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Confederate Cemetery Association

a Historical Texas Cemetery

About Us

 

One of the older organizations in the community has had an extremely quiet role, yet it continues in a rather civic manner to serve a need and to contribute to the heritage of the community. The Confederate Cemetery, including its governing board, is an outgrowth of the Confederate Veterans John A. Wharton Camp organized in 1894. The first cemetery property was purchased after a meeting between the John A. Wharton Camp and a closely associated organization, the Lamar Fontaine Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

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John Austin Wharton

July 23, 1828 - April 6, 1865

The Lamar Fontaine Chapter was organized in 1894 also. It was the desire of the members of the Chapter to erect a monument honoring the Confederate Veterans of the Alvin community.   They felt that the City Cemetery, now known as the Oak Park Cemetery, was lacking in drainage and was not a suitable place for the planned monument. It was then voted by the organization that a committee meet with the John A.  Wharton Camp to encourage the veterans to choose a more desirable site for a cemetery and the proposed monument.

The First two acres of the Confederate Cemetery were purchased June 27, 1898 for the John A. vft1arton Camp by its commander. Henry Sampson. Additional land purchase was made in 1903. These deeds were not recorded in Brazoria County until 1907. Another expansion was made in 1927.

At the time of the initial purchase of land nearly all of the members of the John A. Wharton Camp bought a lot or several lots according to their need, before the lots were made available to the public. The first burial recorded was that of three month old Charles Phillip Haley who was born March 27, 1876 and died June 14, 1876. The second burial was one year old Lawrence Slataper who died in 1889. Some say that Mrs. Bessie Durham was the first member of a Confederate veteran family to be buried in the cemetery. She was buried in 1899. The first two Confederate veterans buried there were T. B. Foster and J. L. Durham in 1901. There is now a total of thirty five known graves of Confederate veterans and among them is that of Alvin Morgan, a colorful figure in Alvin history and for whom the city is named.

In 1904 group picture was assembled from individual pictures of 38 members of the John A. Wharton Camp and their sponsor, Miss Zadie Sedwick. The picture was made by the Bronner studio but there is no documentation as to how many pictures were made. Mrs. Grace Ward Harby later prepared a list identifying those members in the picture.

The John A. Wharton Camp of Confederate Veterans met at the Alvin City Hall February 22, 1919 decided to pass the care and governing of the cemetery to their successors since their "body of veterans had thinned down" to such an extent that they felt they were not able to bear the responsibility. Those present were: F.E. Acton, chairman, Y.M. Edwards, E.G. Ward, W.L. Kidd, O.W. Glascock, and. W.C. Wilson. The following trustees were appointed: I.B. Arnold, T.C. Edwards, W.M. Hicklin, T.M Savell and W.R. Stockwell. These trustees, as a self perpetuating board, were to appoint a new member to fill any vacancy created by the resignation of any other member. Also, the veterans voted that the name would always remain "Confederate Cemetery".

One interesting note is that W. R. Stockwell, who married veteran Dr. A. A. H. Tolar’s daughter, was the song of E. S. Stockwell the only known Union veteran buried in the cemetery.  E.S. Stockwelll was discharged from the Grand Army of the Republic June 26, 1866 and moved to Alvin in 1889. He was a nurseryman and promoted the commercial production of figs and oranges in the Alvin community. He died at 92.

On May 9, 1924 the Lamar Fontaine Chapter No. 33 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy unveiled the large monument in the center of the cemetery. The monument commemorates the members of the John A. Wharton Camp.   The name of J. L. Durham was inadvertently omitted. The monument also houses the list of contributors who made its very existence possible. In a memorial ceremony on March 14, 1927 the cap of the monument was removed, the lit inserted and then the cap sealed in place. The Chapter adopted the custom of placing a Confederate flag on each of the veteran's graves on Confederate Memorial Day, April 26th.

On the evening of December 28, 1934 the board of trustees met at the Railway Express office to modify their charter. Those present were M.B. Ward, Sr., chairman, Marvin Finger, treasure, and Gerald Abbot, secretary. They voted to establish articles of a non-profit, voluntary corporation still named Confederate Cemetery. The formal charter was drawn by lawyer J.S. Jackson, signed by the trustees and notarized by Mrs. Emma Shipp, January 19, 1935.  This is the current chapter under which the trustees operate.

The 1968 board of trustees established a permanent maintenance fund for the cemetery. Only the interest from the fund may be used for care and upkeep.

In 1969 a brick entrance way to the cemetery was erected on which was placed a Texas State Historical Marker. The structure was made possible by contributions from the general public.    The Historical Marker was obtained through the efforts of Mrs. Mary Wilson Russell of Alvin, and other members of the Brazoria County Historical Survey Committee.

At an unveiling ceremony held on November 22, 1969, the Alvin mayor, Ted C. Hermann, presented the history of the cemetery and paid tribute to the veterans of four wars buried there.

The 1975 board of trustees voted in July to rewrite the operating policy manual and to ensure that the cemetery be operated according to the Texas laws and in the spirit in which it was originally intended.