Bula Cemetery Association remembers the dead, shows faith in the living

BY GAIL M. WILLIAMS
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

Because a grave is not marked does not mean that the person buried there does not deserve to be remembered.
Betty Harlan, president of Bula Cemetery Association, knows that the town of Bula was once home to a post office, a school and a gin. There was also a cemetery, and though the graves were unmarked, she felt the people that were gone deserved to be remembered.
“At one time Bula was a functioning town,” Harlan said. “A very few people still have homes there, but no businesses or post office are open. The town of Bula has ceased to exist except in memory.”
In 1975 Harlan was in Washington, D.C., lobbying as part of the group Texas Women for Cotton. The women heard a speech that urged them to go back home, look around for a park or public facility needing their attention, and make it part of their patriotic Bicentennial project and contribution to their community.
“I chose the Bula Cemetery,” Harlan said. “I was elected president of the Bula Cemetery Association, and I am still the president.”
To raise funds for the cemetery, Harlan and a group of women made quilts, which they sold, and ran a thrift shop in Bula.
“I was lucky to be able to get the support of lots of people in the community, and we began to have work days to clean up the cemetery and find who was buried there,” Harlan said.
After a year of hard work, the association managed to fence the cemetery, install a new gate and put up a stone with names and information about the people their research shows are buried there.
The list of the buried as transcribed by Sheriff Jerry Hicks is brief and poignant, with several infants among the deceased. The earliest burials are from 1931 and the most recent is from the 1950s.
On July 4, 1976, the Bula Cemetery Association held a dedication ceremony which included raising a flag on the new flagpole and burying a time capsule. Bailey County Judge Glen Williams gave the dedication speech in front of 65 people. Refreshments and a reception followed in the cemetery.
“The flag has flown almost continuously since the day of the dedication and burial of the time capsule,” Harlan said. “My son was in the Air Force and flew all over the world. I promised him that there would always be a flag flown at Bula for him. When other boys from the community went to the military I told them that also.”
Since Harlan now spends most of her time in Lubbock, another woman has volunteered to keep the flag flying.
According to a newspaper clipping, the time capsule buried at the cemetery contains: commemorative stamps, arts and crafts, prices of various merchandise, prices of field crops; current grocery prices, current men’s and women’s clothing styles, life histories; a Bible, farming practices and a list of all Bula community residents in 1976.
The document authenticating the time capsule is held at the Muleshoe Area Public Library. A copy provided by Dyan Dunagan shows that the time capsule was placed July 4, 1976, and will be dug up July 4, 2026. The location of the capsule is shown by a permanent granite marker.
The document speaks of the faith of the community of Bula in future generations and of their belief that future generations will be curious about their daily lives as lived in the Bicentennial Year of our Nation.
Directions to the cemetery as given by Sheriff Jerry Hicks follow:
Travel 13 miles south of Muleshoe on Texas Highway 214 to Needmore, then 4 miles east on Texas Highway 298  to Circle Back, then turn south on Highway FM 3397. The cemetery is about 7 miles south of Circle Back and is located on the east side of the road.
Cemetery graves as recorded and transcribed by Hicks:
Last Name, First, Middle, Birth, Death, Epithet, Marker Number
Adamson, Opal L., 1931, 1931, A001
Attaway, James Newton, July 22, 1953 in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, June 12, 1947
Bray, Lewis A., 1936, 1936, A002
Cleveland, James, Not listed, 1932, A003
Clevenger, Wanda , 1935, 1935, A004
Darnell, Baby Boy, 1935, 1935, A005
Kelsey, Bernie J., 1950, 1951, A006
Kelsey, Billy J., 1950, 1951, A007
Miraval, Ruben, 1940’s, 1950’s, A008
Morrow, Dorothy D., Not listed, 1931, A009
Morrow, Twin Sister, Not listed, 1931, A010
Pierce, Baby Boy, 1933, 1933, A011
Spanish Man, Not listed, 1936, A012
Tubb, Daniel, 1880, 1932, A013
Photo: Betty Harlan, Nonnie Blackman, Fay Jones
Dyan Library 1 806-272-4707
Betty Harlan, Bula Cemetery Association president
946-8588, email betty@fivearea.com Address is Lubbock
From newspaper
clipping:
Commemorative stamps to arts and crafts, and prices of various merchandise and field crops were included in the capsule. Along with current grocery prices and current men’s and women’s styles were all included in the long list of items to be placed in the time capsule. Also life histories, a Bible, farming practices and a current list of all present Bula community residents were placed in the time capsule.
Now living in Lubbock, Harlan was a resident of Bula from 1953 until 2013.
In 1975 she traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of a group
Is Bula still a functioning town? School closed in 1975, recently burned down, gin closed. Pop. Down to 35 in 2000 from a high of 105 in 1980 and 1990. Est. as Newsome in 1924, changed to Bula in 1925. Still had post office in 1990.
How long since anyone buried in the cemetery? What was the most recent burial? Is it a Texas Historical site?
Time capsule: Would Dyan know the location of the document given to the library to hold in 1976?
Bicentennial time capsule – Dyan will send.
My son was always
the “flag boy” when he was little, and this is a picture of him now after he flew all over the world as an Air Force pilot, and is again the “flag boy” come home.  Thank you very much.
Betty Harlan
Betty emails:
Is Bula still a functioning town? Does anyone still live there?   At one time it was a functioning town.   There are a very few people still have homes there, but no businesses or post office are open.  The town of Bula has ceased to exist except in memory.
How many were buried in the cemetery?  Since all the graves are lost, and no gravestones the committee in 1976 made record searches of three counties and came up with the conclusion that there were 13 people buried.
Who was the earliest person buried and when?  I am sending you by separate e-mail the material that is on record which includes the list of people buried.
Who was the last person buried and when?
Is the cemetery an official Texas Historical site?  No.
What is your personal interest in the cemetery and the town of Bula?  I was a resident of the Bula community from 1953 until 2013.  In 1975 I was with a group of “Texas Women for Cotton” that was lobbying in Washington, DC.  It was the year before the Bi-Centennial and we were given a speech by someone in Washington that we should go back home; look around for a park or some public facility  needing attention and make it your patriotic bi-centennial project and contribution to your community.  I chose the Bula Cemetery.   I was elected President of the Bula Cemetery Association, and I am still the President.   To make the money to do all this, a group of us women quilted and sold quilts, and also had a thrift shop in Bula.   We made the money to do all the things listed below.  I was lucky to be able to get the support of lots of people in the community and we began to have work days to clean it up and find who was buried there.   It took a year of hard work and cooperation but we managed to fence the cemetery, get a new gate, put up a stone with the names and information about all that we think are buried there, get a flag pole, and bury the time capsule.   The flag has flown almost continuously since the day of the dedication and burial of the time capsule. My son was in the Air Force and flew all over the world and I promised him that there would always be a flag flown at Bula for him.  When other boys from the community went to the military I told them that also.  Now that I am having to stay in Lubbock, one of the ladies in the community has taken over the flag being flown.  She and her husband have also been instrumental in getting the new sign on the gate.
When we buried the time capsule on July 4, 1976 Judge Glen Williams, Bailey County Judge, gave the dedication speech. There were 65 people there, we served refreshments and had a reception right there in the cemetery.
I›ll be available the rest of today and all day Monday. The paper goes to print at noon Tuesday.
I am available by e-mail to check if you have any more inquiries today.  I check my e-mail real often, in fact I have a lot of work to do on my computer today.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: