Local Historians Search For Missing Dead

By  | 

The St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Bryan has recently started to look into its 100 year history, and members have stumbled into a mystery yet to be solved.

It seems as if several members of the church have gone missing, even after they passed away.

On a 48 acre piece of land just north Bryan, it's clear who each person is, when they died, and where they are. Unfortunately not all the residents of the Bryan Cemetery can be located that easily.

"I think it's just lost to history,” said Dr. Sylvia Grider with St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

She's in charge of tracking down the history of the church, more specifically some of the former members who are missing.

"We have never been able to identify any of those people,” said Dr. Grider.

To explain the mystery Dr. Grider is trying to solve, we have to go back 100 years.

In 1912, the church in downtown Bryan was relocated 2 blocks away. That included moving the cemetery, which was part of the church yard. The city took the responsibility of moving and reinterring the bodies to the Bryan Cemetery. But did it happen? According to city documents from 1912, it did but that's not how the story ends.

Dr. Grider and other historians like Nan Ross with the Carnige Library have tried to track down the truth. The problem is records are vague.

"Transferred from lot 58 to lot 69, but you don't know anything about it. You can't tell,” said Ross.

The old church cemetery is now a driveway for a house in downtown Bryan. It's where 6 Episcopalians were said to be excavated and re-interred less than a mile away at the Bryan cemetery. But there's no sign of them.

"Graves that are marked from the 1860s are very often, by now, the tombstones are illegible,” said Ross.

But their existence hasn't been erased.

"I have not located the people in here. That does not mean that they are not there,” said Ross.

Dr. Grider and Ross believe all the bodies were excavated.

"To put a modern building in, like the library, they had to excavate and really excavate and put iron pillars down there. It would have shown up,” Ross said.

There's no known track of these 6 individuals.

"We've gone through all the church records and have come to the same conclusion that there's just no way to determine where those graves would have been put,” said Dr. Grider

They may indeed be on this 48 acre plot of land, resting anonymously, and in peace.

To find out more information on the history of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, click here.