Today is

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Murray Cemetery Historical Marker

Originally named Pleasant Grove Cemetery, this burial ground was at first associated with the Pleasant Grove community. The settlement's school was also once located on this site. By 1872, residents organized the Pleasant Grove Church, which met in the schoolhouse. Members later merged with a nearby congregation to form Mt. Zion Baptist Church, worshiping several miles east of here.

The current name for this cemetery can be traced to Madison Murray (1821-1897). A Civil War veteran who in the late 1860s moved here from Mississippi with two brothers. He became a community leader and educator, obtaining possession of the Pleasant Grove schoolhouse and operating it as a private institution. After Mt. Zion Baptist Church formed, this burial ground became known as Murray Cemetery.

The earliest marked grave here, that of Nancy Phillips, dates to 1856. Other notable burials include Joseph Hook, a Rockdale blacksmith, and George Banzhaf, a celebrated Milam County Agricultural Extension Agent. Also interred here are early area pioneers and veterans of conflicts dating to the Civil War. The cemetery features Woodmen of the World markers, vertical stones, curbing and interior fencing.

Although the Pleasant Grove community declined, the cemetery later also served the Bushdale and Bethlehem settlements. In 2004 the Murray Cemetery Association organized to care for the burial ground, which remains a memorial to the early settlers of Southwest Milam County.

Historic Texas Cemetery - 2007