Entry page photo:
Monk Cemetery by Texas History Hunter (courtesy of Sherry Hightower)
MONK CEMETERY. Sometimes referred to as the Monk-Teal Cemetery. 1870 -. Located in northern Harris County about two miles west of Interstate 45, about one mile south of Spring Creek, the border between Harris and Montgomery counties. The cemetery is located on land originally owned by Daniel J Monk. First known burial was that of Elizabeth P McAdams Teal, born in 1815 and died January 22 1870 at age 54. In 1867 William Carroll Teal purchased 100 acres from Monk. On 10 Mar 1880, Teal sold this same one hundred acres, less one acre reserved for a grave yard, to his first cousin, A J McAdams. Six years later, McAdams paid the lien in full and was given a clear deed to the property. The legal description of the property was the same as in Harris Co, TX Deeds, Vol. 20, Page 600, including the statement less one acre of land, reserved for the graveyard. Title remains in possession of the heirs of William Carroll Teal.
Anne Shelton, Cemetery Committee Chairman
Committee Members: Susan Armstrong and Shelby Rulf Cantrell
Webpage by Trevia Wooster Beverly. email@example.com
The rich and diverse history of Harris County is reflected in historic cemeteries from the Baytown-Cedar Bayou area to Katy, from Humble to Bellaire, from the Cypress area to La Porte, and all that is within our county line. From the obscure family plot to the grandeur of Glenwood, these cemeteries tell stories of the forgotten pioneer and the world famous.
To paraphrase Ben Franklin, to know the character of a community, you need only to visit their cemeteries. Preservationists, genealogists and historians realize that cemeteries are a significant part of our heritage and should be preserved. The official state designation and historical marker will be just one phase in protecting them from urban encroachment and vandalism.
The Harris County Historical Commission (HCHC) offers help by presenting programs, making site visits and evaluations, and guiding individuals and organizations through the Texas Historical Commission’s Historic Texas Cemetery programs.
This site is a “work in progress.” Please visit again.
How to Save A Cemetery
Texas Historical Designations & Markers
To date approximately 1,400 Texas cemeteries have attained the official designation of Historic Texas Cemetery. While the HTC designation does not prevent all destructive activities, the official state recognition will make people aware of the importance of each of these cemeteries - and in turn create respect and reverence among the community for preserving these sacred landmarks.
How to apply for a cemetery designation and Historic Cemetery markers.
Texas Historical Commission http://www.thc.state.tx.us/ See the Menu to the left: Cemeteries and then specific items to access.
Texas Cemetery Laws
Found under the Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapters 694–715 are laws that pertain to perpetual care, ownership, dedication, abandonment, petition for guardianship and access, among others.
The Texas State Penal Code regulates criminal mischief, desecration, graffiti and theft. Other possible regulations include the State Antiquities Code and Federal 106 Code.
An easy to use website is Cemetery Law in Texas by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law, at http://www.burger.com/cemlaw.htm.
Harris County Cemetery Listings
At Rest: A Historical Directory of Harris County, Texas, Cemeteries (1822-2001) Including Burial Customs and Other Interesting Facts, With a Listing of Past and Present Communities, Funeral Home and Monument Companies by Trevia Wooster Beverly. (Houston TX: Tejas Publications & Research, 1994; 2001; 2010).
Harris County, Texas cemeteries designated by the Texas Historical Commission as official Historic Texas Cemeteries. Click on Historical Marker Inventory on the HCHC menu.
Texas Historical Commission (click on Atlas) http://www.thc.state.tx.us/
Burial Sites of Harris County, Texas
George Wolf’s Cemeteries of Harris Co, Texas https://sites.google.com/site/cemeteriesofharriscotexas/
(African-American). Descendants of Olivewood http://www.descendantsofolivewood.org/
(African-American). College Park Cemetery Association http://www.collegeparkcemetery.net/
Glenwood Cemetery http://www.glenwoodcemetery.org/
Hollywood Cemetery http://www.hhcemetery.com/
Washington Cemetery http://www.washingtoncemetery.org/
Dawson Lunnon Cemetery by George E. Wolf ,Jr. (2010)
The Baytown Genealogy Society: http://www.baytowngenealogylibrary.org/
Paul U. Lee Funeral Home Records (1923-1951) as well as a listing of Baytown’s cemeteries.
Cemeteries fascinate some people, and with the advent of digital cameras and UTube, many choose to spend their spare time in documenting them. Use Google or another server and enter Houston, Texas Cemeteries on UTube – see what you come up with!
