Benjamin Thomas Ellis (1825-1870) was born to John I. and Elizabeth Ann (Goolsby) Ellis in Alabama. The family moved to Texas in 1839, and by 1850 he was living with his wife, Martha E. (Shirley) Ellis and their one-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, on the land around this site. Family oral history indicates that the cemetery began as a family graveyard. The land is part of the Benjamin T. Ellis survey. According to oral history, Benjamin Ellis, Jr. (d. 1843) and his wife, Hannah (McHenry) Ellis (d. 1861), parents of John I.Ellis, were among the first people buried on this site. The earliest marked grave is that of their daughter, Nancy M. (Ellis) Milliken, who died in 1862 after the birth of her sixth child. Her husband, John C. Milliken, who was a member of the Texas militia during the Civil War, died in 1868 and is buried next to her. Benjamin T. Ellis, who also served in the Texas militia during the Confederacy, is buried nearby. Rockland Cemetery was deeded to the trustees of the newly organized Rockland Church by J. S. and Ellen l. (Ellis) Burton in 1890. The congregation established a church and school building in front of the cemetery in 1892, and the site became a community social center. It served until about 1900, when it was moved two miles west to be closer to students' homes. Rockland Common School District #13 was created in 1911 and operated until 1939 when students were transferred to Lovelady schools. Official consolidation with Lovelady schools occurred in 1947. The union church continued to hold services in the building until 1942. The cemetery, enlarged in 1992 with a two-acre land donation, continues in use and remains a chronicle of early pioneers. (2000) Incising on reverse: In memory of Eltice Higginbotham Barrier and Joe and Laura Sharp Higginbotham
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