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Visiting the Historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas

Education does not end when leaving school. It is an ongoing process that certainly makes life more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy this!

Sign at entrance to the historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas

Sign at entrance to the historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas

History of Chappell Hill

One can learn so much about an area by visiting cemeteries, and the historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill is no exception. The pictures included in this article will give you some idea of what you would be able to see were you to visit Chappell Hill and roam the grounds of the Masonic Cemetery in person.

If visiting Texas sites is on your list of things to do, Chappell Hill is one of the oldest settled areas in the State. It is a part of Stephen F. Austin's original colony of settlers. The rolling hills with the Brazos River furnishing the watershed drew early settlers who grew cotton as the main agricultural business.

Established in the year 1847 by a Mary Hargrove Haller, she named the town after her grandfather whose name was Robert Wooding Chappell. Thus the name Chappell Hill came into existence.

My mother in Chappell Hill, TX a few years ago

My mother in Chappell Hill, TX a few years ago

Masonic Cemetery

My husband, mother and I made the discovery of this Masonic Cemetery in the charming town of Chappell Hill several years ago while we were out in the countryside looking at the bluebonnets and other spring blooming wildflowers.

When driving through the town of Chappell Hill we became mesmerized with the age of the buildings and unique flavor of it's atmosphere. Main Street in Chappell Hill is named as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wandering through a gift shop we spoke with the very friendly proprietor who directed us in locating the Masonic Cemetery. My mother and I have always enjoyed visiting cemeteries on our travels and my husband was nice enough to accommodate our wishes.

This year while enjoying ourselves on the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail we were nearby and my hubby and I revisited the Masonic Cemetery and I took some additional pictures.

Monuments

In no particular order I'll start showing some of the monuments or grave markers which can be viewed in the Chappell Hill Masonic Cemetery. Some of them are impressive and tall such as the one shown above. The detailing at the top of the monument is beautiful.

As one drives in to the cemetery the older and more historic markers are found on one's left hand side with newer markers a little higher up the slight rise in height to the right. This is still an active cemetery with new bodies still being interred in this scenic area of Chappell Hill.

Landscape

The grounds of the cemetery have mature trees which one would expect to find since many of these old grave markers are well in excess of one hundred years old. In the newer section at the far end one looks down upon a pond of water and one can gaze for a bit into the distance of this rolling countryside.

Some of the rusted metal fencing around the older grave markers no longer stands upright. One also finds evidence of broken headstones and others that have been propped up. Time has taken its toll on being able to clearly read the inscriptions on some of the old headstones.

There is still much of interest to be found there however as you will soon be able to see. Wear good walking shoes and watch out for ant hills which seem to flourish in this environment especially in the older section.

Very old grave embellished with shells in the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas.

Very old grave embellished with shells in the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas.

Freemasonry

This will merely be a nodding introduction to Freemasonry. Obviously there is much more that can be learned about what it means to be a Mason.

It is an association of like minded people worldwide who basically believe in a Supreme Being first and foremost. Being of sound mind and body and living a life of moral uprightness and supporting friendships between their fellow brethren, Masons also believe in doing charity work as an integral part of their belief systems and accomplish much good in the world.

The square and compass found on many of their grave markers represent living within the parameters of these upstanding beliefs. George Washington and Andrew Jackson are examples of some famous American Presidents who were Masons.

Freemasonry goes back centuries and there are Lodges in most countries of the world. It is an organization that limits membership to men only. There is also controversy as some people believe it is a secret organization. Some religions do not approve of their people belonging to their particular religion and the Masons at the same time feeling some disconnect between the belief systems.

While these are broad generalizations one can learn much more by reading about them. Perhaps you even have some Masons who are family members or friends?

Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas

Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas

Elaborate Carvings

The detailing on some of these old grave markers is beautiful. Shown below is a sampling of what you can see if you go visit the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas.

Woodmen Gravestones

Some of the more interesting gravestones that can be found in the Masonic Cemetery are those that look like tree stumps or stacked logs.

Joseph Cullen Root founded the Woodmen Society which provided life insurance to its members more than one hundred years ago. One of the benefits that Mr. Root desired and accomplished was that all members would be provided a respectful burial and in addition be provided a special monument to stand atop their graves.

Originally the monuments were to be standardized but local stone carvers soon started putting their own interpretations onto these gravestones so the designs vary widely but are still easily identifiable as being "Woodmen" markers.

In the 1920s this benefit had to be discontinued due to the high cost of providing these stone markers. $100 was added to the life insurance policy instead.

Most of the tree stump markers that can be found in cemeteries stand about four to five feet tall and some have carved vines and other embellishments at their base. All are interesting to view.

Today the Woodmen still exist offering insurance of all types as well as other financial and investment opportunities.

Just look at the dates on this old headstone pictured below in the Masonic Cemetery. I wonder if in another hundred years this grave marker will still be standing? Plant life called lichens have seemingly taken root and are now living on this man's monument.

