Human remains found during construction on mall property

Saturday, August 23, 2014
Human remains found buried near mall
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Construction work was halted on the Brazos Mall property after the discovery

LAKE JACKSON, TX (KTRK) -- A startling find on a mall's property in Brazoria County brought construction to a halt. Crews discovered human remains buried near the Brazos Mall's property. The discovery was just feet from a historic cemetery. However, the find revealed much more than imagined.

Patty Sayes is the mall manager. She has worked for years to make sure what's known as the "Mount Zion Cemetery" remained undisturbed on the property. She explained the mall's construction crews were putting in water and sewer lines when they found three human remains. The mall hired an archaeological team to investigate the find. Sayes said they were surprised to learn the bones pre-date the Civil War.

"We're finding this rich history about this area that we didn't know before," said Sayes. "It's very incredible. We're also surprised and very cognizant that this is hallowed ground. We are going to safeguard it."

Local history buffs like Johnney Pollan explained the property used to be an old sugar plantation. Pollan serves as a steward for the Texas Historical Commission. There is growing belief that the "Mount Zion Cemetery" isn't related to a 1940s church. Instead, the graveyard may have been where slaves and state prisoners were buried at the Abner Jackson Plantation site.

"The Jackson plantation is only about a mile and a half from this location," said Pollan. "What we believe were the slave quarters are probably less than a half a mile from here."

Sayes said the mall plans to section off the area and leave the cemetery in peace. It is already listed as a historical cemetery.