Home > Uncategorized > Old Round Rock/Hopewell/Slave Cemetery-Three in One

Old Round Rock/Hopewell/Slave Cemetery-Three in One

Our group was assigned to Old Round Rock Cemetery for this trip. When we first arrived, it was a tad overwhelming, seeing as the cemetery is sprawling. Little did we know, there were actually three different cemeteries in the same plot. Hopewell appears to be the newest section, with most of the graves dated in the 2000’s and 1990’s. Old Round Rock includes most of the older graves, including many Freemasons, like Old Georgetown, and Modern Woodsmen of America, another fraternity that helped the widows after the men passed away.

And then there was the Slave Cemetery, which was easy to find seeing as it was labeled Slave Cemetery. There was a historic marker as well, but it was not as nice as the one  for Old Round Rock. Unlike the one in Old Georgetown, this actually acknowledged the presence of slaves. The sign wasn’t actually needed, because the area was almost identical to the slave side in Old Georgetown. It was very heavily wooded and really didn’t look like anything at all. Few headstones actually stood up, with most flat on the ground, cracked in half, engravings fading away. It was difficult to find many headstones at all, until we walked towards the upper left corner. This was one of the most disheartening things I had ever seen. What had looked like piles of rubble from afar was actually headstones. Bits and pieces of lots of headstones were just grouped in a pile. We could see bits of engravings, but that was it. That means that there were multiple graves that were at one point marked, but someone had taken the time to unmark them and chuck the stones in a pile.

Looking from the far side of the cemetery towards the slave side, you don’t really notice the wooded, trashed area. Instead, you see more of other graves, which are also in different stages of disaster. Most of the cemetery seems to be visited rarely, with the Hispanic section being decorated and in good care.

These two piles of headstones interested me the most. As I previously mentioned, someone had taken the time to move these headstones. Yes, they were broken and not well taken care of. But that means that there are so many more unmarked graves than previously thought. Also, the slave side is up against a chain link fence with tons of trash on the other side, some of which has made it into the cemetery itself. There’s even a sign telling people not to dispose of trash there.

In Old Round Rock cemetery, the oldest site of the “pioneers” (a themes that seems to come up a lot on these historic markers) is from 1851. It belongs to 11 year old Angeline Scott. The known graves in the separate slave cemetery are from the 1800’s as well, but no specific date is seen because of the poor quality of the stones. The marker stated that the 1st freed slave was buried there in 1880, showing that it remained a segregated cemetery. No “interments of former slaves” have occurred since 1900, but it’s unclear, because of the lack of headstones, when the last burial took place of any non-white person in this side.

There were three cemeteries in the same area, all clearly marked by signs. Old Round Rock and the Slave Cemetery both had historical markers. Old Round Rock’s refered to the “many pioneers and outstanding Round Rock citizens” and listed many “unusual” graves, belonging to eye doctors and free masons and such. It briefly mention the 4.5 acres in the North West used for slaves and freedmen. This reminded me of the “pioneers” and “citizens” in the Old Georgetown Cemetery.  The Slave Cemetery sign states that the land was “set aside” and plots were marked with “cedar posts and barbed wire”, two things we never saw. It talked about the prevalence of headstones, which was also not there. “Sites are marked head and foot with large limestone rocks.” There were rocks scattered around, but most headstone, as I previously states, were thrown in two piles. Apparently there are white graves here, too, but there were too few.

Overall, the entire Old Round Rock and Slave cemeteries are in a state of disarray. The Hispanic side and Hopewell are very well taken care of and seem to have been visited, but the others had broken stones and mausoleums, with some so weathered that you can no longer see the engraved names and dates. Frankly, I was appalled that they let it reach this state, the slave cemetery included. It’s almost as if they’re completely removing  the Slave Cemetery from site.

More photos for people who are interested here at my Flickr.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 19, 2011 at 1:52 am

    It seems like there was a lot of room for contrast in this cemetery. The fact that the white portion was well looked after and orderly is no surprise, but I’m intrigued by the differences in the Hispanic and slave cemeteries. Why do you think that is? Could it be because, before Anglos arrived, Hispanics were the aristocracy and landowners in Texas and therefore get a bit more respect than they would elsewhere?

  2. January 19, 2011 at 2:05 am

    I’m not really sure. It seems like any other ethnicity would be separated, which is what happened. The Hispanic graves were much newer in contrast with the slave site. Also, there were headstones for the Hispanic side, and most of the graves on the slave side were unmarked. This would be something interesting to look into. I’m curious is there are any other cemeteries that had a clear marker between multiple ethnicities.

  3. cindy
    December 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Can anyone tell me if there is any record of the grave markings. Many of my ancestors are buried there inclusive of my Great Great Grandfather. Regarding the comments of earlier racial inequity always have been prevelant and still remains today. As slaves were generally listed as no more than property, the clear demonstration is what has been demonstrated. My interest is preserving and understanding my ancestors journey and any assistance would be appreciated.

    • stocktonprof
      December 31, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Cindy, I am not sure about the records for the Old Round Rock cemetery, since we did the least amount of research on that site for our class. However, it is one of the few cemeteries in the area with an historic marker acknowledging the slave burials, so my sense is that people have done research on this cemetery in the past. I’m sorry I am not of more help. My suggestion would be to try to figure out which African American chuch(es) in the area buried their members at the site and then contact them. You can find this out by visiting the cemetery, if you are close. If not, there are some materials on the web that might help, such as this article: http://www.austinexplorer.com/Locations/ShowLocation.aspx?LocationID=2056

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