Visiting the Infamous Baby Head Cemetery

The historical marker located about 10 miles north of Llano, in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, succinctly tells the story of Baby Head Cemetery:

According to local oral tradition, the name Babyhead was given to the mountain in this area in the 1850s when a small child was killed by Native Americans in the United States, and its remains left on the mountain. A local creek also carried the name, and a pioneer community founded in the 1870s became known as Baby Head. The oldest documented grave here is that of another child, Jodie May McKneely, who died on New Year’s Day 1884. The cemetery is the last physical reminder of the Baby Head community, which once had numerous farms, homes and businesses.

When I wrote for Examiner about 10 years ago, my assignments included investigations and articles about infamous haunted locations in San Antonio and south central Texas.

I had spoken with people about Baby Head Cemetery, but only recently visited it for the first time. The day was perfect with wildflowers greeting us along our road trip to a convention at Grapevine, near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

We were in no rush, so we took a more leisurely drive away from busy IH35, to maximize the enjoyment of colorful wildflowers through the Hill Country.

Inspired by award winning Texas author Cindy Leal Massey’s book, Texas, What Lies Beneath, we try visiting more such sites in our travels.

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This particular cemetery is the only thing remaining in the area that marks where a flourishing 19th-century town once stood. The story behind its spooky moniker is said to have its origins in the finding of an infant’s skull on the very same land (also referred to as Baby Head Mountain).

 A post office was established there in 1879 and remained in operation until 1918. The small rural community which once had numerous farms, homes, a school and businesses eventually dwindled to only a handful of folks.

However, by 1968, there were only 20 residents remaining. Sadly (as well as quite eerily),  the only thing left behind to ever indicate its existence is a historical marker and Baby Head Cemetery.

 In 2019, it was included in a list of Texas cemeteries considered to be haunted. But one could only prove that with an actual visit!

photo by Jack Dennis

The most common story is that sometime between the 1850s and 1870s, a group of Native Americans kidnapped a young girl from a local family in an effort to scare off the encroaching settlers.

The girl was killed with her head placed on a stake at the foot of the mountain. This resulted in the grim title that both the mountain and the town took on. Over time, with the diminishing population, the name was abandoned, and the town’s small population became a part of the city of Llano.

photo by Jack Dennis

Llano historian Alline Elliot puts the date of the girl’s kidnapping as 1873, citing stories from her late husband, Sidney. He had worked for a man who, as a teen, actually went with the party to search for the baby. Alline even gives names to the individuals involved, stating the baby’s name was Mary Elizabeth, and the father Bill Buster.

The cemetery is the final resting place for a few dozen folks, many of whom died in the 19th century and some as recently as the past few years. Many of the old headstones are so weathered that they are hard to read. But, in spite of their deteriorating condition, you can still make out the epitaphs on many of the old tombstones.

This broken headstone marks the grave of Susan McCoy who died in 1893.

photo by Jack Dennis

Remember friends as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me

 IN GOD WE TRUST

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5 comments

  1. I drove past Babyhead Cemetery on my way to Llano Cemetery when I was researching the book. Unfortunately, I was unable to stop for a visit because it was getting late and I was on a schedule. Thanks for sharing this story about this cemetery with such an intriguing name. There are so many such cemeteries in Texas. It was so hard to select just a few….

    Liked by 3 people

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