Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

   Weir Cemetery
Historical Marker
Weir, Texas
 \
1 mile south of Weir on CR-120 from FN971



 
 
Marker Text
Weir Community Cemetery John Breneke (1847-1927) came from Fayette County to purchase 365 acres of farmland here in 1875. Deed records show he set aside two acres for a graveyard, perhaps upon the death of his sister-in-law, Susie B. Kemper (1868-1889), who died in childbirth; her grave is the earliest dated burial in the cemetery. Breneke, a Confederate veteran, is one of many soldiers buried here. The estate of Leola Hugg (1898-1975) added one acre to this site in 1978. This burial ground records the heritage of the area formerly known as Towns' Mill, Townsville, Prairie Springs and Buffalo Springs. Historic Texas Cemetery-2002 To be incised on the back:
COOP AND LAURA SUE SMITH FAMILY




 
 

Weir Community Cemetery

Historical Narrative Researched and Written by:
Tommy Louise Walker

 

In the growing little community of Weir located in central Williamson Co., lies a spot very dear to all of our hearts. The burial site of our loved ones and friends, the Weir Cemetery, is located on Co. Road 120, one mile south of Weir and 1.3 miles north of Highway 29 in the Samuel Nimo Survey.

 

Due to various shapes and sizes of the stones, it is very interesting to browse through. Some of the stones are very unique and have beautiful inscriptions on them. One in particular found there reads as follows.

 

"If tears could build a stairway
And memories, a lane
I'd walk right up to Heaven
And bring you home again."


Jimmy Bradstetter — army, born February25, 1942, died August 21, 2000

 

Angels and lambs are quite often used on the stones of infants or small children. [1]

 

The history of the cemetery began in 1871 when a farmer named John Breneke purchased the land from Sarah Morris recorded on January 23, 1875, Vol. 15 page 719, Williamson Co. Deed Records. This is contrary to a story we have that Mr. Breneke purchased the land from a Mr. Steel. It is said that Mr. Steel had owned the land since Texas had become a legal state.

 

The first grave placed in the plot which Mr. Breneke set aside for his family was that of Susie B. Kemper, wife of T. J. Kemper and sister-in-law of John Breneke. The grave which contains a twenty-one year old woman is dated in the year 1889. Contrary to a story that the infant was buried there also, we have information that the baby lived and was adopted. Little Amy was adopted by Mr. William and Mrs. Rhoda Peace Burris. She married E. H. Lawhon of Taylor, Texas.

 

Mr. Breneke donated the land around his family plot for the community to use as a local burial site. The cemetery is on the S.E. corner of the Breneke Farm. [2]

 

In the late 1800's the community began to grow due to an influx of Protestants from North Carolina. The largest family to migrate was the Emersons. In 1882, George Emerson moved to the community with his wife Letha Ann and his sons, William E. and Thomas H. Emerson. In 1894 T. A. Emerson, came bringing his wife, Martha and his children Sena, Hugh and Nannie. George and Thomas had the same great grandfather, but had different great grandmothers. William E. and Sena Emerson were married around the turn of the century, thus their son, Clyde Emerson, had two grandfathers named Emerson. The Emersons are a predominate family in the cemetery and three generations are buried there. [3]

 

There was a earlier cemetery on Co. Rd. 120 just south of town on the location adjoining where the Weir school house stood for many years. The school was built on the site of an early church, which was built in 1875, known as Prairie Springs Baptist Church. John Breneke and wife were charter members of the church. At one time the church shared the building with the school and the Presbyterians had services there one Sunday a month. This was included in the deed from Thomas C. Weir, et ux, to the church. [4]

 

There are fourteen tomb stones in the old cemetery and rocks at various other locations believed to be marking a grave. The oldest grave is that of Beulah Barrington buried in 1886. One stone found that marks two graves, an infant daughter buried March 8, 1900 and on the same stone an infant son buried May 1, 1901, children of A. B. and M. L. Corder. Another reads "In memory of twin children of F. S. and S. A. Walker November 24, 1901.

