San Marcos confirmed that this was indeed the grave marker for the Sarah Williams who was once married to Ransom Williams.

The headstone is a tall rectangular cast concrete marker with an inscription that reads:

MAR 11, 1921
AGE 70

The San Marcos-Blanco Cemetery is a 10-acre African American graveyard with burials dating back to 1886. While it contains more than 300 marked graves, it is obvious that there are many other graves without headstones as indicated by depressions, vegetation patterns, and surface artifacts. It is interesting that Sarah’s grave is isolated from other marked graves nearby, but adjacent to it is a slight depression with darker green grass and a bent metal stake marker. This is most likely a grave, and it is certainly possible that this is burial site of Ransom Williams, who died in ca. 1901. It is also possible that some of Ransom and Sarah’s children are buried nearby.


photo of sarah williams' grave marker
Close-up view of Sarah William's marker.
Plan and profile views of the subfloor storage pit.
Wide-angle view of Sarah Williams’ grave (headstone at left center). Note the patch of greener grass in a linear
depression (bottom center) and the small iron cemetery
marker bent flush with the ground (i.e., the brown rectangular spot just to the left of
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