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Old Waverly & Old Waverly Cemetery
Walker County Texas
by Jean Smoorenburg
 

Some History of Old Waverly
from the
Handbook of Texas Online
 

NEW WAVERLY, TEXAS. New Waverly is thirteen miles south of Huntsville on State Highway 75 and Interstate Highway 45 in southern Walker County. It was founded by the Houston and Great Northern Railroad Company after the residents of what became Old Waverly refused to grant the railroad a right-of-way through their community. In 1870 the company laid its tracks ten miles west of Old Waverly and set aside a townsite known as Waverly Station. The new community attracted many residents of Old Waverly, and the new town's name was soon changed to New Waverly. The local economy was based on cotton, and Polish immigrants recruited from Europe between 1870 and 1902 supplied local landlords with tenants for their land. A post office opened at the community in 1873. The new town grew rapidly, and in 1884 New Waverly had a population of 150 and seven general stores, four steam sawmills, two cotton gins, two saloons, and a gristmill. The community continued to grow, adding a boardinghouse, a restaurant, another gristmill, and two doctors by 1892, and a lumber company by 1896, when New Waverly reported a population of 250.

Info On Old Waverly found in the Vertical files of
Montgomery County Memorial Library

 

Obituaries for Old Waverly Cemetery
 

Living Come Back For A Day To Old Waverly (1934)
From the Scrapbook of Mrs. Frank Hill Elmore, Conroe Texas who was also buried in Old Waverly Cemetery

 

Old Waverly Lodge Officers 1861

Officers
Lname  FirstName Office
Sims Jno WM
Thompson A J  SW
Spiller P H JW
Campbell Ben Treasurer
Fitz C G Secretary
Scott W B AD
Lee W H JD
Grumble Ben Tyler
Master Masons
Scott J E  
Fisher J F  
Curtis CR  
Cunningham J B  
Entered Apprentice
Tabb E  

Roster of Company "D", 5th Texas Volunteer Infantry, Hood's Brigade: Field's Division; Longstreet's Corps. A. N. V.

 

Waverly Cemetery
by Rosemary Stewart Minard

This article on Waverly Cemetery was originally published in Texas Highways in January 1983, Vol. 30 #1, p. 44. Used with permission of Texas Highways and the author Rosemary Stewart Minard who is the daughter of Rosamunde Fisher Strozier Stewart. Both have given their permission for use of the text and photos.

Photos on Waverly Cemetery
Jack Lewis, Staff Photographer
Courtesy of Texas Highways
 


Overview of Graves


Hamlin Lewis
son of H M & Elizabeth Elmore
Born Dec 21st 1853
Died Sept 22nd 1854
Aged 1 year
9 mos & 1 day


Mary Elizabeth
consort of
A. J. Thompson
a daughter of
John & Lucy Tabb
She was born in Mecklenburg Co VA
Dec 10, A.D. 1812
& Died
March 13, A.D. 1860
 

 

 

Walker County Group Seeks Polish Ancestors
By Sondra Bosse


Minnie Fisher Cunningham
famous for her contribution to
Texas politics, was from New Waverly

Only a few reminders exist of the once prosperous community of Waverly.
 

In western San Jacinto County there is a store, a few homes and one historical marker commemorating the community's heyday.

 

In the 1800s, pioneers drawn to Texas by its untouched land settled in the Waverly area to set up plantations hoping to yield bountiful crops.
 

Following the Civil War, and the emancipation of slaves, Waverly planters found their workforce depleted and relied oh Polish immigrants to work the plantations, according to Clara Malak, first vice president of the Walker County Historical Society.

 

In 1867, Polish merchant Meyer Levy journeyed to his native land to bring back Polish workers.

 

Now, on the 135th anniversary of their landing, the Walker County Genealogical Society is honoring the first Polish families and looking for descents of those who landed in New York aboard the City of Antwerp steamship April 9; 1867.

 

According to information from the Society, almost all of the earlier immigrants first made their way to the homes of relatives and friends in New Waverly before scattered into Montgomery, Grimes, Brazos, Robertson, Washington, Austin and other surrounding counties.

