Descendants of families buried at Hockley Clay cemetery learn about family tree

Once-hidden gravesite was rediscovered in 2018

SAN ANTONIO – The Hockley-Clay Cemetery is a site of a family revelation and a place where its descendants are working towards preservation.

“No matter what race or creed, cemeteries are sacred ground,” Everett Fly, a landscape architect helping the families said. “(They are) places where our ancestors are buried.”

The once-hidden gravesite was rediscovered in 2018.

“You always want to know your relatives at some point,” Carolyn Palmer said.

Researchers believe her maternal grandmother is among those believed to be buried at the cemetery.

“That is really a sweet, pleasant confirmation that now you know for sure,” Palmer said.

Descendant Velmil Clay hopes more relatives are identified.

“We’ve been interested in bringing the family together,” he said. “I’ve met relatives that I didn’t even know I had.”

Fly said some of those buried at the Hockley Clay cemetery are tied to families in other cemeteries.

“It turns out that the Hockley Clay family is actually related to the Winters and the Griffins,” he said.

The journey to preservation is a long one.

“The next steps are for the family to organize a cemetery land trust,” Fly said. “That way, going forward, in the future, they won’t have the same problems.”

About the Authors

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

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