Hints for successful cemetery research
Once located, research the property. Learn history of the neighborhood. When did it began, or what is the date of the earliest burial? How large is it? Who owns it? Is there a cemetery organization or care group in place?
Cemetery photography: Have you been told that you can’t take gravestone photographs? Is permission required?
The answer to this question is really basic, but it’s one that just about every genealogist and the taphophile tend to forget. It’s the law of property rights. Any landowner — public or private — has certain rights to control what happens on that land. Even when the land is publicly owned and dedicated to a public purpose, such as a park, the landowner is absolutely entitled to impose time, place and manner restrictions as to what can and can’t be done on the land.
In the United States, it’s commonly a matter of state law, and state laws may well delegate decision making authority to municipalities or counties. So what’s important to remember here is that every cemetery — even a public cemetery — has the right to set its own rules and those rules will be upheld by the courts as long as they’re reasonable. If you don’t obey the rules, you can be asked to leave and charged with trespassing if you refuse.
The fact is that restrictions on photography in cemeteries are extremely common. They don’t usually tend to be very onerous — often, it’s nothing more than a limit on the type of equipment used or on taking photos of funerals or persons mourning without permission. With the increasing use of the grounds as a “free” photographic resource, rather than a burial ground, occasionally advance permission and payment of a fee is required. What does that mean for photography in cemeteries? Especially for those who contribute to Find-A-Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/ Additional permission if you wish to post a photo you’ve taken on the internet may also be required.
Not every cemetery has restrictions on photography. Many small cemeteries and cemeteries that no longer accept burials do not have an active management to contact to ask for permission. Where there is no office or staff on site to ask, the presumption is that you can photograph.
But the standard suggestion for photography in any cemetery is good advice regardless: get the rules of the road in advance — know if you need permission, whether there’s a fee, and what the hours are so you don’t accidentally get locked inside the gates.
Ed Snyder, “11 Tips for Taking Pictures in a Cemetery,” Stone Angels, posted 16 Dec 2005 http://www.stoneangels.net ( accessed 26 Oct 2012).
Symbolism and Iconography
The symbols on a tombstone can not only produce beauty but also lend to personal information about the person’s life. From religious icons to secret society emblems, to images from nature to even the Bible verse inscribed, will lead the researcher to new areas of discovery about the person interred.
Richard Waterhouse’s Symbolism Newsletter. Back issues may be accessed at
Burial and Cemetery Customs
Burial practices and funeral customs change per time period and by cultural, ethnic and religious background. As Doug Milburn (see Bibliography) said, “The multi-layered cultural pluralism of our past is nowhere as evident as in these old cemeteries.”
TEXAS CEMETERY VISITATION DAYS
1st Sunday in April and 1st Sunday in October
As designated by the 75th Texas Legislature
Senate Resolution 591 – House Resolution 1097
Property Owners' Guidelines
•Visitation Day extends from 9am (or earlier by mutual agreement) until 6pm (or later by mutual agreement). Please unlock your property for visiting descendants by the agreed upon time. If you are unable to be present by the appointed time, please post instructions on how to access the property at the public street entrance for visiting families.
•For visibility, post signage at the public street access to your property. With this signage please post your name or the name of your representative, and how to contact you. Also, you can state any special considerations or conditions for your visitors to observe. You may wish to have copies of these conditions available to visitors.
•By law, descendants have the right to ornamate and decorate gravesite as they see fit. This may include (but is not limited to) flowers, clean-up of the site, erecting or repairing tombstones, and constructing a fence to prevent livestock from entering the grave site. We hope that you might consider allowing extended visitation privileges for major improvements to the site.
•You can lock up your property at the agreed upon time after the guests have left. We appreciate your consideration of access to your property, and will encourage visitors to respect this privilege.
•Access by family members is limited to the hours of 9am until 6pm on Visitation Day, and by other days and time accorded by the owner of the surrounding property.
•Access is limited to the burial site and the route to it. Please respect the privacy of the owners and their land.
•Please leave by 6 pm or other times mutually agreed upon, and leave the cemetery as neat (or neater) as when you arrived. Leave no improvements or ornamentation that contradicts the property owner's stated wishes.
If you plan to visit an ancestral cemetery that is not well kept, wear working clothes (long-sleeves shirt (rubber bands for cuffs) and long jeans or pants) and old shoes or boots, and a hat with a brim; perhaps an umbrella and sunglasses may be advisable. Avoid early morning or dusk if snakes may be a problem. Keep aluminum foil or a window shade to use on your auto.