Colonel William Barret Travis

Colonel William Barret Travis made a special request regarding his son Charles who was seven years old at the time.

For those who might not remember the history, Colonel Travis died at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. A substantial monument to Colonel Travis pictured below tells the story.

Additional pictures of some of the grave markers in the Chappell Hill Masonic Cemetery are shown below.

Suffice to say that if you like visiting cemeteries and you also enjoy history you will love visiting the historic cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas. Bring your camera! You will walk away with some great pictures to accompany your memories.

Location of this interesting cemetery:

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 26, 2019:

Hi Heather,

Sorry that you had a bad experience but whatever you smelled could not have been from the bodies buried there. Rigor mortis is a stiffening of the body (whether human or any other type of animal) that occurs a few hours after death. It does not last that long.

Any bodies buried in a cemetery would be encased in coffins or caskets and perhaps vaults as well and then covered with many feet of dirt. So whatever you smelled had to come from some other source.

Perhaps a decaying dead animal was in that vicinity? Decaying animals can surely impart a malodorous scent!

Heather on January 25, 2019:

We went to this cemetery yesterday and it smelt so bad of rigormortis. It was so bad the smell stayed with me all day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 29, 2018:

Hi Shyron,

My mother and I always enjoyed visiting cemeteries to see and read the tombstones. We had done so in many different states while on vacations. Thanks for letting me know about your father.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 28, 2018:

Peggy, this is one of my favorites of your hubs. My father was a Mason and he died in Fort Worth.

I love to read about cemeteries and their tomb stones.

Blessings my friend.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 15, 2018:

Hi Brianna,

So glad you liked reading this. It is one of the more interesting cemeteries that I have had a chance to visit and then revisit especially with that monument to Colonel William Barret Travis and his son.

Brianna W from East Coast on January 14, 2018:

Interesting read! I enjoyed all the photos and the detailing is magnificent!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 26, 2014:

Hello Hyster,

Thanks for your interest in this and your comment. You obviously have your own thoughts about Free Masonry.

Hyster on November 22, 2014:

Hoping to visit the cemetery some day. I must confess that my father and grandfather were masons and the family has suffered general curses because of it, I have realized because of the vast inforamtion about masonry now available. Masons can suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and the like and also mental disorders, and loss of firstborns (in my family it occurred on two occasions, though my sister was blessed with a life-saving resuscitation, afterwards giving her heart to Jesus) perhaps I would discover more if more geneaology is done. Masonry honors the Great Architect of the Universe, or GAOTU, and you will not find a cross in their temples. Those who are members enjoy the pumping up of their ego and can become anti-Semitic. There is honor given to Egyptians, which is shown in their decor, and they were a people who persecuted God's people. Masons often suffer what the Egyptian's did, bouts with insects, skin conditions, loss of firstborn, anger issues, bipolar and depression issues, financial losses and more but they don't usually connect the dots. Anyone who wants to be a mason should read 'Masonry Unmasked' by John Salza. There have been many studies, and there is a reason for the secrecy. Lucifer, the Light-bearer, is lurking in the shadows. I'm posting this in hopes people will read and leave masonry before it curses their family as it did mine. I found this site on accident, I thought at first, but probably the Lord led me here, as He's led me to visit many cemeteries which have deceased masons, in order to pray there...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2013:

Hello Gawth,

So happy to know that you really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about this Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2013:

Hi Gus,

Thanks for the comments regarding the photos and information in this hub about the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Tx. Sorry about not getting back to you sooner. I have comments set to having to be approved before they show up and I have had other things occupying my time this past week including 3 days of working in the yard and garden. Still have more to do. This would be a fantastic time to visit with the bluebonnets out in full force. Hope you visit there someday soon. :))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2013:

Hi Don,

I'm not sure of any kind of total...but apparently there are many Masonic Cemeteries in the U.S. Interesting that there is a large Masonic Temple in Moline and the influence still felt at Rock Island Arsenal. Thanks for the votes + share. Appreciate it.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on April 03, 2013:

Hi Peggy (Peggy W) - I am not sure what happened to the comment I left for you yesterday, but it didn't make it to the page. I believe that it was because the comment may have "gone on and on" too much about what a wonderful article and what terrifically fine photos you presented here. Makes me wish I had come across the piece long ago. Great work, this one.

Gus :-)))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

Interesting that you have had some Masons in your family background. I have been told that I had at least one relative several generations back who was also a Freemason. Thanks for your votes and the share. Glad that you liked this hub!

Ron Gawthorp from Millboro, Virginia on April 02, 2013:

I really enjoyed your photos and seeing the Masonic cemetery.

Gustave Kilthau from USA on April 02, 2013:

Hi Peggy (Peggy W) -

Absolutely, a superbly written article, plus photographs so masterfully composed and executed that we would think we were standing right there. Worth a good visit to Chappell Hill now that the bluebonnets are all blooming like crazy. Thanks, Peggy. What a winner you are.

