Limestone County Historical Commission
Limestone County Historical Commission

Faulkenberry Cemetery

The Faulkenberry Cemetery is located in the city of Groesbeck off State Highway 164.  From the earliest known deed records, the Cemetery began as a 4 1/2 acre tract out of the David Faulkenberry land grant.  Over the decades, there have been several additions to the cemetery which has resulted in its current size of 21.24 acres.  Many early settlers of Limestone County, prominent citizens and community leaders of the area, state and local officials, law enforcement officials, and veterans of various wars are buried in this cemetery.  The cemetery continues to be used as a burial ground for residents of Groesbeck and the surrounding area and for former residents of the area whose remains are brought "back home" to be buried.

 

The Faulkenberry Cemetery was named for the Faulkenberry family.  John Faulkenberry was born about 1770 in Lancaster County, South Carolina.  He moved with his family to Jackson County, Georgia in about 1796.  In 1809, he is listed on the Rutherford County, Tennessee tax record, and by 1812 appears on the Franklin County, Tennessee tax record.  In Franklin County he received a land grant.  On December 8, 1829, John sold his land in Tennessee and moved to Shelby County, Illinois where he is listed on the 1830 census.  Two of his sons, David and Jacob, are also listed as head of household on this census.  The Faulkenberry family was closely associated with the Parker and Anglin families.  In Illinois, the Parker family established the Pilgrim Church and moved to Texas in 1833.  It was called the Pilgrim Church because it moved from place to place.   John Faulkenberry's oldest son, David, and his family moved with this group to Texas.

 

David Faulkenberry was born between 1790 and 1796, probably in South Carolina.  He married Nancy Douthit on July 20, 1814 in Franklin County, Tennessee.  Nancy was the daughter of Evan and Sarah Douthit and the granddaughter of John and Eleanor Davis Douthit.  David and Nancy Faulkenberry had seven children: Evan (ca. 1815 - January 28, 1837), Rebecca (December 13, 1818 - March 29, 1870), Elijah W. (February 28, 1822 - January 1, 1883), John Terrell (1823 - before 1865), Eleanor Adeline (November 30, 1825 - ?), Sarah Emiline (November 30, 1825 - 1861), and Elizabeth Ann (August 5, 1831 - December 17, 1916).

 

After the Pilgrim Church caravan arrived in Texas under the leadership of Daniel Parker, it traveled to an area southeast of Stephen F. Austin’s Colony called Grimes Prairie.  The group stayed there for about a year.  They then moved north along the Old San Antonio Road.  Daniel Parker and several members of the congregation decided to settle in an area of present-day Anderson County.  It was here, near the present-day community of Elkhart, that they built the first Protestant church in Texas.

 

The remaining members of the group traveled westward to an area along the Navasota River in present-day Limestone County.  Each family in the group had received a grant for a section of land. They built cabins and cleared the land for farming.  Because Indians were still a problem in this part of Texas, they decided to build a fort for protection.  The group at Fort Parker included Elder John Parker, his wife, Sally, and their sons Benjamin, James, and Silas, together with their families.  James and Martha Parker had six children.  Two of their children, Rachel Plummer and Sarah Nixon, were married with children of their own.  Silas and Lucinda Parker had four children.  Other members of the group included the mother-in-law of Sarah Nixon and her sister, Elizabeth Kellogg; Mrs. Duty, the mother of Martha and Lucinda Parker; Samuel Frost, his wife and children; and George Dwight and his family.  The families of Silas Bates, David Faulkenberry, and Abram Anglin lived on nearby farms.  David Faulkenberry received his land grant of 4428 acres on March 13, 1835, which was located in the Andres Varela survey.

 

In early spring of 1836, the Parker settlers participated in the Runaway Scrape.  Fearing Indian attacks and the advancing Mexican Army, they traveled toward safety in Louisiana.  They haulted their journey after reaching the Trinity River, which they were unable to cross because of flooding.  On April 23, they received news that Santa Anna had surrendered at San Jacinto.  They returned to Fort Parker by way of Fort Houston near present-day Palestine where they remained for a few days.  Leaving their family members at Fort Houston, David and Evan Faulkenberry, Seth and Silas Bates, and Abram Anglin returned with the Parkers to present-day Limestone County.

