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The Champion Cemetery is located near Brushy Creek south of County Road 174 approximately four miles east of Cedar Park, and is named for John (Jack) Champion, a pioneer settler and early sheriff of Williamson County who is buried there along with other members of his family. The approximate location of the cemetery is indicated on Cemetery Maps published by the Williamson County Historical Commission in 1986 and 1999.
A list of graves reported as a result of a 1974-75 survey by the Williamson County Historical Commission (Faubion:1976:33) indicated four named markers and five unmarked interments. (Appendix A) Around 1986 it was reported that fence posts were located at the northwestern and southeastern corners of the site and upright monuments were present. Vegetation included scrub oak, juniper, and native grasses (Voellinger et a1.1986;5-34 to 5-38). A historian who surveyed the cemetery again in July 2002 observed no remaining evidence of fence posts or fencing materials. Photographs taken in 1986 illustrate the markers as upright rectangular stones. The 2002 survey indicates they were embedded in a cement base and lying flat on the ground. Vegetation included juniper, hackberry, persimmon, and native grasses.
The original size of the cemetery is unknown. An area approximately 30 x 30 meters was recently fenced to enclose all discernible gravesites. Appendix B, the most recent survey completed (Slocombe:2003), indicates four named and six unnamed graves. It is probable there could be additional unmarked graves.
Born in York County South Carolina on 25 October 1817, John (Jack) Champion (1817-1908) was the son of William Champion, Jr. who died in Floyd County Georgia in 1851. (Noble 1985:83) Confirming John's early arrival in Williamson County is the 15th marriage license issued and recorded on 8 August 1850 to John Champion and Naomi Jane Standefer (1834-1862). Naomi was the daughter of James S. and Caroline Standefer, and was an older sister of the peerless Harriet Standefer Cluck (1848-1938) who is renowned for taking her three young children to Abiline, Kansas on an 1871 cattle drive with her husband, George W. Cluck (1839-1920).(Scarbrough:202)
John and Naomi Champion are listed on the 1850 census of Williamson County in the Pond Springs area home of her parents where they probably lived until 1854. It was that year that John C. Champion purchased from Sarah Dillard Mayfield, a resident of Ellis County, 234 acres of land out of the John H. Dillard survey for the sum of $174.25. (Williamson County Deed Records 5:398). The property is described as being on the headwaters of Brushy Creek. In 1870 he purchased an adjacent parcel of 70 acres from James G. Harrell, described as beginning at the southeast corner of the Champion homestead tract, thence northwest to the foot of the bluff (Williamson County Deed Records 12:59). On 1 May 1895 Mary E. and John Champion sold 244 acres to Euell Cluck, for $1,000. (Williamson County Deed Records 74:283). It appears likely that the cemetery is located on the old Champion homestead which was included in the property sold in 1895.
The earliest recorded burial in the Champion Cemetery is that of Naomi Jane Standefer Champion. By the time of her death on 24 December 1862, she had borne seven children. William Daniel (1852- ) moved to California and died there. James Travis (1854- ) remained in Williamson County and married Pauline Brown on 21 Jun 1883. She died in 1886. Though her grave is unmarked, she is among those known to be buried in the Champion Cemetery. William's second marriage to Telitha E. Law took place on 3 December 1890. John Thomas (1856-ca 1905) married Sarah Elizabeth Netherlin, and moved to New Mexico. Nathan David (1857- ), Rufus Dudley (1859- ), and Benjamin Franklin (1860- ) all moved to Wyoming. Naomi Jane (1862- ) married James Christopher Riffe on 27 March 1877. (Noble 1985:83)
During the Civil War, John Chapman served as a private under Gen. E.S.C. Robertson in the 27th Brigade of Williamson County. On 20 April 1865, he married 16 year-old Mary Eliza Hotchkiss, daughter of William Stuart and Hannah Hotchkiss, and fathered twelve more children:
Fannie Bowers (Mrs. Thomas Lee Robertson); Mary Louisa (Mrs. Bennett Sherman); Calvin Whitfield Champion (who died as an infant and is buried in this cemetery); Carelia Josefhene Champion (1871-1879) who is also buried here; Josiah Henry Champion who married Martha Ann Sherman; Robert Allen Champion; Ransom Owen Champion who married Mary Margaret Dalton; Mattie Leah (Mrs. Andy Sherman, and later Mrs. Thomas W. Hyland); Minnie Pearl (Mrs. Leonidas Noble); Annie Olivia (Mrs. Mabry Cluck); Elvie May (Mrs. Walter Sherman); and Lorenzo Dowe Champion who married Nora Tillery. (Noble 1985:83-84) (Williamson County Marriage Records) The 1880 census lists John Champion as a farmer with wife, Mary E., six children under the age of 15, and 26 year-old James T., a son from his previous marriage.
In 1869, John Champion served one year as County Sheriff, filling out the unexpired term of Leroy B. Lord. He did not, however, choose to run for reelection. (Noble 1985:83)
John Champion died on 12 December 1908 at the age of 92, in the Leander home of his daughter and son-in-law, Minnie and Lee Noble. His is one of the four marked graves in the Champion Cemetery. John's second wife, Mary Eliza Hotchkiss Champion (28 Jan 1847- 15 Jan 1917) was interred in the Bagdad Cemetery. (Noble 1985:84)
Faubion, Laverne, editor
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1989 John (Jack) Champion. Pioneer Families of Williamson County Texas. Genealogical Data & Sources Taken From Applications for Pioneer Certificates Submitted by Their Descendants. Vol. I. Williamson County Genealogical Society, Round Rock, Texas.
Noble, Mrs. Edward
1985 John (Jack) Champion. Williamson County, Texas: Its History and Its People, compiled and edited by Jean Shroyer and Hazel Wood. Williamson. County Genealogical Society, Round Rock, Texas.
Scarbrough, Clara Steams
1976 Land of Good Water: A Williamson County, Texas, History. Williamson County Sun Press, Georgetown, Texas.
2003 Survey of the Champion Cemetery
Voellinger, Melissa W., John Jameson, Laurel A. Smyth
1985 A Cultural Resources Survey of the Proposed Brushy Creek WCID No.1 Utility Right-of-Way Phase 2, Williamson County, Texas. Document No. 860649.
Espey, Huston & Associates, Inc., Austin, Texas.
Williamson County Census Records, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
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Williamson County Courthouse, Georgetown, Texas
Williamson County Historical Commission 1976 Williamson County Cemeteries, Vol. II 1986 Williamson County Cemetery Map 1999 Williamson County Cemetery Map