Magnolia Cemetery is full of marvelous statues, monuments, and mausoleums, which are lasting tributes to the who’s who of Beaumont history. I admit I have spent more time there, strolling through this majestic locale, than at the many other SETX cemeteries that I haunt. For me it has always been a special place. Unfortunately, one of the most stunning memorials to grace this hallowed ground no longer stands. Why? Let us delve into the story.
Miles Franklin Yount was born in Arkansas in January 1880. At age 15 he moved to Texas and began working in the rice and oil fields. Eighteen years later, he formed the Yount Oil Company, which became the Yount-Lee Oil Company in 1915. In that same year he married Pansy Merrit. In 1925 one of his wells struck oil and thus began Spindletop’s second oil boom.
Frank Yount was known as the “Godfather of Beaumont” because of the aid he provided for building projects in the city of Beaumont in the late 20s and early 30s. He even loaned money to the city to meet its payroll demands in 1932.
Sadly, in November 1933 Yount perished from a sudden heart attack. Pansy, his wife, decided to build a huge mausoleum in honor of her dear departed husband, but one day, while walking through the mausoleum, she noticed a bit of debris on the floor. Fearing its eventual collapse, she asked the architect how long the mausoleum would remain standing. The architect replied that it would be good for around 500 years. To Pansy, this was not long enough, and she had the mausoleum torn down. Both are now buried side by side in bronze vaults on the same grounds where the mausoleum once stood. I have no idea how long these vaults will last, but as you can see by the photos of the mausoleum, it is a shame that this is not still standing. Nevertheless, Pansy has her own story, and I can only respect what may have been going on at the time.
Sources: Handbook on Texas, Judith Linsley, Beaumont: A Chronicle of Promise