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 Texas : Features : Columns : Bob Bowman's East Texas

The Story of Concord

by Bob Bowman
Bob Bowman

The countryside around Montalba, north of Palestine in Anderson County, is among the most beautiful in East Texas with its small mountains, winding roads and scenic streams.

Visiting the area, you can easily understand why three families named Fitzgerald moved here in the 1840s and purchased land along Mound Prairie Creek.

The area soon became known as Fitzgerald and, as the years passed, the communityís people built a school, a church, a post office, a cemetery and likely a store or two.

The church was named Concord Baptist Church for a community in Louisiana, where some of the Fitzgeralds had lived. A wooden building served the settlement from the early 1900s until 1940 when it was destroyed by fire. A brick building was soon built.

The first burial in Concord Cemetery was Joel P. Kelley, who was born in North Carolina in 1825. Joel was a Baptist preacher and had given the land for the cemetery a year before he died in 1872.

Joelís family moved to Texas in 1869, along with his brothers and sisters. After they crossed the Sabine River, Joelís brother, Jack and his family, left the caravan and were never seen again by the family.

Some of the Fitzgeralds, William and his family, left Anderson County in the 1860s and moved to Coleman County, Texas. A family story says that on the night that Williamís wife was giving birth to a son, the familyís cabin roof was shot full of arrows by Indians.

Understandably William moved his family back to Concord, where the Indians were friendlier.

When the Civil War erupted in the 1860s, many of Concordís men marched off to war. Some returned; some didnít. Several Confederate veterans were buried in Concord Cemetery when they died.

One such veteran was Clayton Alexander Fitzgerald, who was born in 1846 in San Augustine County. He and his parents, Michael and Matila Fitzgerald, came to Concord in 1850.

Clayton fought with Batesí Regiment of the 13th Texas Infantry. A private, he served from the spring of 1864 to the end of the war, and was later transferred to the First Texas Artillery, which was stationed at Sabine Pass.

Clayton died on Christmas Day, 1929, at the home of his son Hugh, and his grave in Concord Cemetery is one of two with a Confederate marker.

Concord has some 200 marked graves, but many other graves are marked only with rocks.


Bob Bowman's East Texas November 29, 2009 Column
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East Texas newspapers
Copyright Bob Bowman

(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of more than 40 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)
Bob Bowman's East Texas
"All Things Historical"

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