Vinson Cemetery carries the name of its donors, Wiley and Phebe Spurlin Vinson, who designated one-half acre of their land for a cemetery in 1870. The cemetery is southeast of Thornton on LCR 728. It is located in a large pasture and was located there because related families lived in the vicinity.
Wiley Vinson was born in Georgia and married Phebe Spurlin on September 12, 1826 in Jones County, Georgia. Phebe, born in 1805, was also a Georgia native. They had ten children. Sarah Ann, Mary, John, Henry, and James Madison were born in Georgia. Barbara Ellen, Wiley, Jr., Thomas, Robert, and C. Francis were born in Alabama.
The Wiley family came on a flat boat to Corpus Christi, Texas about 1851 and briefly lived in the counties of Lavaca, DeWitt, and Falls, before settling in Limestone County. Wiley Vinson filed on 160 acres of land and had a patent issued to him on September 20, 1859. This tract is still known as the “Wiley Vinson Survey.” He and his sons were farmers, operated a grist mill, and had a tan yard. The father, Wiley, was listed as a wagon maker in the 1860 census.
All of the sons served in the Civil War and returned home after the conflict. As the land then owned by the parents was too limited to support this family of farmers, Wiley Vinson bought 525 additional acres on August 12, 1870, which he purchased from Joseph Copeland in the Joseph Copeland Survey. One-half acre of this purchase was designated as a cemetery by Vinson. The surrounding land was later owned by Vinson’s son, Thomas.
The individuals buried in Vinson Cemetery were members of the Vinson family and neighbors living nearby, most of whom were related by marriage. There are 38 marked graves. The first person buried in the cemetery was Wiley Vinson who died in 1871. His wife, Phebe, was buried in the Cemetery in 1873. The last burial in the cemetery was of Martha I. Morris in 1927. Other members of the Vinson family buried in the cemetery include four of the children of Wiley and Phebe: Sarah Vinson Baker Booth, 1827-1903; Robert Vinson, 1845-1876; Wiley Vinson, Jr.; 1840-1869; and C. Francis Vinson, 1848-after 1860. They have nine grandchildren buried in the cemetery: Wiley Vinson, 1872-1877; two infant sons of Barbara Ellen Vinson Fox; Mary E. Fox, 1866-1873; Prudence A Vinson, 1865; Addie M. Vinson; Robert Carlton Vinson, 1899-1900; William Rupert Vinson, 1901-1901; and Melissa A. Baker Reed Smith, 1846-1877.
Vinson Cemetery is the burial place for three veterans of the Confederate States Army: Wiley Vinson, Jr., Robert Vinson, and William C. Gum.
In 1962, the Fox-Darden Family Association began to assume responsibility for the cemetery. It was fenced, cleaned, and broken markers mended or replaced. The cemetery received a Texas Historical Marker in 1974. The Darden name was later dropped from the organizational name as no Dardens are known to be buried there. The Fox Family Association continued to care for the cemetery and met annually for several years. Family members reorganized the association as the Vinson-Fox Cemetery Association in 2012. Additional information can be found on the Vinson-Fox Cemetery Association website: http://www.vinson-fox.com/.