 

In the present cemetery is a stone bearing the name Tennessee Boydston buried in 1901. The Boydstons were resident of the Jonah community and at that time Jonah did not have a community cemetery. The second grave was that of Henry Breneke, June 6, 1896. Tennessee Boydston was the third buried and there are four graves dated in 1902. The names of the four are Henry Herren, infant daughter of W. T. and C. D. Streety, Euly May Barrington and Pearl Bizzell. [5]

 

At the time the cemetery was started the neighboring community was known as Prairie Springs.

 

There were other burial sites around the area being Queenhill Cemetery with 21 graves dating back to 1853 and there are two graves in a plot off Co. Rd. 194, including Samuel B. Weir, son of C. and M. B. Weir, died in August of 1856 and Ben Thompson died October 18, 1850 at the age of 22. Others are believed to be buried there, but no other marker can be located. There is a cemetery on North Towns Rd. with four graves. Weaver, son of J. F. and E. W. Towns died September 7, 1892; Lucy S. Peace died February 26, 1878; Captain J. Peace died May 26, 1871 and Eliza N. Peace died Jan 17, 1865. [6]

3

Towns Mill, Townsville named for James (Jim) Francis Towns and family, also called Excelsior Mill, was built on the east bank of the San Gabriel River, just above Double File Crossing. The Towns family settled here just about a mile west of the present town of Weir in 1870. Research shows that James F. Towns became postmaster of Townsville on May 6, 1895 after an application had first been made in the name of "Midway".

 

A railroad between Granger and Georgetown was projected in 1890. The railroad was built by a local company, and it was not until 1903 that the M.K.T. (Katy) Company bought the line and established a depot at Weir.

 

Lucy A. Weir was the Postmaster at Townsville and by the end of the century she ran a small store there. [7]

 

On April 27, 1903, J. W. Burris certified that a particular tract was a plot of the town of Weir. May 7, 1903 the Post Office Department Bond Division, Washington, D. C. executed a bond for Lucy A. Weir.

 

June 12, 1903 the Commission of Lucy A. Weir was forwarded to H. W. Weir as Postmaster, Townsville, Williamson Co., Texas.

 

June 17, 1903 on a letter or document from the Post Office Department of Postal Finance, Washington, D. C. to Postmaster, Weir, Williamson Co., Texas it is written "Late Townsville".

 

I believe according to all of the information from original records, the town of Weir was established on or about April 27, 1903. The story goes that Weir was named for Thomas Calvin Weir at the suggestion of his son Horace W. Weir. The Weir family had settled here in 1856.

 

The town being Weir and the cemetery being a community one, it was then called Weir Community Cemetery. [8]

 

In 1976 the Cemetery Association was organized with five directors, being, Charles Mervin Walker, Jerry Burran, Camilla Emerson Durrenberger, A. W. Bowen and Nora Hausenfluke. Mervin Walker was elected President, Grace Walker, Secretary, and Camilla Durrenberger, Treasurer.

 

A perpetual care fund was set up to care for the cemetery. Meetings are held each year in October at the Weir Community Center.

 

In 1989 there was a 100 year celebration for the cemetery combined with a school homecoming. There was a large crowd and a lot of visiting and reminiscing old times.
 

The new section added to the cemetery, to the west where the flagpole now stands, was donated by the Mrs. Leola Hugg Estate. The land was donated in memory of Mr. and Mrs. James N. Wheeless. Vol. 745, page 183, Williamson Co. Deed Records.

 

Due to the generosity of the people down through the years, the association is able to maintain the cemetery. The present officers are President, Mervin Walker; Vice President, Carl Walker; Secetary, Dorothy Swenson and Treasurer, Janice Hester. The directors at this time are Gainer Ford, Carl Walker, Jerry Burran, Leon Brady and Marvin Yeary. [9]

 

There are at least 458 graves in the cemetery at this time.

