1840 Houston City Cemetery [City Cemetery # 2]
1101 Girard at Elder
Houston , 77007
09HR31, Historic Texas Cemetery, marker Class of 2009 HR-C057; listed as "City Cemetery #2" in THC Atlas; site of Old Jeff Davis Hospital; Atlas # added 11-8-09
Directions: From downtown west on Washington Ave, turn right/north on Houston Ave, turn right on Dart, right on Elder, right on Girard; the marker is in landscaped area on the north side of Girard
Key Time Period: 1893 - 1919 City Beautiful - WW I
Marker Text: On April 8, 1840, the City of Houston purchased five acres in the First Ward from brothers Henry R. and Samuel L. Allen for $750, in order to establish Houston’s first city owned cemetery. A city ordinance passed later that year divided the cemetery into four sections: (1) a "potters field" for criminals, suicides, and persons killed in duels, (2) the "negroes burying ground," (3) the "commons" for "all others not otherwise provided for," and (4) family plots "for sale to the highest bidder." Later sections were created for members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) and the Masons.
As the only city cemetery in use during a forty-year period, it became the final resting place of many citizens of the Republic of Texas and veterans of the Civil War. Also buried in the cemetery were many victims of Houston’s recurring yellow fever epidemics, the last of which occurred in 1867.
The city discontinued use of the 1840 cemetery when a new cemetery opened on Allen Parkway ca. 1879, and thereafter only burials in existing family plots were allowed. In 1893, the City Council announced plans to move all remains to a new location and build a schoolhouse on the site. However, public outcry prompted an injunction prohibiting the action.
By 1923, this cemetery was neglected and overgrown and very few grave markers were still visible. Jefferson Davis Hospital was built on the site in 1924 and the Houston Fire Department facility was added in 1968. While thousands remain buried here, the only above-ground evidence of the cemetery today is the concrete curbing surrounding the Super family plot in front of the hospital and a small Confederate section inside the Fire Department facility.
Historic Texas Cemetery - 2008
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Historic Texas Cemetery with THC Marker
Key Map Information: 493 L
GPS Coordinates: 29 46.109, 95 22.075
Precinct No: 2
Marker No: 16008