La Feria News

Pay It Forward La Feria helps clean up historic Solis Cemetery

by NELDA BRIONES
LFN

Once La Feria’s Pay It Forward program heard some local concerns about the historical Solis Cemetery needing maintenance, program organizer Alejandro Paz knew he had to do something about it. Thanks to the program the Solis Cemetery in La Feria has been cleaned up for now. Paz mentioned that to be able to continue the maintenance, it takes money to be able to pay the people who do the cleaning.

This time around Pay It Forward had enough money donated to pay the workers. Also, if people who have loved ones buried at the cemetery donated once a month it could be kept up regularly Paz stated. Some plots are cleaned up by family members, but the majority of the place is out grown with grass and weeds.

The Cemetery has a lot of ground to cover so hopefully with the help of donations to the pay it forward program could help maintain it.

The Solis Cemetery historic marker was erected in 2010. The marker reads:

Juan Jose Solis, grantee of porción 107 in Starr County and founder of El Soliseño, Mexico, was patriarch of the Solis family in this area. His grandson Francisco (1801-1876), and his wife Anastacia Rivas de Solis (b. 1808), were early residents of Point Isabel and Brownsville, later settling in La Feria. Their son Lazaro (1840-1904) and his brother-in-law Ysabel Cantu (b. 1849) bought about 5,000 acres of the La Feria grant in July 1898, establishing the Solis Ranch. Within its boundaries the men and their families raised cattle, horses and goats and grew several crops. When Lazaro died suddenly while visiting family in Point Isabel, his body was brought back to the ranch for burial, a common practice in that era. His is the first burial in Solis Cemetery, also known as San Francisco Cemetery. In 1905, Lazaro’s widow Francisca (1853-1911) partitioned Lazaro’s land among herself and her seven children. Lazaro and Francisca’s hand-lettered concrete spanish-language grave marker is signed “Juan, Mateo and Gumercindo Del Mísmo Appelído” ([sons] Juan, Mateo and Gumercindo of the same last name). In 1929, Solis Cemetery was surveyed and platted and a public road was developed to provide access. The cemetery is an active family burial ground of more than three acres. Sparsely shaded by mesquites and other native trees, the cemetery has more than 300 graves, most of which have markers of wood, stone, bronze or concrete. Solis Cemetery is the final resting place of known and unknown people of hispanic, anglo and african-american descent, and as many as five generations of the Solis family. Veterans of World War II and the Korean War Are buried here. This burial ground is testimony to generations of local ranching and family traditions. Historic Texas Cemetery – 2002 Marker is property of the State of Texas

You can learn more about Alejandro Paz and Pay It Forward by visiting the Pay It Forward page or the Alejandro Pay It Forward La Feria Fundraiser page on Facebook. Paz can be reached by email at alejandropaz85@icloud.com or by phone at (956) 202-6533.

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