Wealth of Texas History – My Book Review


Cynthia Leal Massey
Genre: Regional History / 19th Century/ Landmarks & Monuments/ Travel Pictorial
Publisher: TwoDot
Date of Publication: August 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 400 pages w/77 B&W photos
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Texas, the second largest state, both in land mass and population, has more than 50,000 burial grounds. As the final resting places of those whose earthly journey has ended, they are also repositories of valuable cultural history. Pioneer cemeteries provide a wealth of information on the people who settled Texas during its years as a Republic (1836-1845), and after it became the 28th state in 1845. In What Lies Beneath: Texas Pioneer Cemeteries and Graveyards, Cynthia Leal Massey exhumes the stories of these pioneers, revealing the fascinating truth behind the earliest graveyards in the Lone Star State, including some of its most ancient. This guide also provides descriptions of headstone features and symbols and demystifies the burial traditions of early Texas pioneers and settlers.
                     Click To Purchase!

Wealth of Texas History – My Book Review

What Lies Beneath Bookstagram - Christena

“All my heart is buried with you/All my thoughts go onward with you/Come not back again to labor/come not back again to suffer/soon your footsteps I shall follow/to the land of the hereafter!”

What Lies Beneath is a wealth of Texas historical stories about long passed souls who found their way to Texas. Those souls are what helped make Texas what it is today. Learning this history was refreshing and completely new.

Author Cynthia Leal Massey took me on a Texas-wide historical journey into the major geographical regions that make up this state. While each region is idiosyncratic the people who settled in those regions were equally distinctive.

Just like learning from any history book, What Lies Beneath, expanded my knowledge base tremendously of the people who helped create our great state.  Massey’s book makes learning about history more enjoyable than a straight history text.

I will share that long ago one of my parental grandmother’s had her baby daughter reinterred in another cemetery on a journey of about 100 miles. That was just weird to me as a young girl. Because there was no casket anymore, only the bones and strands of the blue dress she’d been buried in. Then after reading What Lies Beneath I found out it was quite the common thing to do back in the 1800s and early 1900s – digging up people and reinterring them in another location. That is just extraordinary to me.

Zinc monuments are something else Massey introduced me to in this book. Plus, it was quite common amongst the early Texas settlers to remarry, often more than once, twice, or three times. I learned about the Center Point Cemetery and its ties to the Texas Rangers.

Many murders occurred in Texas while this state was gaining a foothold. There were a lot of strong women back then that endured a lot to call Texas home.  I will definitely be checking out one of the books Massey mentions in her book, Lady with the Pen: Elise Waerenskjold in Texas. I also learned about the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and its secret, as well as Assault the thoroughbred.

I agree with Massey that cemeteries are important to our collective histories and humanities. While I acknowledge the controversy surrounding the history of our Confederate past – it is our past and one we should never forget. In all truthfulness, our country would be quite different without that Confederate legacy.

If you are a lover of Texas history then this book should become part of your library. If you are a taphophile then you will definitely love this book.

Award-winning author Cynthia Leal Massey is a former corporate editor, college instructor, and magazine editor. She has published hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles and eight books. A full-time writer who publishes history columns for community publications, Cynthia was raised on the south side of San Antonio. She has resided in Helotes since 1994, and has served on the Helotes City Council since 2008, serving twice as Mayor Pro Tem. She is also president of the Historical Society of Helotes.
Cynthia, a former president of Women Writing the West, is a recipient of the Will Rogers Silver Medallion Award for her nonfiction book, Death of a Texas Ranger, A True Story of Murder and Vengeance on the Texas Frontier, which also won the San Antonio Conservation Society Publication Award. She is the recipient of several literary awards, including the WILLA Literary Finalist Award for Best Original Softcover Fiction for her novel, The Caballeros of Ruby, Texas, called by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry, “a vivid picture of the Rio Grande Valley as it was fifty years ago and a very good read.”

Three autographed copies of
What Lies Beneath, Texas Pioneer Cemeteries and Graveyards.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 10/15/21)

or visit the blogs directly:
10/5/21 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
10/5/21 BONUS Sneak Peek Hall Ways Blog
10/6/21 Guest Post The Clueless Gent
10/6/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
10/7/21 Review Jennie Reads
10/8/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
10/9/21 Scrapbook Page Chapter Break Book Blog
10/10/21 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
10/11/21 Review The Plain-Spoken Pen
10/12/21 BONUS Review Book Fidelity
10/13/21 Excerpt Sybrina’s Book Blog
10/13/21 Review Forgotten Winds
10/14/21 Review The Book’s Delight
blog tour services provided by