First let me mention that I am not related to this family.
Yoakum, Texas, Herald-Times, Wed., 1 May 2002
Steen Cemetery to be dedicated
Descendants of John Rumley and Mahala Burkett Steen will gather in the Steen Family Cemetery on May 4 at 1 p.m. to see the spot dedicated as a Texas Historical Cemetery. The cemetery is located off County Road 336 in southeastern Gonzales County near Hochheim.
The Steen family came to Gonzales County in 1846. The earliest land purchase in the area that became known as Steen Flat was by John Rumley Steen in 1849.
A year later, John married Mahala Burkett, whose family arrived in Texas in 1830, as one of 300 families brought in under Green DeWitt’s grant from Mexico. Mahala was born after the family landed in Indianola and she arrived in Gonzales County as an infant.
Mahala’s family was a part of the Runaway Scrape, in which the town of Gonzales was burned by Sam Houston’s troops after the fall of the Alamo. John and Mahala had 13 children, became prosperous and continued to acquire land, with several thousand acres eventually being owned by them or their descendants.
The cemetery began in 1863 with the burial of 12-year-old James P. Steen, John and Mahala’s oldest child. James had requested to be buried under a large live oak tree, which still shades the cemetery.
The Steen Flat area they settled grew to have cotton gin and a small store. There was a one room school for grades first through seven, which closed in 1936, when school buses began running to Gonzales. The Steens had a variety of crops and livestock, with the main cash crop being cotton.
In the 1930s, due to the boll weevil and the more profitable production of cotton in the Texas Panhandle, the family switched from farming to ranching.
The dedication will be attended by representatives from local historical organizations and a member of the Texas Historical Commission. A reception will be held after the dedication at the Riverside Building in Gonzales.