The Texas State
by Raoul Hashimoto
cemetery can be entered through several gates, but we suggest the
main entrance on Navasota Street. Dedications and information have
been artistically sandblasted into the natural sandstone walls.
to the Texas State Cemetery
Photo courtesy Sarah
Reveley, January 2006
| A small museum
at the entrance houses artifacts (mostly personal items of former
governors) and gives information on other notable early cemeteries
around Texas. A detailed printed guide is available as you begin your
walking tour. A detailed living guide is available for groups with
The Texas State Cemetery is a mandatory stop for anyone with the slightest
interest in Texas history. This pantheon of Texas heroes, near-heroes
and dubious heroes is a sort of living history book - except that
there are no pages and only the caretakers and squirrels are living.
resemblance to Arlington National Cemetery is immediately apparent
due to the uneven terrain and row upon row of plain white tombstones
(recently cleaned and reinstalled). The stones lack the rigid uniformity
of Arlington, but Texas has always avoided rigid uniformity.
While many of the dignitaries had their remains exhumed and reburied
here; it wasn't necessary to move the graves of the rank and file
soldiers since Austin had been the host city for the State Confederate
The cemetery would not be the exceptional historical garden that it
is today if it were not for the tireless efforts of Louis Kemp. Kemp
was a state employee who worked for the Texas Department of Transportation
and it was his idea to gather the bodies of men and women who had
contributed to Texas' history. Kemp, too, is buried on the grounds
in appreciation of his efforts.
Some notable residents
|Texas State Cemetery
Photo courtesy Sarah
Reveley, January 2006
Some noteworthy residents of the cemetery and their
headstone for William Alexander Anderson Wallace sits very near the
base of the Stephen F. Austin Statue. Wallace, for some reason doesn't
have his Christian names inscribed on his tombstone. Length may have
had something to do with it. Wallace's Texas adventures were exaggerated,
inflated and twisted into outrageous legend - and that was just when
he would introduce himself.
He arrived in Texas to avenge a brother and cousin who were killed
in the massacre of Fannin and his men at Goliad. He joined the Somervell/
Mier expeditions and participated in the black bean death lottery
where he drew a white bean - and was spared. He and the other "winners"
were then taken on a well-escorted tour of Mexican prisons.
After his release he carried the mail from San Antonio to El Paso
and eventually retired to the banks of the Medina River where his
neighbors renamed the town of Bigfoot,
Texas in his honor.
Texas Personality: Bigfoot Wallace)
unusual pose for
Stephen Fuller Austin
statue of Stephen F. Austin that commands the hill in the southwest
corner is by the Italian born Pompeo Coppini. Coppini had a studio
in San Antonio for many years and his contributions to Texas sculpture
are spread across Texas. The somewhat unusual pose of Austin's statue
is due to it's original planned location. It was originally to be
placed at Congress Avenue and the river. His outstretched arm is not
meant as a salute, but to show off the main street of the city that
bears his name.
Austin by Mike Cox
Joanna Troutman Statue
is also a Coppini
Troutman: This statue of the woman who has been
called the Betsy Ross of Texas was also the work of Coppini. Ms. Troutman
had died in her native Georgia (without ever visiting Texas) and her
remains were moved here in 1913.
pair of ex-governors
Fergusons: The only husband-wife team of governors Texas has ever
had. Their beautiful stone is situated not far from the more minimalist
gravesite of their nemesis Dan Moody (and wife). Moody defeated Miriam
"Ma" Ferguson in the 1926 election. Moody, a World War I veteran,
served as Texas Attorney General and investigated the Ferguson's questionable
awarding of highway contracts.
Jackson Davis, the Reconstruction Governor has his grave marked by
the tallest marker in the cemetery (erected by his brother). Probably
the most reviled man ever to be in the Governor's mansion - Davis
would tell you if he could - that the feeling (at least toward Confederates)
was mutual. The obelisk's position and size is meant to irritate the
Confederate dead. His reluctance to leave the Governor's Mansion after
his term was up is another embarrassingly true Texas legend.
Albert Sidney Johnston's Tomb
Albert Sidney Johnston
unusual recumbent statue of Albert Sidney Johnston (inside the tomb
above) was carved by the "Madwoman of Austin" Elizabet
Ney. Her model for the sarcophagus is on display in her former
studio/ home in Austin's Hyde Park district.
Johnston was killed at Shiloh after being shot in the femoral artery.
He bled to death while still mounted and giving orders. Johnston was
a special hero to Texans since he had served as Texas Secretary of
War under Lamar.
His glass-enclosed grave shed (with a modern Plexiglas cover) is the
most elaborate structure/shrine in the cemetery.
Wharton in Bronze
bust of John Wharton is not far from that of General Johnson, however
Wharton didn't die on the battlefield. He was killed in a Houston
tavern by a soldier who thought Wharton had wronged him. The bust
is by noted sculptor Enrico
Cerracchio - the artist of Sam
Houston's Equestrian statue in Houston's Hermann Park.
A marker in appreciation of
Viola Gay Barnes
few of the other markers of Texas Governors, statesmen and characters
After entering the main gate of the cemetery the memorial
is about 150 yards directly in front of you across the pool.
TE Photo, 9-04
concludes our visit to the Texas State Cemetery. We have covered only
a portion of the grounds and encourage those visiting Austin
to include time for the State Cemetery.
Texas' shortest highway - SH 165 runs through the State Cemetery.
Burial by Bob Bowman (from "All Things Historical")
Texas Historical Commission archeologists discovered the sailor's
skeletal remains during the 1996 excavation of French explorer Robert
Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's ship, the Belle, which sank in Matagorda
Bay in 1686. His remains are now the oldest ever buried in the State
Wrong Grave by Bob Bowman (from "All Things Historical")
Among the towering monuments in the Texas State Cemetery -- the
final resting place for Stephen F. Austin and other state titans
-- lies the grave of John Alexander Greer of San Augustine, a Republic
of Texas senator, a lieutenant governor, and a one-time candidate
for governor. But in East Texas, where Greer spent his life, there
is the lingering question if his bones really lie beneath his Austin
Williams (From Patriots by Mike Cox)
The final Revolutionary War veteran who fought for Texas was buried
Austin by Mike Cox