BENAVIDES - The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized La Mota de Olmos Ranch Family Cemetery as a significant part of Texas history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker. The designation honors this historic family cemetery as an important and educational part of local history.

A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held on Oct. 21,  from 3 p.m. till 4 p.m. at the marker location at 1631 E. Fm Rd. 2295, about two miles east of Benavides. Speakers for the afternoon will include Honorable Judge Ricardo “Rocky” Carrillo.

The Duval County Historical Commission welcomes the public to share in and witness this exciting historical event.

“The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasures and the importance of their preservation,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the THC. “Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state’s history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources.”

A subject qualifies for a marker if two basic criteria are met: historical significance and age. Historical significance is established by reviewing its role and importance in local history, and the age requirement depends on the topic. The THC’s Official Texas Marker Policies are outlined in the Official Texas Historical Marker Procedures, which may be obtained by contacting the History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission, at 512-463-5853 or visit the web site at www.thc.texas.gov.

In addition, designated Historic Texas Cemeteries can reveal information about historic events, religion, lifestyles, and genealogy.

The marker inscription will say

"Begun in 1894, The La Mota de Olmos Cemetery sits on land originally part of the Rancho La Mota de Olmos (The Cluster of Elms). The ranch, settled by the Bazan family, was founded by Francisco Bazan Villarreal, a native of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, on land granted to him in the 1870s. Several of those buried here were also born on the ranch with one of the earliest burials being the oldest child of Juan Bazan, son of Francisco Bazan. The first person to be buried, however, was a ranch hand. Other burials include Francisco Bazan (d. 1909) and Don Pedro Bazan (d. 1934), a well known curandero, or healer. The cemetery, approximately 250 feet by 250 feet, contains more than 100 graces and remains active."

The HTC designation was developed in 1998 to help protect historic cemeteries by recording cemetery boundaries in county deed records to alert present and future owners of land adjacent to the cemetery of its existence.  La Mota de Olmos Cemetery received the HTC designation in 2009, and the Historical Marker Designation in 2010. “Duval County has a rich history of early pioneer families and their contributions. It is vital that as we move forward, we do not forget our past. Not only will the Texas Historical Marker provide awareness in the community of our fascinating history, but it will serve to honor and preserve the memory of family members who played a role in the development of the area,” said Graciela T. Gonzales, Chairman of Duval County Historical Commission.

There are three types of Texas Historical Markers. Subject markers are posted solely for public education awareness and awarded more frequently than the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL), which is a legal designation for historic structures and comes with a measure of protection. Unlike subject markers, the RTHL must also meet a third criterion--architectural integrity. Historic Texas Cemetery (HTC) markers identify cemeteries which have obtained the HTC designation and whose histories have been researched in detail.

Texas has the largest marker program in the United States with approximately 15,000 markers. Seventeen states have used the Texas program as a model; the THC reviews more than 300 marker applications each year.

The Texas Historical Commission is the state agency for historic preservation. The agency administers a variety of programs to preserve the archeological, historical and cultural resources of Texas. www.thc.texas.gov