 

There are numerous family plots in the cemetery. Some are surrounded by a cement frame, including the Breneke plot with five graves and the Emersons have fifteen graves, not all being on one plot.

 

Some families have reserved spaces for the family with as many as eight spaces and some as few as two spaces.

 

There are at least thirty six who served their country in the military, some having served in World War I, a large number in World War II and some in Korea and Vietnam Wars.

 

In walking through the cemetery, one stone that caught my eye is that of Fred Henry Robbins. Fred retired from the Navy after having served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. His date of death is September 30, 1997.

 

Another interesting family plot is that of Howard and Bessie Collier. There are two double tomb stones marking the burial of four infants, one each year, 1914, 1916, 1920 and 1922. There are at least thirty-two newborn and children of less than a year buried here. It is so sad that in the early years there were so many babies and children of young ages to die.

 

There are also sixteen unmarked graves for which we have no information, and know of no family. Mervin Walker, has marked the graves by a small marble stone.

 

W. E. Burnap and Isaac Neas have "Woodmen of the World" markers. There are six Burnap's in the cemetery, one being Miss Anna Burnap who was postmaster of Weir from 1919 to 1956. At that time the post office was housed in the old bank building, which is still property of the Burnap family.

 

The Walker family came to the area in 1889 or 90 and there are eighteen Walkers in the cemetery including four generations. Numerous Pages, Dills and Greens, who are relatives of one another, eleven Whitley's, seven Bizzells and ten Bradys are buried there.

 

There are many other wonderful families represented here and though we cannot name them all, we wouldn't want to leave any out.

 

Another very unusual marker is that of May Alcorn Smith and Bartlett May, wife and daughter of D. B. Smith. The marker is a round oblong stone placed on a block of cement about 12x12x24 inches.

 

The stone of Ralph Carroll, son of M. P. and Claudia, five months of age, is inscribed as follows:

 

"He is gone but not forgotten

Never will his memory fade

Loving thoughts will ever linger

Round the grave where he is laid"

 

Most likely these would be the thoughts of every family member who has ever laid a loved one to rest here. Each and everyone laid to rest here has been a very special part of some of our lives. [10]

 

It is with great pride and excitement that we can present our 112 year old cemetery to you with a request for a marker to acknowledge all the lives and families represented here. We as a community are very proud and appreciative of the cemetery.

 

Researched and compiled by:

Tommy Louise Walker 551 F.M. 1105

 

 


 

 

Weir Community Cemetery # - 2

Historical Narrative Researched and Written by:
Tommy Louise Walker

 

The Weir Cemetery is located in the Samuel Nimo Survey on County Road 120, 1.3 miles north of State Highway 29, and one mile south of the town of Weir, Texas.

The town of Weir was established in 1903 when the Missouri-Kansas & Texas Railroad Company built a depot there after purchasing a fifteen and a half mile track from the Georgetown and Granger Railroad Company. Although the line between Granger and Georgetown had been completed in 1893, financial difficulties had prevented G&GR [1]  from putting it into operation.

 

The town was named for Thomas Calvin Weir (1826-1901), a farmer from Tennessee who had settled in the area in 1856. His daughter, Lucy A. (1866- ?), [2] was Weir's first postmaster. Though no tombstone has been found, Lucy is believed to have been buried near her mother and siblings in a small family cemetery on the Weir property on County Road 120 between FM 971 and County Road 167. Thomas Calvin and his second wife are buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Georgetown.

 

During the latter half of the 19th century a large number of settlers, mainly Protestant families from North and South Carolina, Missouri, Alabama and Arkansas, began settling on farms in the vicinity of Weir. German and Austrian immigrants arrived later, mostly between 1890 and 1910. German born Henry Breneke (1817-1896) had arrived in Texas by 1847 and settled in the Weir area with sons John and Henry shortly [3] after 1870.

