A jury trial in the matter of the desecration of St. Mary Cemetery is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 7, 2015 in the 40th District Court, Ellis County, Texas. The 40th District Courtroom is located on the 2nd Floor of the Historic Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie, Texas… at the Ellis County, Texas 40th District Court with Judge Bob Carroll. Since March, 2012, the families of the partially destroyed St. Mary Cemetery have tried to get help from law enforcement as well as State government to stop the ongoing destruction of the their historic African American cemetery but that help never came. As of 24 March, 2014, fifty family members of the St. Mary Cemetery filed a lawsuit, #89145, at the Ellis County, Texas District Clerk Office.   st mary cemetery picture before destructionBEFORE THE MARCH, 2012 DESTRUCTION OF THE ST. MARY CEMETERY IN ELLIS COUNTY, TEXAS st mary cemetery after destruction june 2012 AFTER THE MARCH, 2012 DESTRUCTION OF THE ST MARY CEMETERY IN ELLIS COUNTY, TEXAS THE UNNESSARY DESTRUCTION OF THE 1860 AFRICAN AMERICAN  ST. MARY CEMETERY IN ELLIS COUNTY, TEXAS Since March, 2012, an 1860 African American St. Mary Cemetery, located between Italy and Avalon, Ellis County, Texas has continued to be desecrated and destroyed by land owner and land developer Blair Dance of Nevada and Texas based Creek Land and Cattle LLP, and apparently, no governmental or law enforcement group will stop him. Loved ones buried here were born into or lived through slavery but  died free men and women. Those buried here served in WWI and WWII; Black Freemasons; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; members of 1883 Mosaic Templars and Eastern Star. Family members shared that Mr Dance built a new road over graves, new chain link fence over graves, filled in creek where bodies buried on either side of creek, plowed up the oldest part of the cemetery, and planted corn on top of suspected graves. The bodies and/or the cemetery dedication were never removed. Family members were never made aware of each change to the St. Mary cemetery nor did they give Mr. Blair Dance permission to make any changes to their cemetery. The west side of St. Mary Cemetery is now a plowed field  with only thousands of broken burial artifacts that use to mark graves  now glisten in the sun. The north side of the St. Mary Cemetery now has a new road over graves which family members shared with Mr. Dance in March, 2012. Family members, such as retired school teacher, Ms. Elmerine Bell, no longer knows where her great grandparents, grandparents or uncle are now buried. Sadly, symbolic broken pottery, pressed glass, cobalt blue glass, broken light bulbs, Truman coins and pennies, medicine bottles, marbles, shoes, etc. that used to mark graves now litter the corn field as well as buried inside the dirt road as well as pushes aside of the new road as common trash. In the fall of 2011, Mr. Dance, registered agent of Creek Land and Cattle LLP,  purchased  approximately 3000 acres of the 6000 acres owned by Texas Rep. Jim Pitt’s deceased wife’s family, the Eastham’s. Rep Pitts was the Texas Representative who was mentioned in the Dallas Morning News February 23, 2009 story, stating he was a big supporter of expanding gambling and casino’s in Texas as well as Rep Pitts trying to push a bill that would open the door for construction of 12 luxury casinos somewhere in Texas. Ms. Elmerine Bell immediately filed a Ellis County Sheriff report in March, 2012 as soon as she discovered the original St. Mary Cemetery fence had been removed, the west end and north side of the cemetery had been bulldozed and  a new road on the north side of the cemetery  had been built within the cemetery boundary over graves. Burial markers, plants, trees, tombstones were all bulldozed into a pile as if it was rubbish. Even though a sheriff report was filed accusing Blair Dance of abuse of corpse no criminal charges were brought against him and the destruction of the cemetery was never stopped. By August, Mr. Dance again encroached inside the St. Mary Cemetery, apparently choosing his own boundary line, dug post holes into where family members said their were graves  and put up a chain link fence. The Ellis County District Attorney, Patrick Wilson, for some reason would not press charges against Blair Dance, even though the Ellis County Sheriff Department filed a report for abuse of corpse.  