Burleson Memorial Cemetery, October 25, 2009
Burleson Memorial Cemetery is located at 580 Memorial Plaza, one block south of East Renfro Street adjacent to Fire Station Number 2. It is managed under the auspices of Burleson Cemetery Operators, LLC under a contract between Lucas and Blessing Funeral Home and the City of Burleson. The following history of the Burleson Memorial Cemetery appears in Burleson - The First One Hundred Years:
THE BURLESON CEMETERY
A meeting of the citizens of Burleson was called on November 6, 1909 for the purpose of organizing a cemetery association. The first elected officers of the association were: Mr. S.T. Hackney, President; Mr. E.M. Wilson, Vice President; and Mr. A.G. Borah, Secretary and Treasurer. Dr. J.F. Dunn, Dr. S.P. McNairn and Mr. W.P. Lace purchased a tract of land (consisting of five acres) from B.F. Clark. The land is located south of the road (now County Road 600) between the bridge and Booth Hill. The purchase price was $375. Said purchase was ratified by the association. The official record of deeds for the Burleson Cemetery is contained in Volume 1595, page 471, dated November 19, 1909 at the County Clerks office, Johnson County, Texas. At a called meeting of the association, November 17, 1909, the following constitution was approved:
ARTICLE I NAME
This association shall be known as The Burleson Cemetery Association.
ARTICLE II MEMBERSHIP
Any person purchasing one lot shall be entitled to membership.
ARTICLE III OFFICERS
The officers of the association shall be President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, and two Trustees.
ARTICLE IV DUTIES
It shall be the duty of the President to presdie at all meetings, appoint all committees and perform such other duties as usually devolve on such officer. It shall be the duty of the Vice President to perform the duties of the President in his absence.
It shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep the minutes of all meetings; to keep a list of all members; to keep a list of all lots sold and to whom sold, and to mark all lots, sold on plot of cemetery.
It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all moneys due the Association and pay out same on order of the President and one Trustee.
It shall be the duty of the Trustees to hold the property of the Association in trust and to make deeds to purchasers of lots.
ARTICLE V The President and board of trustees shall constitute a finance committee.
ARTICLE VI ELECTIONS
All officers shall be elected for one year except the Trustees, who shall hold two years except one of the first board who shall hold one year so that there shall be an extension of one Trustee each year. All elections shall be held at the first meeting in January each year.
ARTICLE VII VACANCIES
All vacancies shall be filled by the Association.
Two additional acres of land was purchased by February 25, 1910. During their meeting on February 25, 1910, the board of trustees approved a plot of the cemetery consisting of 3200 grave sites with appropriate blocks, lots, driveways and access lanes.
After the association was organized, land purchased, plotted and procedures established, the operation was somewhat routine for the next 58 years. Each year an annual meeting was held and new officers and trustees elected when appropriate. Supervision of all aspects of the cemetery was accomplished by a few dedicated individuals who served many years on the board. The last such board consisted of Dr. Frank Norwood, President; Mr. Jack C. Taylor, Vice President; Mrs. Lorena Hardgrove, Secretary and Treasurer; Directors: Mrs. Lorena Hardgrove, Mrs. Vera Keen, Mrs. Lorna Gamble, MR. Noble L. Clark, Mr. Jack C. Taylor, Mrs. Juanita Hill, and Dr. Frank Norwood. During this period, upkeep on the cemetery was by volunteer work and later by volunteer contributions of $15 per year for each member.
January 1, 1968 the Burleson Cemetery Association became Burleson Cemetery, Incorporated, and a charter was granted by the State of Texas for the beginning of perpetual care. Accordingly each lot owner was asked to contribute $50 per grave space for perpetual care. A Perpetual Care Trust Fund was established at the First National Bank in Fort Worth, Texas.
At a meeting of the Board of Directors, July 23, 1968, the Board approved a proposal for Mr. Richard Jones to assume control and operation of Burleson Cemetery, Incorporated with the following changes to by-laws: Reduce Board of Directors from seven (7) to three (3); Reduce quorum to two (2); By-laws to be amended by action of the Board instead of general membership. The Board further agreed to present the amended By-laws at a called meeting on July 28, 1968. At said general membership meeting the members voted to accept the proposed changes by a vote of 39 to 6.
Since July 28, 1968 the control and operation of Burleson Cemetery, Incorporated has been unded the direction of Mr. Richard Jones of Jones Funeral Home in Burleson, Texas. The Burleson Cemetery listing was made by Mary norris from an actual inventory of each grave site marker. After recording all the necessary data from the cemetery markers, she verified and cross checked the information with the available cemetery records retained by Richard Jones of Jones Funeral Home, Burleson, Texas. This resulted in the most complete and accurate inventory of the occupans of Burleson Cemetery as of October 20, 1980.
Author's Note: My great-aunt, Lorena Mercer Hardgrove, tirelessly worked for several civic causes, including the Burleson Public Library, Eumathian Club, Burleson Professional Woman's Club, and the Burleson Cemetery Association. She passed away in 1993 and is buried in the family plot at Burleson Memorial Cemetery. My mother, Michelle Griffith, served on the Burleson Cemetery Board from October 2006 through October 2012, including as chair, during which the board worked with the City of Burleson and Lucas and Blessing Funeral Home to ensure proper care for the final resting place of many early pioneers of Burleson and Johnson County. Michelle Griffith is working to further document the cemetery's history, with the goal of attaining historic cemetery designation and, perhaps, a Texas State Historical Marker.
Grave of J.M. Coolidge, early Burleson News editor and publisher, 1863-1920
Burleson Historical Committee. Burleson - The First One Hundred Years. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1981.
Burleson Memorial Cemetery, Official Website