Take a “cemetery tool kit” with you. Tool kits may vary with each person as well as with which cemetery you plan to visit.
• Drinking water
• First aid kit (include tweezers)
• Bug spray
* Heavy gloves
* Rule or tape measure
• Graph paper
* Soft brush; natural or nylon bristle; Not Wire!
* Wooden or plastic scraper, when needed for tough lichen.
* Clippers for removing grass and weeds from around the marker
* whisk-broom (for clippings),
* Moist towelettes & a roll of paper towels for hand cleaning
* kneeling pad
If you plan to make a survey and/or record the markers, take a digital camera &/or camera and film and batteries. Tape recorders and batteries. A mirror or aluminum foil-covered reflective panel to help with your photography.
Cemetery Restoration and Preservation
First and foremost, do no harm. Do not cut trees or large shrubs before clearing the property so that you can determine what needs to be saved. Before beginning, do an in-depth field research. Try to locate an existing map of the cemetery. If you locate one, determine if it needs to be updated. A map should show gate locations, existing trees and major plantings, structures, pathways, etc.
Do not fill in sunken spots; they may be unknown burials.
While many cemetery preservationists study and practice so they can appropriately clean and restore markers, we sometimes need help from “the professional.” One that we can recommend is Texas Cemetery Restoration LLC
James "Rusty" Brenner
10122 Cherry Tree Dr
Dallas, TX 75243
ph: (214) 686-0014
Check out TCR’s website at www.texascemeteryrestoration.com
The D/2 Biological Solution that TCR uses has been tested and used by the National Park Service and the Veterans Administration Cemeteries. www.gravestonecleaner.com
Remote Sensing Flow Chart
Tombstone restoration and preservation should not be attempted without expert advice. First of all remember that the marker is not yours and you do not want to attempt extensive restoration without permission and study. Absolutely no power washing or sandblasting! There are safe methods with safe products.
Don’t forget to care for your hands after working in the cemetery. Use a gentle, soap-free cleanser, not a harsh detergent. Remove any odors by using a cleanser contain extracts of parsley or cucumber. If you need an exfoliating scrub to get rid of dirt, be sure it includes aloe or shea butter to avoid irritation. After cleaning your hands, treat them with a hand cream that contains moisturizers, such a glycerin, panthenol or petrolatum. (Better Homes and Gardens)
For booklet that can be printed out, Preserving Historic Cemeteries, Texas Preservation Guidelines go to http://www.thc.state.tx.us/cemeteries/cempreserve.shtml.
Houston Arts and Media (HAM) created a video in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to inform about cleaning techniques and to encourage volunteerism.
You’ll find the link at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc5XydH26nk&list=UU2hzcwH9E_guTqRReAYgWoQ&index=3&feature=plcp
HAM has partnered with the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Society Daughters of the American Revolution to present this video which is designed to increase volunteerism across Texas in hopes of preserving and documenting these sacred and historic places.
Do not cut what you don’t know! Preserve cultural plantings and save habitat. Many meaningful plants, especially ‘antique roses’ and lilies, are mainly found in older, historical cemeteries. Few cemeteries encourage people to put plants in the cemeteries. Some plants get overgrown and cover up not only the headstones, but everywhere around it. Before planting in the cemetery where your family has space, ask permission of those in charge. Perhaps they have a master plan for beautification, but if not, organize to help them have one.
Hummingbirds and butterflies in any garden are an added treat. No less in a cemetery.
Bright colored artificial flowers at the cemetery can cause harm as the hummingbirds and butterflies will spend hours, using up their energy, going from artificial flower to another with no hope of substance.
Instead, plan for natural nectar. Natural nectar sources for both include: Turk’s cap, hamellia, shrimp plant, fire spike, salvia, lobelia (cardinal flower), Mexican oregano, Pride of Barbados, anisacanthus, and cigar plants. These are all magnets.
And of course, a water source is important if it can be provided.
To identify existing plant material, contact local garden clubs and horticultural organizations and ask for their help. In addition, the Master Gardener program through the extension office of Texas A&M University is an invaluable resource for plant identification. http://mastergardener.tamu.edu/.
County Master Gardener groups may be able to give advice on current or future plantings and may be a source of volunteers. County Master Gardener Coordinators can be found at Harris County Master Gardeners http://hcmga.tamu.edu/Public/pubMembership.aspx You’ll find an online Urban Dirt Newsletter, plant sales, useful links, etc.
