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Texas | Features | Cemeteries


Brenham, Texas
Washington County

The Masonic Cemetery
or the Wilderness Cemetery

by John Troesser

Book Hotel Here > Brenham Hotels
1867 yellow fever cemetery tombstone, Brenham, Texas
"Brenham's citizens buried many loved ones here in the latter part of 1867 as an epidemic swept through the area."
TE Photo
Driving Directions:
On the north side of Brenham off Highway 36 N (aka as Loop 283), the cemetery is on the unpaved Old Masonic Road, just behind a housing project and not far (NW) of the Brenham High School. A new gate and a historical marker were set in place in 2002.

Direction Update:

["They have closed part of the Old Masonic Road... Better directions should be take Highway 36 north turn on Dupree Drive take first left which will be Old Masonic Drive and cemetery is just to the right." - Dawna Carlton, January 15, 2006]

Restoration of Brenham Masonic Cemetery - Update
Father and son, 1867 yellow fever cemetery tombstone, Brenham, Texas
A few tombstones indicate the cause of death - as on this twin headstone for a father and son who died four days apart in 1867.
TE photo

Texas' Brenham Masonic Cemetery, aka Yellow Fever Cemetery  Marker
Brenham Masonic Cemetery Marker
Brenham Masonic Cemetery Marker:
"Numerous gravestones dating from the early 1840s... Brenham's citizens buried many loved ones here in the latter part of 1867 as an epidemic swept through the area; the site has been commonly known as the Yellow Fever Cemetery ever since. Laid to rest here are: pioneers, veterans of the War of 1812, the Texas revolution and the Civil war..."

Overturned tombstone,  yellow fever cemetery , Brenham, Texas
An overturned monument.
TE photo
Perhaps due to its location, the cemetery (which once held 122 graves) has been heavily vandalized. Many of the graves are now unmarked or have had the tombstones pushed from their original locations.

Progress on Restoration of
Brenham Masonic cemetery

March 08, 2016

The cemetery committee of Graham Lodge No. 20 ( the local Masonic Lodge) has been making slow but steady progress on the cemetery.

After roughly 20 man hours of work, the headstone of Patrick Lusk has been re-installed on its original marble base. We had to dig down 18" to get under the base so we could level it. That was an all day chore, but it's now level and the headstone is back in place.

Mr. Patrick Lusk was a member of the Mier Expedition and was a survivor of the infamous black bean incident. So, it was appropriate that his was the first stone repaired and replaced.

We continue to have work parties on weekends.

- Kirby Simmons, Secretary,
Graham Lodge No. 20,

Cemetery Committee Seeking Help

The local Masonic Lodge in Brenham, Graham Lodge No. 20, has formed a committee to oversee the repair and renovation of the Yellow Fever Cemetery in Brenham. The committee was formed in July 2015 and consists of Dr. Robert Stark, Glen Grantom, John Fuller and Kirby Simmons. The committee is developing a preliminary report of the condition of the cemetery and what needs to be done to improve the condition and rehab many of the headstones which are broken. The committee is also interested in obtaining any information from relatives of the people interred.

Contact information:
Mr. Kirby Simmons
Secretary-Graham Lodge No. 20 A.F.& A.M.
October 8, 2015

German language shard,  yellow fever cemetery , Brenham, Texas
A German language shard.
TE photo
Vandalized yellow fever cemetery , Brenham, Texas
A rescued stone leans against the base of another.
TE photo
Czech tombstone, Brenham Masonic Cemetery, Texas
A Czech stone from the 1920s
TE photo
Damaged obelisk,  yellow fever cemetery , Brenham, Texas
A damaged obelisk
TE photo

Yellow Fever Cemetery Forum

  • Subject: Brenham's Yellow Fever Cemetery
    Dear TE, Glad to find your magazine. We did not think anyone knew of or cared about the Old Yellow Fever Cemetery in Brenham. My great grandfather’s (Bolling Eldridge) first wife, Kate Hurley Eldridge, is buried there along with a few other Eldridges and Hurleys. We first found the cemetery in 2005 on our honeymoon. We cleaned up our area, and even cleaned the tombstones to read the beautiful inscriptions/dedications on them. They had such an eloquence and respect in speech back then.

    If anyone has relatives buried there and would like to somehow get a plan together to keep the cemetery kept up, PLEASE let us know. (mbusch55@sbcglobal.net) It would be a shame to let it deteriate any further. I was informed by Mrs. Stavena that the Masons were going to help keep the cemetery up. They have a clean-up day I think the weekend of April 14, 07. Thanks again for posting info on the cemetery on Texas Escapes. - Mark and Dawn Buschardt, Dallas, Texas, February 10, 2007

  • Subject: Yellow Fever Cemetery
    My husband and I have worked very hard to get this cemetery into the shape it is now in. No one has helped us. The City of Brenham, The County of Brenham and the Masons have not helped us. I do have cousins in Louise Texas who have come to Brenham and repaired the tombstones of Thomas and Veronica Janica. They are planning to repair the tombstones of other members of our ancestors who are buried in this cemetery. We are not destroying what is left of the headstones. At some time in the past cattle were allowed to graze in this cemetery and did most of the damage. Not much has been done since the placement of the historical marker other than what my husband and I have done. Thank you. - Olene Stavena, March 16, 2006

  • Subject: Yellow Fever Cemetery Brenham, Texas
    We made a trip to Yellow Fever Cemetery in Brenham Texas this morning using the directions on the web site, the directions need to be changed some, they have closed part of the Old Masonic Road off that goes behind the new housing area that has been built next to the cemetery.

    Better directions should be take Highway 36 north turn on Dupree Drive take first left which will be Old Masonic Drive and cemetery is just to the right.

    I must say the cemetery was in horrible shape they have started cleaning a small part of it... I do hope some one can take the time to go in there and fix the remaining headstone... - Dawna Carlton, January 15, 2006

  • Subject: Old Masonic/Yellow Fever Cemetery
    Dear TE: I have emails out to 4 or 5 places for directions [to Brenham's Old Masonic/Yellow Fever Cemetery] without any answers so far. I never thought I would find directions on TexasEscapes. My sincere thanks for having it on your website.

    We have obtained an upright VA marble marker for Col. Owings and it is already in Brenham awaiting erection. We also raised about $1,500 for the largest size Texas aluminum historical marker and it is being cast now. Date for the dedication of both is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 11th, 2006." - W.T. Block, Nederland, Texas

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