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City of Taylor hopes cemetery's historic designation will draw visitors

A person in a cowboy hat looks down at a book with a cemetery blurred in the background
Kailey Hunt
/
KUT
Morgan Cook, the cemetery coordinator for the City of Taylor, holds a cemetery ledger from 1888 at the Taylor City Cemetery on Thursday. He says the process of getting the cemetery designated historic took almost a year.

Take a walk through the Taylor City Cemetery, and you'll quickly notice little historical details on the headstones that reveal just how old it is — 133 years old to be exact.

It was these little details — inscriptions memorializing some of Williamson County's first settlers and markers indicating former citizens of the Republic of Texas — that led the city to a successful bid to designate the gravesite as a "Historical Texas Cemetery."

"It is an honor to have the Taylor City Cemetery receive this distinction from the Texas Historical Commission,” Mayor Brandt Rydell said in a press release announcing the designation Tuesday. "The City Cemetery is an integral part of Taylor’s history, and this is an important step to make certain that that history is preserved for years to come."

The headstone for Eugenia Avery displays a seal recognizing that she was a citizen of the Republic of Texas.
Kailey Hunt
/
KUT
The headstone for Eugenia Avery displays a seal recognizing that she was a citizen of the Republic of Texas.

The city acquired the land that would become the cemetery in 1889. The oldest known burial on the site, however, took place 36 years earlier. The historic designation means the cemetery has been legally recorded through the THC's Cemetery Preservation Program — an important step in ensuring its preservation.

"When we got [the designation], I was really excited because it took me almost a year of research and paperwork," Morgan Cook, the cemetery's coordinator and sexton, said. "It was really exciting and fulfilling to not only meet that goal I'd set, but be able to signify the historical part of the cemetery for the City of Taylor and the citizens."

Cook said he hopes the designation will encourage people to visit.

"A lot of times you will come across old cemeteries [that have] become forgotten and those people are lost to history," Cook said. "Cemeteries are more than just a place for remembrance. It's a place to come visit."

Historically, people would go to cemeteries to have picnics and use them almost like a city park, he said, "so it's extremely important to maintain these cemeteries and keep them active."

The THC created the "Historic Texas Cemetery" designation to help prevent the destruction of historic cemeteries and the illegal removal of cemetery fixtures. Any individual or organization can apply for this designation.

The designation is reserved for cemeteries that are at least 50 years old.

For more information about the designation or to get an application, visit the THC website or contact its History Programs Division at 512-463-5853 or history@thc.texas.gov.

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