PIONEER CEMETERY Highway 118 , Fort Davis Outskirts , 1967
“ Used from 1870 ’ s to 1914 . Settlers buried here include Mr . and Mrs . Diedrick Dutchover , immigrants from Belgium and Spain ; their surname , coined by a recruiter in the Mexican War , is borne by many descendants .
“ Dolores who on her wedding eve lighted a signal fire for her fiancé later found scalped by Indians ; she became mentally ill and ( until her death 30 years later ) burned fires on mountain near town for her lost lover .
“ Two young Frier brothers , who were shot by a ranger posse as horse thieves and were buried in only boothill grave in county .”
There ’ s a lot of information crammed onto this tiny plaque . Anton Dietrich ( noted elsewhere in Fort Davis histories as being German rather than Belgian ) and his wife , an Hispanic woman , accepted the nickname of ‘ Dutchover ’ bestowed upon them . Anton first came to the area as a mail coach guard on its first run to the fort in They remained in the area when Fort Davis was initially abandoned just prior to the Civil War , when all 48 voting inhabitants of the area elected to remain in the Union and the U . S . soldiers stationed there retreated to San Antonio . They became substantial landowners , ranching their holdings with great success .
Dolores Gavino Doporto was engaged to a young goatherd named Jose . He was killed by Mescalero Apaches in Musquiz Canyon while tending his goats shortly before the wedding . Every Thursday night for the following thirty or forty years she climbed the mountain to light a fire in his memory , and upon her death in 1893 she was buried near the path she had worn up the slope . The mountain is now called Dolores Mountain .
A boothill cemetery or grave is one in in which the buried “ died with their boots on ,” in other words in gunfights , by hanging or in the course of criminal activity . In 1896 Jude and Arthur Frier and an unknown third person stole a dozen horses near Big Lake , as well as guns and supplies from a farmhouse . Horse thieving was a capital offense in those days , and a warrant was issued for the boys , ages 15 and 19 . When Texas Rangers caught up with them they refused to surrender and a shootout ensued , with both Frier brothers killed in the gunfire and the third party making an escape . They were buried in the Pioneer Cemetery with their boots on , at a cost to the county of $ 13 for two pine coffins and an extra dollar each for the grave digging . Their site is the first a visitor sees upon entering the cemetery .
Look for more Historical Markers in upcoming issues of the Cenizo .
Cenizo Fall 2021