Gus :-)))

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 02, 2013:

I have never done the cemetery investigations but I imagine there is much history to learn. The Masons at one time had a lot of influence at the Rock Island Arsenal, so I was told. Knights o Columbus did also. A woman I worked with told me that she was not getting promotions until her picture was in the paper related to an award in the womens organization related to the Masons. She did not think the promotion she got at work was a coincidence.

The city of Moline has a rather impressive Mason Temple, by the way.

I didn't know they had their own cemeteries. voted across except funny. sharing

moonlake from America on April 02, 2013:

Enjoyed this hub very interesting. Love all the pictures. My family on my Dad's and Mom's side were Masons. Voted up and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 03, 2010:

Hi habee,

That makes two of us! You'd love visiting this cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas! The town is also a quaint place to visit.

Holle Abee from Georgia on May 03, 2010:

Cool hub! I love wandering through old cemeteries!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2010:

Hi Candie,

We also thought that the grave marker of Colonel Travis's son, Edward was one of the very interesting ones in the Masonic cemetery in Chappell Hill. History really comes alive when things like this are viewed. Happy to have shared these pictures with you Candie. Thanks for your comment.

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on April 25, 2010:

Without a doubt a huge slice of Americana is stored in these vintage cemeteries. This one has a great recounting of the Alamo battle. It's easy to forget that these men were 'real people'.. by that I mean - had families, children, lives that classroom history lessons don't teach. I really enjoyed this Peggy! Thank you!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2010:

Hi Tony,

Glad you enjoyed these pictures of the gravestones and markers in the Masonic Cemetery located in Chappell Hill, Texas. I can assure you that I liked taking them! :-)

Tony McGregor from South Africa on April 22, 2010:

So much history can be read in a cemetery. Fascinating stuff this.

Thanks so much for sharing, and for the great pix - they make a big difference.

Love and peace

Tony

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 21, 2010:

Hi myownworld,

We are of like minds in that we enjoy visiting cemeteries. Glad that you liked the pictures of the historic Masonic cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas. It took a while for these pictures to load into this hub. Could even add more...

Thanks for the visit and comment.

myownworld from uk on April 21, 2010:

What a fascinating hub Peggy! Strange though it sounds, I love visiting cemeteries......so peaceful and quiet. Masonic Cemetery though looks more than just that - I just loved those monuments, especially the detail in each. Thank you for this...must have been such hardwork putting it all together, so well done! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2010:

Hello Lee B,

We have something in common...liking to visit cemeteries. The one at Chappell Hill has so much of historic interest as well as such interesting gravestones that it is definitely one worth visiting if ever in that part of Texas. Happy to hear that this hub educated you as to the significance of the Woodmen gravestones. Isn't learning new things fun? They made me curious also! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Lee A Barton from New Mexico on April 17, 2010:

I've always been fascinated by cemeteries so really enjoyed reading this hub. I've always wondered about the Woodmen gravestones. Thank you!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 17, 2010:

Hello Teresa Laurente,

So happy that you enjoyed our discovery of the historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas. Just found out yesterday that when we were back there revisiting the cemetery last weekend to get a few additional pictures, some good friends of ours were there visiting it as well. We must have just missed seeing one another! That would have been quite a surprise had we met in that location some 50 to 60 miles away from our homes in Houston.

Thanks for your comment.

Maria Teresa Rodriguez - Laurente from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A. on April 16, 2010:

Golly, some discovery indeed. I really do appreciate sharing these with us most especially the pictures that tell the story itself. It is like being there as well. Thank you so much my friend, Peggy W.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2010:

Hello Smireles,

There are quite a few of us that enjoy visiting historic cemeteries like the one in Chappell Hill. Others I have known avoid visiting cemeteries like the plague. Not much in between I guess. I think that they are so interesting and also peaceful like you said. Thanks for the visit.

Sandra Mireles from Texas on April 16, 2010:

I love these beautiful old grave markers. I too enjoy visiting old cemeteries. They are beautiful, full of history, and peaceful. Thank you for sharing. Excellent hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2010:

Hi Mickey Dee,

There should be some great cemetery pictures in Charleston! You might have to get off of your bike to snap them or do you think you could do both? :-) Thanks for reading this about the Historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2010:

Hello itakins,

I'm happy that you found this hub about the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill fascinating. I enjoyed my recent visit there again for the same reason. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2010:

Hello sarovai,

Yes, there is certainly much history in the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas. This hub by no means shows everything there. In fact I have some other images that did not want to load. May try again later to load some more. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2010:

Greetings Hello, hello,

A "masterpiece"...why thank you for that glowing compliment on this hub about the historic Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, Texas. Glad you liked the photos and history.

Micky Dee on April 16, 2010:

Very, very nice. This may push me to put up some Charleston graveyard pics. Thanks Peggy W.

itakins from Irl on April 16, 2010:

Fascinating hub,thank you,

sarovai on April 16, 2010:

History reminder, historic hub. Thanks for sharing.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 16, 2010:

That is a masterpiece of interesting information and wonderful pictures. Thank you so much.