Mt. Tabor Indian Cemetery/George Harlan Starr Home
Rusk County, Texas

April 9, 2005

A Starr Studded Event

The creek behind Mount Tabor Indian Cemetery is called Starr Creek

Created 4/10/2005
Updated 4/13/2005

by Paul Ridenour email

I planned a meeting in Laird Hill, Texas, at 11 AM for those interested in the Mt. Tabor Indian Cemetery so we could all meet each other, visit the cemetery, and discuss a historical marker for the cemetery.

Three-quarters of a mile from the Kilgore exit, I get a phone call from Jay Hannah.  He said he is 3/4 miles from the Kilgore exit and I said I am 3/4 miles away too.  I said "Is that you in the white truck?" My friend Gary in front of me then called and said "Hey Paul, there is a white truck in front of me with Cherokee Nation plates."  Yep, it was Jay Hannah.  He had dropped his sister off early that morning at DFW Airport.  What a coincidence!

When all three cars got to the Laird Hill Post Office just after 11 AM, there must have been 20 people in the parking lot.  I have never seen so many cars at that one horse town post office.

In the morning at 9:30, Pattie Haskins, Lynda Jones, John R. Dulin, Betty Starr Barker, and Mary Adair visited the Mayfield Cemetery.  Mary’s great grandfather Jesse Mayfield is buried there.  They also visited the Thompson Cemetery in Laird Hill.

I had two fears when I picked the date of April 9th.  I was afraid that Jay Hannah, Mary Adair, Betty Starr Barker, and JC Thompson would not be able to attend, but they all made it.  The second fear was rain.  It was a perfectly sunny day and perhaps the best one in April so far.

After everyone met at the post office, we left for the cemetery and then to George Harlan Starr's old home.

A total of 27 people attended - Dorothy (McNeir) Horner, Dorothy "Dottie" (Doyen) Ridenour, Dorothy "Dottie" Mitchell, Charles Humphrey, Jim Norris, Yozi Norris, JC Thompson, Barbara Thompson, Jesse Thompson, Christina Thompson, Jerry Ward, Frank Williamson, Sharon Williamson, Jay Hannah, Patti Haskins, John Dulin, Lynda Jones, Berry Starr Barker, Mary Adair, Helen Starr Hahn, Clinton Hahn, Gary Malone, Jana Justice, Celia Robinson, Nick Nelson (land owner's son), and Susan Weaver.

Four Starr descendants, two Major Ridge descendants, three folks from the Texas Historical Commission and/or the Rusk County Historical Commission, and a County Representative for Rusk County were present.

After visiting George Harlan Starr's house, some of us visited the Asbury Cemetery near Wright City, Texas.

Thanks Patti for the brownies and Lynda for the chocolate treats.

Mt. Tabor Indian Cemetery

Helen Starr-Hahn and Jay Hannah

Paul Ridenour, Helen Hahn, and Jay Hannah (photo by Clint Hahn)

Charles Humphrey, Dorothy Mitchell, Frank Williamson, and Clinton Hahn

Clinton Hahn, Patti Haskins, Jim Norris, and Yozi Norris

Susan Weaver, Clinton Hahn, Patti Haskins (Texas Historical Commission), and
John R. Dulin (
County Representative for Rusk County and working with the East Texas Genealogical Society)

Susan Weaver (
Vice Chairman of the Rusk County Historical Commission) discussing a historical marker for the cemetery
(Cemetery is behind the group)

Larry Ward, Betty Barker, Frank Williamson, Paul Ridenour, Sharon Williamson, Jay Hannah, Mary Adair, Helen Hahn, and Dottie Ridenour
(photo by Clint Hahn)

Gary Malone found what appears to be another grave

George Harlan Starr Home

J. C. Thompson (Texas Cherokee tribal administrator) and daughter-in-law Christina Thompson

Larry Ward and Frank Williamson (self-proclaimed Cherokee history and Civil War historian)

Lynda Jones (Rusk County Historical Commission), Celia Robinson, John R. Dulin, and Clinton Hahn

Mary Adair, Sharon Williamson, and Frank Williamson

Helen Hahn, Clinton Hahn, and Dottie Ridenour walking back from the barn

Dorothy Mitchell

Celia Robinson, Jay Hannah, and Jerry Charles Thompson

Jay Hannah discussing how James Starr was murdered "...he was killed in the typical tribal ceremony - his front yard."

Four Starrs in front of the once 4-star home of George Harlan Starr and Nancy (Bell) Starr
Mary Adair, Jay Hannah, Helen Starr-Hahn, and Betty Starr Barker

Jerry Charles Thompson "JC"

Larry Ward, Patti Haskins, Frank Williamson, Jay Hannah, and Sharon Williamson

Betty Starr Barker, Dorothy Horner, and Dottie Ridenour

Artwork by Mary Adair

Artwork by Mary Adair's son

Jana Justice, a Choctaw and poet, wrote a poem In Memory of Mount Tabor Indian Cemetery with its unmarked graves:

Unmarked Silence

Remember me as you gather
on this hill, and in everyday places.
Look for me in the little ones’ smiles
that mirror my image on innocent faces. 

Listen for me in your voice,
when you are strong and bold and loud.
Watch for me as your son stands tall,
for my stance is always proud.

The fire in your eyes reflects my steady gaze
as I walked a treacherous trail of tears.
That same strength of a tribe, a people,
flows through bloodlines and down the years. 

We may lie in unmarked silence
but our legacy spans generations.
Live Strong! Be Proud!
You are the Cherokee Nation.

© J.C. Justice