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Cemetery aka Haynes Chapel Cemetery Montgomery County Texas
Group Seeks to
By Brad Meyer
Sam Knowles, 81,
stands next to the grave of Hezekiah Johnson, his great-great
grandfather, with a “This Place Matters” sign as part of a campaign
funded by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to preserve and protect
historically significant sites. Organizers hope to restore the
158-year-old Johnson-Haynes Chapel Cemetery in Walden.
MONTGOMERY – Community
residents hope to bring new life to a rundown, almost-forgotten
158-year-old cemetery and turn it into an educational resource for area
Organizers with the Johnson-Haynes Chapel Cemetery Association are
inviting the public to join in a general cleanup of the Hezekiah
Johnson/Haynes Chapel Cemetery in Walden beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Supporters have ambitious goals for revitalizing the ground that early
settlers used to bury their family members beginning in 1852.
“It’s a historical site, but it’s really in need of restoration,” said
Jean Abernathy, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “We
want to clean it up and restore dignity to the cemetery.”
The 2-acre site is what remains of a tract of land purchased by Hezekiah
Johnson upon his arrival in Texas in 1838. Johnson, who died in 1851, is
one of hundreds of early Texans, including slaves, who are buried there.
“There’s a lot of history here,” said Curtis Brown, with the JHCCA. “Many
of the graves are unmarked, but we know this was a community burial
It still is. Several of Brown’s relatives are buried there; although in
recent years, the cemetery and the small church on the site have been
subjected to vandalism and a lack of maintenance.
That’s about to change. Abernathy said the group hopes to have the
cemetery designated as a historical cemetery by the Texas Historical
Commission, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and “This Place
Matters,” a campaign by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company that supports
historical community sites.
“The new Madeley Ranch Elementary School is right across the street from
the old cemetery,” Brown said. “The revitalized cemetery could be a
wonderful resource to teach children about the history of this area and
the people who lived here.”
Organizers hope to clean up the cemetery and the structures that surround
it before the 2009-10 school year begins in August. They also hope to
raise money to build a fence around the site to help preserve it while
they work to restore the grounds.
A rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church,
located at 611 Community Center Road in Montgomery, in support of the
restoration effort. The public is invited to both the cleanup and the
For more information about the cemetery restoration effort by JHCCA, call
Johnson Cemetery aka Haynes Chapel
Cemetery is located off Walden Road, and is a part of the Dan Madeley place. Dan
Madeley gave 17 acres for this cemetery and two acres for a church.
In this cemetery we have white, Mexican or Spanish
and Black people buried here. There are many unmarked graves outside of the
chain link fence and was used during the time of slavery.
According to the Montgomery County Cemetery Book,
Volume VI, page 21 the following is written regarding Haynes Chapel:
HAYNES CHAPEL MISSIONARY
(Guide: W. S. Saddler)
Rev. Abe Brown, Pastor
Present Deacon: W. S. Saddler
Former Deacons: J. Y. Young, W. W. Watkins, T. W. Washington
Level by Silver Trowel Lodge No. 76 A. F. & A.M. Bro. Leroy Felder, 32°W.
M.; Bro. Willie Saddler, Secretary; M W. C. L Woods, 33°C.
M. ; Mary C. Brown, Treasurer; Atlanta Saddler, Clerk; Betty S. Haynes,
Transcription of Johnson
aka Haynes Chapel Cemetery
Johnson Cemetery &
Haynes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
Cemetery is across this fence in clump of
Darlene Madeley Lee
in front of what remains of the Church
Darlene investigates inside
Remnants of the Piano