The Hancock Cemetery is located on Highway 84 one mile west of Mexia in Limestone County, Texas. The cemetery is worthy of a Historic Texas Cemetery designation for its association to the Hancock Family, one of the early pioneering families of Limestone County. The cemetery is a small portion of the land out of the Pedro Varela Survey that was once owned by Bluford Jordan Hancock and recorded in several deed records as the “B. J. Hancock Homestead.”
B. J. Hancock was the youngest child of Frances Adams and Lewis Ross Hancock, who were married on January 21, 1811 in Wilson County, Tennessee. Other children born to this union were Sylvester (died in infancy), Matilda, Hannah, John, Charles Jackson, Benjamin Timothy, Richard Alexander, and Lewis Ross.
In 1848, Benjamin Hancock moved to the community of Cotton Gin in Limestone County (now Freestone County). Since Hannah Hancock, her husband William Adamson, and their family are listed in the 1850 Limestone County census as living in the same area, it is probable that they came to Texas with Benjamin in 1848. In 1850, Charles Jackson Hancock moved to Missouri, and Richard Hancock went to Texas settling in Limestone County. In 1853, Frances Hancock left her husband in Tennessee and with her remaining children moved to Missouri to join her son Charles. Except for John who remained in Missouri, Frances and the other children and their families then moved to Limestone County, Texas in 1854. They settled about one mile west of the present-day town of Mexia. Matilda, her husband Robert Zachariah Thomason, and their children settled near Oletha in the southern part of the county. The 1850 census list Matilda and her family as living in Dekalb County, Alabama. One source suggests that they came to Texas by way of Mississippi and may not have come with her mother and siblings. In 1857, Richard returned to Tennessee to farm and care for his aging father. After his father’s death in 1866, he inherited his father’s estate, which included at least 500 acres of land, and in 1885 was elected to represent Wilson County in the Tennessee legislature. He died July 29, 1897.
In Limestone County, the Hancock Family prospered in farming and ranching endeavors and over time, purchased several hundred acres of land. Following the Civil War, they built their first cotton gin one mile west of Mexia on what would later be called the “B. J. Hancock Homestead” in several Limestone County deed records. Family members also built and operated cotton gins in the community of Cedar Island and in a location north of present-day Coolidge where the community of Hancock sprang up. Lewis Ross Hancock became the first postmaster of Hancock in 1886. In the mid-1890s, the community had twenty-five residents, and the Hancock School served a fairly wide area having eighty-two students in 1896. The post office was discontinued in 1905, and mail for Hancock was sent to Coolidge. B. J. Hancock became the co-owner of the Hancock & Adamson Mercantile in Mexia.
Frances Adams Hancock, the family matriarch, died on June 23, 1865. It is possible that others may have been buried in the Hancock Cemetery before her death, but her grave is the oldest marked grave. The last person buried in the cemetery was that of Lucinda C. Bennett Hancock, wife of Lewis Ross Hancock. She died on April 22, 1939. The cemetery has 20 graves marked with tombstones, a few graves that are marked with rocks, and one grave marked with an iron pipe. Depressions in the ground may indicate that there are also unmarked graves within the cemetery. The cemetery is fenced on three sides by a chain link fence and on the west side by a brick wall, which is the eastern boundary of the adjacent Cedar Hill Burial Park. There is no cemetery association, but the cemetery is currently maintained by Hancock Family descendants.
In a deed recorded on February 19, 1876, the cemetery contained an area of ½ acre. The deed reads, “It is understood that the parties interested in this deed, reserve one half acre for a graveyard which is already selected, day and date above mentioned.” In another deed record that was recorded on January 17, 1903, the cemetery is mentioned by name as the “Hancock Cemetery.” A deed recorded on October 14, 1907 sets aside one acre for a “Grave Yard.” This one acres, later referred to as the “Fred T. Bennett Cemetery,” was adjacent to and east of the ½ acre. During the time of the Mexia Oil Boom, Fred T. Bennett and B. J. Hancock, son of Charles Jackson Hancock, deeded the mineral rights of the combined 1½ acres to H. R. Kersteter of Oklahoma and leased him the property for oil exploration. The document, which was recorded on February 8, 1922, stipulated “that the lessee is bound and obligated to fence the Hancock Grave Yard with a good and sufficient fence and to prevent all trespassing upon said graveyard and that the lessee nor his heirs nor his assigns shall have any right whatever upon the surface of said Hancock Grave Yard.” Since the lease did not restrict oil exploration on the one-acre tract, it is probable that no one was ever buried there. It is possible that a part of the cemetery property was taken as easement for US Highway 84 when it was constructed or expanded. In 2018, the remainder of the one-acre tract, 0.6487 acres, was deeded to David and Peggy Dolen to provide access from their adjacent property to Highway 84. This property currently belongs to Refugio Torres.
Hancock Family Members Buried in the Hancock Cemetery
Archasia Clementine Warren Hancock, wife of Charles Jackson Hancock (5-4-1826/11-17-1904)
Charles Jackson Hancock (1-18-1823/11-20-1903)
Lucinda Bennett Hancock, wife of Lewis Ross Hancock (10-15-1857/4-22-1939)
Lewis Ross Hancock, son of Archaisa and Charles Jackson Hancock (4-4-1847/6-20-1891)
Lewis Ross Hancock, Sr. (5-25-1829/5-21-1893)
Mary Ware Hancock, wife of Lewis Ross Hancock (6-15-1838/3-11-1895)
Hellen Blanch Hancock, daughter of Benjamin Franklin & Anna James Smith Hancock (5-7-1886/1-20-1887)
William C. Hancock, son of Lewis Ross & Lucinda Bennett Hancock (12-31-1874/9-5-1876)
Frances Adams Hancock (1-8-1794/4-23-1865)
Olivia “Ollie” Adamson, wife of Bluford Jordan Hancock (3-4-1835/6-5-1876)
Bluford Jordan Hancock (2-17-1833/11-11-1898)
Lila M. Hopkins, daughter of Marvin D. & Nancy Frances Hancock Hopkins (2-17-1892/5-16-1892)
Lillie M. Hopkins, daughter of Marvin D. & Nancy Frances Hancock Hopkins (2-3-1886/10-17-1890)
Other Individuals Buried in the Hancock Cemetery
William P. Odom, son of W. N. & S. A. Odom (4-3-1887/4-29-1887)
Isham B. Cogdell (3-30-1854/1-10-1894)
Maria R. McCullough, wife of George McCullough (4-5-1848/8-7-1897)
S. M. Bond, wife of S. M. Bond (1-1-1860/12-26-1900)
Carl N. Henderson, son of T. A. & N. L. Henderson (7-14-1905/3-9-1907)
A. J. Hayes (5-16-1833/12-27-1892)
Eliza C. Lowe, wife of J. B. Lowe (6-16-1862/7-15-1894)