Plant nurseries, especially those like The Antique Rose Emporium at Brenham, Texas can offer selective, expert advice. https://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/ or The Arbor Gate at Tomball, Texas http://www.arborgate.com/ (search online for others)
The first "garden cemetery" in the United States was Mount Auburn at Cambridge, which was laid out in the 1830s by members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Like a vast public park but with people buried in it, it became a popular spot for leisure outings. http://www.mountauburn.org/ Cemeteries with a mixing of monuments with attractive landscapes, to include ponds, walkways, woodlands and wildlife, are often managed by nonprofit care groups. Another representative of this type of cemetery is Old City Cemetery at Lynchburg, Virginia. http://www.gravegarden.org/hortguide.htm
Harris County’s representative of this type of cemetery is Glenwood. http://www.mountauburn.org/.
Wildflower Seeds for Cemeteries
A recent visit (9/8/2012) to the Mercer Arboretum & Botanical Gardens I was fortunate enough to be on a tour given by Director Darrin Duling. Located in Harris County Precinct 4 (R. Jack Cagle, Commissioner), What a hidden secret! Located at 22306 Aldine-Westfield Road, Humble, TX 77338 (281.443-8731), visit them on their website: http://www.hcp4.net/mercer/contact.htm
While on the tour we saw an area that had been seeded with a wildflower mix that blooms most of the year. Especially for cemeteries in suburban areas with open ditches, this may be a good plan to follow to not only beautify those ditches and possibly other areas, but also eliminate the cost and time of mowing. Mercer’s wildflower mix came from a company called BWI, and the seed is Wf051 wild flower mix. Fifteen one-pound units covers a little over one acre. Visit them at http://www.bwicompanies.com/default.aspx
BWI-Schulenburg: 100 North Main, Schulenburg, TX 78956
979-743-4581 Toll Free: 1. 800-460-9713
Texas Bluebonnet Seed Company
7765 FM 1696, Bedia TX 77831
Phone: 936-395-0308 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildseed Farms (Click on Regional Mixes)
100 Legacy Drive, Fredericksburg TX 78624
Native American Seed
Junction, Texas 76849 1.800-728-4043
email: email@example.com http://www.seedsource.com/
The Horticulture Program, Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
Has some great growing information and suggestions on their website at
The National Museum of Funeral History. http://www.nmfh.org/
415 Barren Springs Drive Houston, TX 77090-5918. 281-876-3063
Abbott, Olyve Hallmark. Ghosts in the Graveyard. Texas Cemetery Tales (Lanham MD Republic of Texas Press, 2001).
Beverly, Trevia Wooster. At Rest: A Historical Directory of Harris County, Texas, Cemeteries (1822-2001) Including Burial Customs and Other Interesting Facts, With a Listing of Past and Present Communities, Funeral Home and Monument Companies. Updates bring the listing to 509 cross-indexed listings. (Houston TX: Tejas Publications & Research, 1994; 2001; 2010).
Bondeson, Jan. Buried Alive, The Terrifying History Of Our Most Primal Fear New York NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001).
Carmack, Sharon DeBartolo. Your Guide to Cemetery Research (Cincinnati OH: Betterway Books, 2002).
Fairchild, Louis. The Lonesome Plains. Death and Revival on an American Frontier (College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2002).
Jordan, Terry G. Texas Graveyards (Austin TX: The University of Texas Press, 1982).
Jordan, Terry G. with John L. Bean, Jr., and William M. Holmes “Landscapes of the Dead,” Texas (Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1984).
Keister, Douglas. Stories in Stone, A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography (New York: MJF Books, 2004).
Meyer, Richard E., ed. With a Foreword by James Deetz. Cemeteries & Gravemarkers, Voice of American Culture (Ann Arbor MI: U-M-I Research Press, 1989).
Milburn, Douglas. Our Ancestors’ Graves: Houston’s Historic Cemeteries (Houston TX: Houston Public Library, 1980).
Powers-Douglas, Minda. Cemetery Walk: A Journey into the Art, History and Society of the Cemetery and Beyond (Bloomington IN: AuthorHouse Publishing 2005).
Pearson, Mike Parker. The Archaeology of Death and Burial (College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1999).
Puckle, Bertram S. Funeral Customs (Forgotten Books, 2008).
Sloane, David C. The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History (Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991).
Strangstad, Lynette. A Graveyard Preservation Primer (Walnut Creek CA: Altamira Press, 1995).
Turner, Suzanne and Joanne Seale Wilson with phtography by Paul Hester. Houston’s Silent Garden. Glenwood Cemetery, 1871-2009 (College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2010).