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and Bagdad Cemetery
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Bagdad are closely related
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click here for more History on Bagdad
Opened 1857 with burial of 3-year-old John Babcock, whose father Charles later gave tract to community. Other early burials were Civil War veteran John Haile and Col. C. C. Mason. Leander, founded 1882 when railroad bypassed Bagdad, shares use of this tract, enlarged in 1959 and 1966
1 mile west of Leander on FM 2243
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Latitude: 30.576995- Longitude:-97.870481
The History of Bagdad Cemetery
Part of the material used in this report was based. on an article written by M. James Faubion which was written for the Sun ( the Williamson County Sun) in June 1921. Mrs. T. M. Wiley Fred Henry
One mile west of Leander on Ranch
Road 2243 is the Bagdad Cemetery. The cemetery is visible for
nearly one-half mile as you leave Leander. It is surrounded by a
chain link fence. As you approach it, you can see on the slight
upgrade high headstones and tall spiked monuments in and about
the several small groves of large live oak trees. In the
northwest corner a small group of white stone crosses mark the
old Mexican and Negro cemetery which is now a part of the well
kept grounds. Midway on the upgrade is a large shed built of
limestone for special services Beyond this building to the south
is the newer grave sites end further
The Bagdad Cemetery has not always been this way. Even though it was not in total disorder, the need was seen early enough to turn the tide. In order to take a close look at how this all came about, it would be well to look at the development of Bagdad and Leander.
It was in 1844 that Thomas Hornsby moved into the area which is now known as Bagdad. Hornsby was of the family of Hornsbys from Travis County and Hornsby Bend on the Colorado. It was Hornsby that built the first cabin in the prairie around this area. The Smelsers and Dawsons came next from Missouri in 1845. The Dawsons built nearby but did not remain long. fiery D. Edwards and his wife, the former Miss Mary Smelser, settled shortly after the Smelsers.
Later about 1846, Nicholas Branch and his brother, James Branch, moved into the area from Mississippi, coming formerly from Tennessee. A little later, Uncle Charlie Babcock and others came from Illinois to settle.
Judge Greenleaf Fisk moved here in 1848 and settled with his family on the South San Gabriel. Judge Fisk was the chief justice for the area at the time that Williamson County was formed and he became the county judge thereafter.
Other early settlers were John Faubion, Thomas Huddleston, J.W.S. Williamson, Col. C. C. Mason, John Heinatz, the Bittick and Taylor families, James B. Knight, and B. F. Dalton.
Colonel Mason applied for a postmastership and. received it. There was, however, a question as to what the name of the town would be. Thomas Huddleston suggested that they call it Bagdad after a hamlet near where he lived. in Tennessee. There was no objection so the town officially became known as Bagdad. Mason being a stockman turned the post office over to John Heinatz who being the blacksmith afforded a central location where people gathered. John Knight opened the first store in Bagdad. in 1855.
A small grave with a tall limestone marker and a limestone cover stone seems to tell the story of the beginning of the Bagdad Cemetery. For it was only three years after his birth in 1854 that John L. Babcock was buried. It was the acre on which little John Babcock's grave was located. that Charlie Babcock donated for a. church and burying ground.
Five years later in 1862, Mr. Babcock gave 2.9 acres more for a church and burying ground. It is believed that during this time a brush arbor was built. Mr. Babcock and his family moved to Burnet after the Civil War but he gave one more acre in 1904.
The graves in the older part of the
cemetery show some of the pains borne with the Civil War. One
such grave is that of John Haile. Mr. Haile was wounded in the
Colonel Mason died on March 2, 1865 shortly before the end of the Civil War. His monument which is the tallest in the cemetery is also only a short distance from the first grave.
In 1882 the Austin and Northwestern narrow gauge railroad was built to haul granite for the new state capitol. The railroad offered to come by Bagdad for a bonus of $1000 dollars but this was refused by the business men of the town. The railroad survey had placed the railroad one mile east of Bagdad. When the railroad was completed, the town of Leander was founded on the railroad line one mile to the east of Bagdad. All of the businesses moved there.
The close ties between the people who settled Leander and Bagdad Cemetery can be illustrated in the fact that to this day there is no Leander Cemetery by name even though one was started. It seems that everyone wanted to be buried at Bagdad.
It was only ten years after Leander had been founded that one of Bagdad's earliest settlers, John Heinatz was buried on May 4, 1891. His wife Emilie lived until 1935 to see many of the changes in this area.
Sometime early in the 1900's a wooden shed was built to replace the brush arbor. In the 1930's this shed was rocked. and a cement floor Baas poured. Mason Chapman paid for the new tin roof and the east end was closed up by doors donated by Mrs. Maud Moley.
As late as 1930, the cemetery still had a hearse which was drawn by two horses. Lee Nobles and Mrs. Martha Craven each had a white horse which was used to pull the hearse. Roscoe Craven had two black horses which were also used. Later on it was mounted on a Model-T truck.
The graves were cared for by individual families as late as 1959. On each November 11, the people would bring picnic baskets to the cemetery and clean graves. However, this proved to be inadequate for keeping the whole cemetery clean as many of the relatives of people buried at Bagdad had moved away. The directors during this time were Roseoe Craven, Frank Faubion, Leslie Mason, and E.M. Williamson.
In May 1959, a group of concerned men met with the directors of the cemetery to discuss the fate of Bagdad. Cemetery. The cemetery was having more request for grave sites and it was very difficult to keep the cemetery clean. The decision was made to make a new charter and this was done on May 28, 1959. The new. directors were A. L. Alley, Edwin Barho, Ed Fulkes, Bob Faubion, Pat Mason, and Perry Moore. An additional 3.55 acres on the south side were bought from Burt Reynolds. Chris Hamilton had willed the payments on a house he had sold in Georgetown to the cemetery and this was used to help set up a permanent fund for the care and upkeep of the cemetery. Also, the directors set the last Sunday in August for a homecoming with a barbeque lunch and donations being taken to help hire a caretaker. The first homecoming proved to be very successful as have all the others due to the tremendous response all the people who have relatives buried at Bagdad Cemetery.
In 1966, the McDaniels gave two acres of land that joined the cemetery on the west side. It was on this acreage that a shed was built in 1968 to help with the annual homecoming. Also, it was in 1963 that the chain link fence was completed. During the ten years following the forming of the new charter, all the graves have been cleaned up and the cemetery now has a very neat appearance.
The present directors are John Chapman, Lois Giddens, Mr. and Mrs. Buster Fulkes, Mrs. Edwin Barho, Taylor Wade, Flack Bonnet, Kenneth Faubion, and H. K. Wiley.
Part of the material used in this report was based. on an article written by M. JamesFaubion which was written for the Sun ( the Williamson County Sun) in June 1921.
Mrs. T. M. Wiley Fred Henry
also view www.texasescapes.com - Bagdad Texas