Limestone County Historical Commission
Limestone County Historical Commission

King-Williams Cemetery

King-Williams Cemetery is the resting place of Bardin and Susan King, eight of their family members, and one freed African American.  These settlers traveled by covered wagon, endured the hardships to arrive in Texas, and settled in Limestone County in the small community of Headsville.  They helped in the community’s growth, contributed to the farming economy, and actively participated in community and church activities.  Headsville was named after James A. Head who received one of the earliest land grants in what would become Limestone County (March 18, 1835).  By 1871 Headsville had a post office.  J. G. Adams operated a store there and was postmaster in 1885, when the community had a population of thirty. In 1904 Headsville had a school with one teacher and fifty-four students. The community's population was seventy-five in 1915.


The first grave in the cemetery was that of Susan King.  She died on March 23, 1879 and was buried on the family’s land.  After dividing his land among his nine living children in 1881, Bardin King set aside one acre on which his wife was buried establishing it as a family cemetery.  It was originally known as the King Cemetery.


The King-Williams Cemetery is located between Kosse and Marquez on Texas Highway 7.  It is east of Kosse, on the right, 0.1 mile beyond Limestone County Road 714.  Kosse is located on State Highways 14 and 7 near Falls County line in southwestern Limestone County.  Originally, Eutaw was the dominant community in southern Limestone County.  Established in the 1840’s, Eutaw was a stage stop for the Franklin -Springfield and Waco-Marlin stage routes.  Kosse became the end of the Houston and Texas Central Railway by 1869, and as a result, Eutaw dwindled as businesses and people moved to the booming railroad town.  By 1870, when the King family moved to the area, a post office was established at Kosse.  The town’s government developed and the community population reached 500 by 1880.  Kosse had several cotton gins, two sawmills, three gristmills, a ceramics lab, and the first brickyard in the county.


Bardin King, his wife, Susan Elizabeth Salter King, and their young family were early settlers in Texas.  Like many other families, they moved more than one time before reaching their final destination. This young Scotch/Irish/English couple married in 1842 in Lowndes County, Alabama.  They began their migration journey with their young son William in a covered wagon from Alabama to Louisiana between the years 1843 and 1850.  Susan’s father James and mother Martha Speight Salter and her younger Salter siblings accompanied them. Bardin became an established landowner growing cotton in Louisiana. They applied and received two Louisiana Land Grants.  He sold the land grants and used the money for two known purposes.  The first purpose was to provide money for a trip to Texas to purchase land.  The second purpose was to pay off his father-in-law’s debts allowing James Salter to retain his slaves.  Bardin did not want to see the families separated on the auction block.  Ten years later, Bardin and Susan with their five children, the Salter and Ladd families began the arduous trip to Texas.  They arrived in Navarro County where they lived until a yellow fever epidemic occurred.  In 1862 William, the oldest child of the King family, volunteered for the Confederate Cavalry in Texas. He was in Company B, Col. Sweets Regiment 15, Captain G.B. Pickett.  He was discharged in the same year.


The King Family again relocated, this time in Washington County. However, the Salter and Ladd families did not move with them.  Bardin, Susan and their nine children moved to their final destination in Limestone County late in the year of 1870.


Bardin and his family established themselves in the community of Headsville when Bardin purchased 189 acres from Lucinda and John R. Wilson.  Bardin paid two thousand dollars in gold coin for the land.  This land is located in the Jarred Young survey.  The Kings were the typical southern farm family growing cotton and grains. Bardin cleared the land and grew the crops. A vegetable garden supplied food for the table. Susan pulled the cotton fibers making thread to weave for cotton clothes. The couple taught their children along with strong Christian values, education, community ties and patriotism.


      The King family actively attended the Baptist Church later known as the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Christ located in the Headsville community.  Bardin was a lay minister, and he had three known sons John, Cullen, and Moses who also became lay ministers.  The youngest son Finley became an ordained Pastor in the Baptist church.  Bardin was also active in the community.  He was a charter member in the Masonic Lodge and had four known sons who became Masons.  Another community organization that Bardin belonged to was the farmer’s co-op called the Grange. In a letter to his son Cullen, Bardin wrote about the meetings and the enjoyable social functions with the members.


