Monument to dentist Milton
Baker erected by his wife.
This cemetery served
the early African-American community in Houston
for approximately 100 years. The Olivewood Cemetery Association incorporated
in 1875 and purchased 5.5 acres of this property that same year from
Elizabeth Morin Slocomb. The organization bought two adjacent acres
in 1917. Also known in its early years as Olive Wood, Hollow Wood
and Hollywood, it is one of the oldest known platted cemeteries
in the city. The original 444 family plots comprising over 5,000 burial
spaces were laid out along an elliptical drive. The burial ground
contains several hundred marked graves, in addition to an unknown
number of unmarked graves.
Interred here are pivotal leaders of Houstonís
post-emancipation African-American community, including the pastor
of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Elias Dibble; businessman
James B. Bell; Alderman and landowner Richard Brock; attorney J. Vance
Lewis; educator James D. Ryan; physician Russell F. Ferrill; and dentist
Milton A. Baker. Also buried here are ex-slaves, laborers, sororal
and fraternal organization members, and military veterans.
This cemetery features obelisks, statuary, curbing and interior fencing.
The burial ground also includes examples of pre-emancipation burial
practices, including upright pipes (symbolizing the path between the
worlds of the living and the dead), ocean shells as grave ornaments
and text containing upside down or backwards letters (as used in some
West African cultures to signify death). Today, Olivewood Cemetery
remains as a key historical site in Houston,
serving as a testament to the foresight and perseverance of the cemetery
Historic Texas Cemetery Ė 2006
| Olivewood Cemetery
|View from the
NW corner. Downtown Houston can be
seen in the background (right) behind parked trucks of Grocer's Supply
of the Neches Chamber
Unearthed by the NCCC Team in February of 2011
|A tombstone firmly
held by Hackberry trees
Veteran showing Masonic Membership
tombstones had their inscriptions formed by a mold (examples above
tombstone, this one with indented sides, shows the three-linked chain
symbol of the International Order of Odd Fellows.
|Academic or piano
player? "Professor" was once used for both. A very small
stone - about one foot tall.
A.F. Jackson was "Murdered at Dallas, Texas (December 12, 1889)"
of the Reverend Henry Stewart of Greenville, Kentucky. "Gone
before us, oh, our Father, to the spirit land."
from 2010 visit
| King gravesite
from 2010 visit
curbing caused by unmaintained growth
sign was erected in April of 2008.
the guidelines of the THC."
signs begin on Washington Avenue near Heights Blvd."
TE photo, February 2011
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and vintage/historic photos, please contact