 

In 1871, John Breneke (1847-1927) purchased land from Sarah Morris. Later deed transactions mention 2 acres in the southeast corner of the property which had been [4] set aside for a family plot and community burial ground. In 1978 a new section

[5] containing 1 acre was donated by the Estate of Mrs. Leola Hugg (1898-1975) in memory of Mr. and Mrs. James N. Wheeless.

 

Still in use today, the cemetery contains at least 458 graves. 16 unidentified graves have been marked with a small marble stone.

 

The first documented burial in the Breneke plot is that of John's sister-in-law, Susan B. Kemper (1868-1889), followed by his father, Henry Breneke (1817- 1896). John Breneke (1847-1927), his wife, Martha (1848-1925), and other family members are also buried there.

The oldest tombstone in the community plot is that of Beulah N. Barrington (11 April 1886), infant daughter of M. H. and Narsis L. Barrington. Narsis died 12 days later on 23 April; and one year old Charles A. McDonald's burial followed a month later on 21 August 1886. (in a different cemetery)

 

Texas Rangers Byrum (Byran) Jenkins (1838-1924)  [6] and William C. Nelson (1928-1993), plus at least 36 veterans are known to be buried in Weir Cemetery. Born in North Carolina, Jenkins was among the county's earliest residents. He is listed, age 12, in the 1850 census of Williamson County in the home of Elisha Prewitt, and is also one of five known Civil War veterans buried here. Others are John Breneke, Sr.(1847-1927),

Thomas A. Emerson, Sr. (1839-1929), James Harvey Burris (1847-1921), and William Madison Burns (1845-1907). James M. Burns (1815-1900), father of the latter two, was a Citizen of the Republic of Texas who had arrived in the county by 1848, and was

among those who signed the petition to form Williamson County. [7] His grave is located on the old Burns homestead a short distance southwest of Jonah.

 

Among those veterans who served in later wars, one is particularly noteworthy. Fred Henry Robbins (1924-1997) retired from the Navy after serving in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

 

Anna C. Burnap (1886-1987), was postmaster at Weir from 1919 to 1956.

 

Woodmen of the World tombstones mark the graves of W. E. Burnap (1859­1939), and Isaac Neas (1869-1915). Angels and lambs adorn the stones of many infants, at least 32 of whom lived one year or less. The largest percentage of infant burials occurred between 1899 and 1909. Especially poignant is the evidence of multiple infant deaths in the same family, i.e., the Walker twins, 2 Corder, and 4 Collier babies.

 

With at least 15 graves spanning three generations, Emerson family burials out­number all others. George Emerson (1830-1909) arrived in 1882 with his wife, Letha Ann (1833-1929), and sons William E. (1869-1929) and Thomas H. (1871-1943). T.A. Emerson (1839-1929) came in 1894 with his wife, Martha (1847-1926) and children Hugh (1865-1919), Nannie (1869-1959), and Sena (1876-1933). The Emerson 1892, age 49". Few, save family members, are cognizant of the link between Gunn and "Warren N. Burrell, son of Jas.& Georgia (1887-1888)", who is buried nearby.

 

The Weir Cemetery Association was organized in 1976 with five directors: Mervin Walker, Jerry Burran, Camilla Emerson Durrenberger, A. W. Bowen and Nora Hausenfluke. Mervin Walker was elected President; Grace Walker, Secretary; and Camilla Durrenberger, Treasurer. A perpetual care fund was set up, and generous donations have enabled the Association to maintain the cemetery.

 

The Association meets yearly in October. Current officers are: President Mervin Walker; Vice President Carl Walker; Secretary Dorothy Swenson; and Treasurer Janice Hester. Present directors are Gainer Ford, Carl Walker, Jerry Burran, Leon Brady and Marvin Yeary. The cemetery's 100th year was celebrated at a school homecoming in 1989.

 

Researched and Written by: Tommy Louise Walker

 


 
     
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