Susan died on March 23, 1879 and was buried on the family land.  Her burial would be the first in what would later become the King Cemetery.  Her tombstone states she was born August 10, 1822 in Alabama to James and Martha Speight Salter. Her original gravestone is broken but it remains.  A new stone was set in its place in the year 2000, and the old broken stone was set aside.


Bardin was born in Alabama June 17, 1819.  He was the son of Allen King and Nancy Hooks King.  He established the King Cemetery in 1881 for a family cemetery after dividing his land among his nine living children.   He deeded to “my son James A. King, the west half of my homestead place situated in Limestone County, Texas on the waters of the Steels Creek about 18 miles south of Groesbeck being the west half of 189 acres of a survey xx acres survey in the name of Jarred Young excepting one acre being reserved for a graveyard containing about 93 1/2 acres more or less.”


Bardin died on December 25, 1891. A Masonic symbol is engraved on his tombstone. Bardin, nine other family members and one free African American are buried in the Cemetery.  It is unknown where the African American male is buried. His last name is Speight.


In 1893-1894, the children of Bardin sold the property to their sister Susan Lueticia King Williams.  Her husband Robert Holden Williams was the last family member to be buried in the cemetery.  The dates on his tombstone read born August 11, 1858 and died January 18, 1944.  Robert admired Bardin King and acquired many of Bardin’s values. He grew cotton and corn on the once King Farm.  Like the Kings, he and his family were active in the Ebenezer Church and taught his family the Christian values. He was known for his master carpentry work, and he taught others the trade.  When any new home or building was built he was called to install the new windows.


Through the years the cemetery has had minimal care. Susan Lueticia’s son assumed the responsibility of caretaker until his death.  He reduced the size of the cemetery and bordered it with a barbed wire fence.  He added a wooden gate and changed the name of the cemetery from King Cemetery to King Williams Memorial Cemetery.  The cemetery’s name was later changed to King-Williams Cemetery.  Susan Lueticia’s great grandson Donald Williams and a friend Lellan Thompson are now the volunteer caretakers.  Over a period of time the barbed wire fence allowed cattle to gain access. In September 2005, another great grandson replaced the original fence with a chain link fence on three sides and an iron fence and gate on the entrance side. The entrance side faces Highway 7.  The galvanized chain link fencing is four feet high with three strands of barbed wire on the top.  The aerial map shows that Texas Utilities owns the land surrounding the King-Williams Cemetery.  In the fall of 2006, Texas Utilities Company fenced the rest of the acre with the same galvanized chain link fence.


All tombstones face east with their back to the west. The first tombstone is located 120 feet from the front gate. The tombstones are placed randomly yet fairly close to one another.  It leaves the impression that they were intended to be in a line. Besides the previously mentioned original broken tombstone and its granite replacement, some of the other original stones are leaning.  New polished granite stones have been purchased and have been added to the foot of each grave leaving the original stones at the head of the grave.  The original stones are made of limestone.


There are three cedar trees and eight pine trees located in the cemetery.  Three of the pine trees are old and very tall.  They are located at the back of the cemetery near the fence.  The underbrush has been removed and the pine trees trimmed.  King-Williams Cemetery has been designated as a family cemetery and any member of the family may be buried there. In the past the burial services have been Protestant, however, this is not a requirement. The gate is unlocked, and the public is welcome.


In September 2005, the King family descendants held their first family reunion. The reunion was held in Kosse with 115 members present indicating renewed interest in the family and its origin.  Revival of the King-Williams Cemetery was the central theme. A family association was formed at the 2006 reunion. They elected officers for the beginning association and decided to annually donate money toward the upkeep and preservation of the cemetery.  The descendants celebrated King-Williams Cemetery being deemed a Texas Historical Cemetery with each member receiving a copy of the Texas Historic Cemetery certificate.

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