 

Now the Society is seeking descendants of the first transplants as it prepares for the Texas Genealogy and Family History Fair June 22 in Huntsville.

 

The event is sponsored by the Walker County Genealogical Society for the purpose of individual researchers to meet and swap information on their families with other researchers.

 

Society members encourage attendees to submit surnames to be entered into a booklet to be distributed at the fair. Also please mail ancestor' charts and family group sheets with registration.

 

The society will also offers sessions in "Beginning Genealogy," "A Fool Proof Filing System," and "Native American Research."

 

The 2001 fair had more than 60 vendors and exhibitors and 400 in attendance.

 

The Texas Genealogy and Family History Fair will be at the Walker County Fairground four miles west of Huntsville on Texas 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Registration is $15 and exhibitor tables are $10.

 

Several hundred are expected to come seeking their roots with maybe a few tracing a line back to the Waverly community.

 

According to information from the Polish Genealogical Society, the town was named by Maxey Lewis for Sir Walter Scott's Waverly novels he was so fond of reading.

 

The first man to come to the Waverly area is James W. Winters, who arrived from Alabama in 1835. Then others flocked in to secure a suitable location to settle.

 

The town became very prosperous boasting several stores, businesses and the Waverly Institute, a school that gained a noted status in education at the time, according to information from the Polish Genealogical Society.

 

However, soon the Civil War came which brought the emancipation of slaves.

 

"All of the sudden the planters needed a work force," Malak said.

 

So 12 cotton. planters meet on Sept. 19, 1866 and organized the Waverly Immigration Society in Mayer Levy's general store in Waverly.

Levy returned to his homeland in 1867 and recruited workers from his native village of Exin, Smogulec, Szubin and the surrounding area in Poland.

 

Records indicate Levy and 45 families arrived in New York on April 9, 1867 aboard the "City of Antwerp' steamship.

 

The immigrants then boarded the C. W. Lord which brought them to Galveston April 23, 1867.

 

The immigrants then traveled to Waverly to work on plantations in return for transportation costs and coming to America.

 

The Polish immigrants were paid salaries and were to repay the funds advanced for transportation.

 

According to Malak, the one trip by Levy started a movement which brought more Polish citizens to the Waverly area.

 

"This area was called the cradle of Polish immigration in this part of Texas," Malak said.

 

Only in Panna Maria near San Antonio boasted a bigger and older Polish population.

 

However, Waverly began its gradual fade with when the railroad came its way following the Civil War.

 

According to Malak the people of Waverly did not want the railroad to come through their town.

 

"They were hardworking people who didn't want the riff raff associated with a railroad in their town," Malak said.

 

So track was laid about eight miles to the west of Waverly and that area became known as Waverly Station.

 

As area around the railroad became settled, the town of Waverly began to die, Malak said.

 

The area around New Waverly also produced one of its most famous residents.

 

According to information from the Texas State Historical Association, Minnie Fisher Cunningham was born March 19, 1882 on Fisher Farm near New Waverly.

 

Cunningham was introduced to politics by her father Horatio White and educated by her mother Sallie Comer (Abercrombie) Fisher.

 

At 16 she earned a teaching certification before becoming one of the first women to receive a degree in pharmacy in Texas.

 

She married lawyer Bill Cunningham and grew more interested in politics. The couple moved to Galveston and Cunningham lobbied for the 19th amendment.

 

She was the first woman in Texas to run for the United States Senate and worked in Washington as an information specialist for the Women's Division of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

 

There President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave her the nickname "Minnie Fish."

 

Cunningham also ran for and lost against Texas governor Coke Stevenson before retiring back at Fisher Farms in 1946.

 

Today a historical mark is three miles north of New Waverly on Texas 75 and commemorates her contribution to Texas politics.
 

For more information about Waverly, New Waverly and the Genealogy fair call (936) 295-5551 or (936) 295-9483.

Reprint from The Courier, Sunday, June 9, 2002, pages 1c, 6c.

 

 

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