American flags have been dispersed among the graves of veterans at the Pickwick-McAdams Cemetery at PK Lake to honor and remember those who served our country. The site originally served the family of Captain William C. McAdams, local rancher, veteran of the Mexican War, and a Texas Ranger. The cemetery grew to serve the community and was named McAdams Cemetery until it was found the name was already in use. The cemetery association voted to change the name to Pickwick- McAdams. Graves were moved from the Carter Cemetery just up the river to the southern side of Pickwick-McAdams in 1940 when the construction of the lake began. Most of these graves were unmarked. One of the oldest graves from Carter Cemetery that has a marker is Frank Yelk who was born in 1814 and died in 1879. The first marked grave was that of Mrs. Mary M. Couger who died in 1889. The oldest person buried here is Mrs. Rebecca E. May who was 99 yrs., one month, and eleven days. There are many children’s markers who died from influenza in the 1900’s. Eugene Constantin of Dallas had the cemetery surveyed in 1969 and donated additional land to enlarge the cemetery.
About the only division at the cemetery is by family plot even though there are some individual graves. Farmers and ranchers of mainly European descent make up most of the early interments. An unknown African American who worked for Shapely Carter was one of those moved from Carter Cemetery. There is one Jewish marker of Harry Cohen who was well known in Mineral Wells and Possum Kingdom. Scripture and poetry on markers are common as part of the legacy of those with faith. Many markers also display occupations or lifestyles with engraved ranching scenes, motorcycles, air planes newspaper, radio microphone, paint brush, carpenter tools, favorite pickup, scuba diver, views of the lake including Hells Gate, and hunting and fishing scenes. One veteran’s marker describes his job as a horseshoer for the US Army. A medallion on a young girl’s marker shows she was an organ donor while another medallion described a lady as being a member of the Rosie the Riveter Association during World War II.
Veteran’s markers provided by the Armed Forces are found all across the cemetery. Some are also marked on private headstones. John H. Perry who served the 5th Texas Partisan Rangers is the only marked Confederate soldier known in the cemetery. Captain McAdams marker noted his service in the Mexican War. At least three veterans were described as serving in World War I. The majority of vets interred served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Joseph Parsons, 1887-1966 marker described that he received the Purple Heart with oak clusters during World War II. Several Bronze Star recipients are also described on markers. Frank Radspinner who was buried here in 2009 received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, and dozens of related awards and accomplishments as a master Army aviator.
Cemeteries are a page out of history that tells the stories of our country and local communities. They can reveal historical events such as wars, lifestyles, and the genealogy of families. It is important to remember those who came before us and those who served our country. The next time you drive by Pickwick- McAdams or any cemetery, make a quick salute.