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Cemetery Preservation

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Montgomery County

Cemeteries

Cemeteries are among the most valuable of historic resources. They are reminders of various settlement patterns, such as villages, rural communities, urban centers, and ghost towns. Cemeteries can reveal information about historic events, religions, lifestyles, and genealogy.

Names on grave markers serve as a directory of early residents and reflect the ethnic diversity and unique population of an area. Cultural influence in grave marker design, cemetery decoration, and landscaping contribute to the complete narrative of Texas history. Established in large part for the benefit of the living, cemeteries perpetuate the memories of the deceased, giving a place of character and definition.

The Texas Historical Commission is aware of about 14,000 cemeteries in Texas, and this number continues to rise. These range from single, isolated, and often unmarked graves to expansive cemeteries spanning hundreds of acres and reaching up to hundreds of thousands of burials.

Unfortunately, historic cemeteries do not necessarily remain permanent reminders of our heritage. Across Texas, they are threatened by development and expanding urban areas, natural forces such as weathering and uncontrolled vegetation, lack of fences to keep cattle from toppling headstones, and vandalism and theft, including removal of headstones and objects. Neglect accelerates and compounds the process.

The THC’s Cemetery Preservation Program offers technical assistance to assist concerned citizens and local and regional organizations with their cemetery preservation efforts. The program administers the Historic Texas Cemetery (HTC) designation process to record and protect historic cemeteries across the state. Participation can lead to a strong and long-lasting preservation effort.

The THC offers guidelines (PDF) to aid in the preservation of the state’s historic cemeteries. However, this information alone is not enough to protect them; preservation starts with you. Individuals and groups interested in saving these irreplaceable cultural resources of Texas’ heritage are the driving force in long-term preservation.

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What Can I Do?

Preserving historic cemeteries begins with you. Cemetery preservation is community-driven and begins with grassroots efforts.

It is important to educate city and county officials about cemetery preservation issues and inform state legislators of the need for stronger state laws. Elected officials are not always aware of historic preservation challenges in the community and they will welcome input.

A working knowledge of federal, state, and local cemetery laws is essential, as is an effort to publicize attempts to protect and care for cemeteries when possible.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Record unidentified and abandoned cemeteries in your area with a Notice of Existence of Cemetery form  This form, filed with your county clerk’s office, will add the cemetery to the county deed records, allowing future landowners knowledge of a cemetery on their property.​

  • Record unverified in your area with a Notice of Unverified Cemetery form.  This form is filed with the Texas Historical Commission and concurrently with the landowner on record.

  • Apply for a Historic Texas Cemetery (HTC) designation. This process provides the Texas Historical Commission (THC) with additional information about the cemetery and is accompanied by detailed information including the history, a map, photographs, and historic deed records.

  • Form a cemetery association or 501(c)(3) corporation. A cemetery association can create rules and regulations that can protect the cemetery. It can also raise tax-deductible funds to aid in cemetery maintenance, clean-up, preservation, and conservation efforts.

  • Keep the THC informed of cemetery preservation projects taking place in the community. If you need additional help or information regarding historic cemeteries, or if you would like to talk with a staff member about the HTC designation, please contact the THC’s Cemetery Preservation Program staff at 512-463-5853, or history@thc.texas.gov.

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Cemetery Documents

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Montgomery County Historical Commission

Montgomery County Historical Commission
c/o Larry Foerster, Chairman
414 West Phillips St., Suite 100
Conroe, TX 77301
Purpose and Mission

To discover, circulate information pertinent to the historical identity of Montgomery County.
To cooperate with other organizations in preserving the history and heritage of Texas.
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