 

On May 19, 1836, a group of Indians attacked Fort Parker.  David and Evan Faulkenberry were at their farm when they were warned by L. T. M. Plummer of the attack.  David and Evan Faulkenberry, Elisha Anglin, and L. T. M. Plummer arrived in time to free L. D. Nixon, Lucinda Parker, and her two youngest children from the Indians.  The attack on Fort Parker left five dead, two wounded and five taken captive.  Evan and David Faulkenberry were with one of two groups of survivors.  Neither group knew that the other existed.  The Faulkenberry group managed to reach Fort Houston in three days.

 

After the fall of Fort Parker, David and Nancy Faulkenberry and their family remained near Fort Houston in Anderson County.  Unfortunately, David and Evan were overcome by Indians along the west bank of the Trinity River on January 28, 1837.  David died after being wounded and swimming to the east side of the river.  Evan's body was never found.  The Indians stated afterwards that "he fought like a demon, killed two of their number, wounded a third, and when scalped and almost cloven asunder, jerked from them, plunged into the river and about midway sank to appear no more."  Abram Anglin, who was with David and Evan, went to Fort Houston for help.  When help returned, they found David's body and buried him near there in an unmarked grave.  This is why he is not buried next to Nancy in the Faulkenberry Cemetery. 

 

After the death of David and Evan, Nancy Faulkenberry and her remaining children later returned to Limestone County and lived on the David Faulkenberry land grant.  Nancy acted as administrator for her husband's estate.  Later she married Elisha Anglin.

 

The Faulkenberry Cemetery began when Nancy set aside land for burial purposes behind the Faulkenberry home after the death of a Faulkenberry infant that died on September 10, 1854.  The tombstone reads "E. Faulkenberry" and gives the birth of this child as March 11, 1854.  No records showing the identity of this child can be found, but the six-month old infant must have been a grandchild of Nancy Faulkenberry.  This family cemetery was located directly behind the Faulkenberry cabin that David and Evan Faulkenberry had built earlier.  Mrs. Rosemary Parish, a descendant of David and Nancy Faulkenberry, remembers that when she was a child her grandfather took her to see this cabin prior to it being burned.  She remembers it as "a one-room log cabin, which had a dirt floor, mud fireplace, and one door."  Family members were buried in this cemetery over the next several decades, and many of their descendants have also been and continue to be buried there.  Eventually, the cemetery would become a burial ground for other residents of the area.

 

Nancy Faulkenberry died in 1869 and is buried in the Faulkenberry Cemetery.  Her tombstone reads, "The Giver of this Cemetery."  As of this writing, no deed records have been found in the Limestone County Clerk’s office in which Nancy Faulkenberry set aside this land for a cemetery.  She probably never did, but if such a document ever existed, it was probably destroyed.  The Limestone County Courthouse burned on October 24, 1873 with all records being lost in the fire.  Also, the Faulkenberry Family Bible, letters, and documents were also destroyed in a house fire several years ago.

 

The first recorded deed found for the Faulkenberry Cemetery is dated September 12, 1874, twenty years after the first burial.  In Volume B, page 477 of the Limestone County Deed Records, Abram Anglin, R. Andrews, and John Anglin purchased a 4 1/2 acre tract of land from James and Henry Dossey for the sum of one dollar.   This tract of land is also described in the deed as a square tract of land.  This same 4 1/2 acre tract is also mentioned in Volume B, page 475 and as being "deeded for a burying ground."  This deed is also dated September 12, 1874.  Abram Anglin and John Anglin were grandsons of Nancy and David Faulkenberry, and they and Mr. Andrews served as the first trustees of the Faulkenberry Cemetery.

 

Many additions have been made to this original 4 1/2 acres contained in the cemetery.  On May 16, 1890, two tracts of land were purchased by M. H. Clark, S. S. Walker, and John Anglin, trustees of the Faulkenberry Cemetery, from G. B. and Mary Vinson for the sum of $37.50.  The first tract was 1 1/2 acres with the second tract being 3 acres.  In a deed filed on April 3, 1915, Mary Scott sold an additional 1 1/2 acre tract of land to the trustees of the Faulkenberry Cemetery, M. H. Clark, D. Oliver, and Oscar Rountree, for the sum of $70.  A plat recorded in Volume 67, page 607 of the Limestone County Deed Records shows this addition.