There are five Texas Health and Safety Cemetery Codes, two carrying fines and jail time, as well as two penal laws protecting cemeteries, which also carry jail time and fines. I find it very curious why the Ellis County District Attorney will not enforce Texas cemetery laws against Mr. Dance.The Texas Attorney General also in letter form shared they can do nothing. The Attorney General office stated “In Texas, county and district attorneys have primary jurisdiction to pursue alleged criminal violations of the law. These prosecutors are granted extensive discretion in determining which cases will be prosecuted and how those cases will proceed before a grand jury. Prosecutors are elected officials and are ultimately answerable to their respective electorates, ” which I guess means if one doesn’t like how the Ellis County District Attorney pursues the law he or she can be voted out. The Texas Attorney General also suggested  getting a private attorney  or turn the DA into Texas State Bar of Texas if we felt he had violated Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. What is unfortunate, there are three more historic cemeteries in the Hughes Cemetery/St. Mary Cemetery area that border the St. Mary Cemetery and family members have shared that Mr. Dance says he owns part of those cemeteries also. Does Mr. Dance plan to destroy these other three cemeteries also and build on top of them without moving the bodies? Ms. Elmerine Bell has done an exceptional job documenting everything since the destruction began in March, 2012, by collecting several books of evidence showing pictures and documents of the St. Mary Cemetery destruction. Her detailed history of the events that have taken place shows one the dedication and love she has for her ancestors as well as others. I have taken pictures and videos since June, 2012 which I will eventually share on this web site along with copies of letters from the Texas Attorney General’s office,  and letters to and from the Ellis County District Attorney. Ms. Elmerine Bell is my heroine and despite all the legal rejections from her own county and state she has dealt with since March, 2012, this battle is not over. Family members have waited for almost two years for the Ellis County government officials and law enforcement to get involved by enforcing Texas cemetery laws but no one will apparently step forward to carry out the enforcement. We truly realize that one day this property will be developed but my objections as well as questions I would like answers for is why every square inch of the property had to be used. Why couldn’t the cemeteries be revered and left alone? Was that new road that important for the Creek Land and Cattle LLP to have, even if it meant encroaching into the sacred ground of the cemetery boundary? Why did the Creek Land and Cattle stop the ongoing destruction when the families made their representative Blair Dance aware of the cemetery and it’s boundaries in March, 2012? IF WE DO NOT PUT A STOP TO THE ST MARY CEMETERY DESTRUCTION BY LAND OWNERS AND LAND DEVELOPERS, YOUR HISTORIC CEMETERY COULD BE NEXT!  Please look at video on this page that shows what Ms. Bell and her family cemetery has gone through.  Just imagine, if you were no longer able to visit your loved one’s resting spot or even know where that grave is now.  We would appreciate any help or ideas you could share concerning how to save the St. Mary Cemetery. By the way, just four months ago, as stated in the Italy Neotribune  web site newspaper, the Italy, Texas cemetery in Ellis County, Texas was vandalized August 21st, 2013 and an immediate investigation was started. By August 22, the suspect turned himself in. The Chief of Police of Italy, Texas, Diron Hill,  said “We know this is a very emotional type of crime. It affects not only families but the entire Italy community. That is why the penalties are enhanced.” Hill also shared that the police department must upgrade their response to this type of crime; police have stepped up patrols in the cemetery; and the department is also researching ways to offer rewards for this type of crime from the Italy police department funding.” Italy police chief Hill said “I am very proud to say that because of the Italy Police Department we were able to solve this crime in less that 24 hours.” Why didn’t the Ellis County, Texas St. Mary Cemetery receive the same type of fair justice! Steve Pickett eye-opening news story about St Mary Cemetery destruction. Unbelievable footage of cemetery destruction:

Youtube video about the Destruction of the St. Mary Cemetery: