The year was 1934 and the cemetery in San Saba, Texas - the Pecan Capital of the World - was overgrown with tall weeds, briars and in a total state of decay. According to local legend, the land had been donated to the city for the cemetery by the Rogan family with the stipulation it would be maintained; otherwise, the family had the right to repossess the property.
When the city failed to keep their part of the bargain, the cemetery was taken over by the family and they deeded the land to the school district to be used as their football field. The football players were excited at the prospect of having a “real” field to play on since they had been playing games on the infield of a horse racing track at the fairgrounds just north of town.
The team volunteered to help families move the tombstones dating back to the 1860’s to a cemetery being developed at the edge of town. The players admitted they were more interested in getting the property ready for a new football field and didn’t make sure all the tombstones and corpses were moved. During various construction projects over the years, a number of tombstones have been unearthed and after heavy rains, bones have risen to the top of the soil. That is where the rest of the story begins.
Rogan Field received national attention with a 1990 article in Sports Illustrated reflecting the competitive spirit of the new football coach who embraced the superstitions of the stadium by placing a wooden sign over the entrance reading “Welcome to the Graveyard.”
Church members thought this was inappropriate and disrespectful since the field is next door to the First United Methodist Church and behind the First Baptist Church. The sign was moved and placed above the door of the visiting team’s locker room under the bleachers so it would not be viewed by the general public.
The message seemed to play on the minds of the opposing teams as there are reports of rituals being performed before a game to keep the ghosts away.
The multi-State Champion Goldthwaite Eagles were one of the most cursed teams of the haunted field during the 1990’s. Even though they won two State Championships, they lost four times in a row on Rogan Field. Maybe it was the ghost of Mollie French, or maybe Harriett Farr or even Nathaniel Burden whose bodies are among almost fifty documented to still be buried under the turf.
There are many unexplained times when a player for the opposing team was in an open field on his way to make a touchdown when he fell for no apparent reason. The player would say someone grabbed his ankle or leg only to be told there were no players anywhere close to him. It had to have been one of the ghosts that tripped him up because that is the only explanation that can be given when strange things happen at Rogan Field. The coaches and fans just look at each other, laugh and say, “The Graveyard got ‘em again.”
The sign over the visiting locker room disappeared years ago and many think it was stolen by Goldthwaite students. The fact that the football field was once a graveyard isn’t hyped like it was in years past; however, the mystique remains.
Rogan Field has everything a player could ask for with lush grass turf, history, tradition and of course it also has corpses to help the San Saba Armadillos win one more game.