American Statesmen -- November 8, 1984
By SHARON LEWIS
The headstones scattered
throughout the historic black cemetery just west of
Georgetown bear information such as Plesant Monroe,
1829-1908; Zen Clee Riding, Sgt. Co. C, World War I,
1897-1963; and Ethel Caldwell, died 1917, age 92.
The above named are among the
more than 100 Georgetown citizens — some of them former
slaves — buried in what is now called Citizens Memorial
Garden off County Road 265.
Harvey Miller is president of
the Citizens Memorial Association that is responsible
for the upkeep of the cemetery. Miller said that in 1906
the cemetery was willed by the city of Georgetown to the
black community for as long as they could maintain it.
Miller said that at the time
that the land was willed to the community, cemeteries
were segregated. Hispanic citizens are buried at one
end of the cemetery, which used to be separated from the
black section with a barbed wire fence, he said.
"We're open to anyone who
wants to be buried here," Miller said. Plots, which cost
$10, are all sold, but more may be created along the
fence row, he said.
He said that because Citizens
Memorial Garden is nearly full, the association's
priority for 1985 will be to acquire property for a new
cemetery. He said that if land is donated to the
association, the cost of $10 per plot could continue.
But if the association has to buy the property, the
price of a plot would have to be reconsidered. "We would
sell plots at our cost, and try to keep plot costs
within the range of what low income families can
afford, even if they have to pay for them over time," he
The cemetery has been known
by various names through the years, including Colored
Cemetery and Georgetown Cemetery, Miller said, but
primarily as the Masonic Cemetery, Miller said.
The Masons maintained the
cemetery from 1906 until 1980, when they gave the
Citizens Memorial Association written permission to
take on the responsibility of upkeep at the
association's request, Miller said.
One of the association's
projects is the cemetery west of Georgetown bears
witness to history.
restoration of the cemetery, where a burial took place
as recently as a month ago, Miller said.
Plans include planting a
cedar hedge along the back side of the cemetery, and
dotting the grounds with more trees, Miller said. The
cemetery will be fenced to discourage people from
dumping trash there, he said.
Miller said the cemetery
should be ready for landscaping in the spring, thanks to
the clean-up it is getting from its permanent caretaker
who was hired this year with $1,000 assistance from the
United Way. ‑
Another project of the association is compiling a
registry of the graves in the cemetery. Miller said
"most graves were not marked at the time of burial."
Metal markers installed later were pulled up by heavy
machinery used to clean the cemetery, Miller said, so
he wonders how the location of the graves will be
special thanks to the Williamson County Sun and
Natalie Townsend for this slice of history --
"Forgotten cemetery guards family history" PDF