 

J. O. and Elizabeth Rountree sold a 5 1/3 acre tract to the cemetery trustees, D. Oliver and J. L. Walker, for the sum of $800.  This deed was recorded on November 22, 1926.  An additional 3 acres were purchased for $350 from the Rountrees by D. Oliver, J. L. Walker, and C. S. Bond, trustees of the Faulkenberry Cemetery Association.  This deed was recorded on April 2, 1930.  One acre was purchased in December of 1936 from Richard E. and Mamie Pierce for the sum of $100.  The trustees at that time were J. L. Walker, C. S. Bond, and W. A. Browder.  A tract containing .083 acres was purchased by the trustees, W. A. Browder, W. L. Bond, and Charles Harrison, from F. B. and Novell Davis for the sum of $10.  This deed was recorded on March 31, 1953.

 

In December, 1971, the Limestone County Commissioners' Court sold a portion of a closed county road that ran along the southwestern boundary of the cemetery to the cemetery association for the sum of $10.  On July, 2, 1973, M. D. and Evelyn Harryman sold the Faulkenberry Cemetery Association a 1.72 acre tract of land for the sum of $860.  This deed was recorded on July 6, 1973.

 

On June 12, 1979, J. B. Roberts, President of the Faulkenberry Cemetery Association, petitioned the City of Groesbeck to annex the cemetery so the cemetery would have access to the city water supply.   On September 26, 1979, the City of Groesbeck issued Ordinance #79-0-13 which annexed the Faulkenberry Cemetery to the city.  At this point the cemetery contained 21.24 acres.  With no more additions to the cemetery since 1979, 21.24 acres remains the current size of the cemetery.

 

John C. Clariman served as caretaker of the Faulkenberry Cemetery from some time in the 1890's until his death in 1934.  While serving as caretaker, he would stock the pond in the cemetery with fish.  (This pond is no longer in the cemetery.  It was drained and filled in at a later date to provide more space for burials.)  It is said that he could give a certain tone to his whistle, and all the fish would rise to the water's edge to be fed.  No one ate the fish from this pond.  John Clariman is buried near the Anglin plot in what is known at this time as the "old section."

 

Mrs. J. D. Whitcomb and Miss Zephie Anglin took charge of cleaning the cemetery in the 1930's after the death of Mr. Clariman.  They would canvass the town of Groesbeck collecting money to pay the men who were hired to clean the cemetery.  Because of the Depression, some of the citizens would give eggs and butter or whatever they had instead of money.   The two ladies would visit all of the downtown businesses to sell the items collected in addition to collecting money.

 

Currently, the Faulkenberry Cemetery Association meets twice each year and employs a full-time caretaker who works five days a week to maintain the cemetery's beauty and peacefulness.  Much of the cemetery is covered with very large oak and cedar trees, and some of its streets are covered with asphalt.  The first cedar trees were planted in the cemetery by Elizabeth Faulkenberry Anglin, and her husband, John, laid out the buggy paths for her to plant the shade trees along.  The iron gate and fence located at the entrance was erected by the cemetery association in 2002, adding an attractive front to this hallowed place.  The gate is locked each night providing better security against vandalism.

 

The Faulkenberry Cemetery is currently divided into seventeen sections (sections A - P and a potter’s field).  The potter’s field, which contains about 25 graves, is located along the southwestern boundary of the cemetery.  It probably contains the graves of Negro slaves, former slaves, the unclaimed remains of prisoners who died in the county jail, and other poor souls.  The graves of these unknown individuals are marked with native sandstone rocks.

 

Several of the older family plots in the cemetery are enclosed by ornate iron fencing.  The cemetery also contains many ornate and interesting markers.  One of the most unique is that of Mr. Fred C. Gerding (Dec. 11, 1891 - June 7, 1924).  Mr. Gerding was a fine carpenter, and he built many frame structures in Groesbeck.  Before his death, he built his own wooden marker.  Years later, Mr. Jack Franklin, a printer for the Groesbeck Journal, would routinely arm himself with tools and repair Mr. Gerding's marker.  Mr. Franklin would often say, “I would appreciate this kindness if I was not around."

 

There are about 230 marked veterans’ graves located in the cemetery, and there are probably many more that are unmarked.  These include veterans of the Texas Revolution, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

In addition to being one of the first Texas Rangers, Abram Anglin (12-28-1817/9-6-1875) fought in the Texas Revolutionary War.  A grave marker erected by the State of Texas in 1962, states that Anglin was “An early Texas Ranger in the Texas War for Independence – Member of Capt. Seale’s Co. 1835-1836.

 

There are twelve known veterans of the Confederate States of America buried in the Faulkenberry Cemetery.  (However, there are probably many other veterans of the Civil War buried in the cemetery.)  The known Confederate veterans are:

 

1) Earl Tyus Kimbell              4-13-1846/12-1-1935           Co. H, 1st Ark. Rgt.

2) Ales Benson                      1833/1899                            Cpl., Co. K, 7th Tenn. Rgt.

3) Henry C. Joiner                  no dates given                       Co. E, 19th Tex Inf.

4) John Harrington                10-11-1840/8-1-1899           Pvt., Co. E, 4th Tex Inf.

5) A. J. Clancy                        no dates given                       Co. G, 57th Ala. Inf.

6) John T. Anglin                   no dates given                       10th Tex. Inf.

7) Adan H. Shrivier                no dates given                       Landry’s Co. A Art.

8) Green W. Lee                     no dates given                       unknown

9) John W. Shelton                no dates given                       Pvt., unknown

10) A. A. Jayne                       12-13-1838/5-11-1904        Co. G, 28th Miss. Cav.

11) N. T. Popejoy                   no dates given                       unknown

12) Walter Gavin Caddle      1816/1886                            Co. G, 26th Ark. Inf.

 

The two veterans of the Spanish American War who are buried in the Faulkenberry Cemetery are William V. Wyatt and James C. Dark.  William V. Wyatt was born on March 3, 1830 and died on October 23, 1907.  He was a private in Company L, 2nd Regiment Infantry.  James C. Dark was born on September 5, 1875 and died on December 1, 1962.  He was a private in the Texas Cavalry.

 

There are at least 43 veterans of World War I buried in the Faulkenberry Cemetery. Oscar Rountree (12-20-1895/7-10-1956), a veteran of World War I, procured from the Veterans of Foreign Wars a large granite memorial marker honoring the fallen heroes of World War I who are buried in the cemetery.  It still stands at the north end of the main drive.

 

The majority of the veterans buried in the Faulkenberry Cemetery are veterans of World War II.  The number of World War II veterans buried in the cemetery has increased dramatically over the last two decades and continues to increase.  There are at least 13 veterans of the Korean War, and at least 3 veterans of the Vietnam War buried in the cemetery.

 

In addition to the veterans buried in the Faulkenberry Cemetery, many state and local officials, business leaders, and community leaders are buried in the cemetery.   There are too many to name, and some would surely be over-looked if the attempt to do so was undertaken.  It must be mentioned, however, that there are at least two former members of the Texas House of Representatives and five former sheriffs of Limestone County buried in the cemetery.  Sam A. Thomas (8-6-1872/10-15-1948) served as Limestone County Clerk from 1910 to 1914 and served in the Texas House of Representatives in 1921.  A. Robin Henderson (2-24-1895/3-15-1949) also served in the Texas House of Representatives during the 1930’s.  J. B. Tyus (3-21-1830/11-9-1901) was sheriff of Limestone County from 1878 to 1879, T. E. Jackson (6-28-1844/2-21-1884) was sheriff from 1879 to 1884, J. B. Gresham (1851/1916) was sheriff from 1892 to 1902, J. E. Gresham (10-29-1873/9-9-1908) was sheriff from 1902 to 1906, and Whit Popejoy (11-22-1876/10-4-1949) was sheriff from 1922 to 1926.

 

The Faulkenberry Cemetery has a long, interesting history.  It is the final resting place for some of the first settlers in what is now Limestone County, people who came to the area more than ten years before the county was established and while Texas was still part of Mexico.  Established in 1854 as a family cemetery with the burial of a Faulkenberry infant, it has grown into one of the largest and best kept cemeteries in the county.  It was annexed by the City of Groesbeck in 1979, has an area of 21.24 acres, and currently serves as a burial ground for the families of Groesbeck and the surrounding area.

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