Owner of old cemetery denies road construction plan - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Owner of old cemetery denies road construction plan

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Would you drive over a cemetery? A Williamson County neighborhood came to us in disbelief after hearing they may be forced to.

Jarrell ISD inherited a 2-acre lot more than 100 years ago. This year they finally decided to sell it. What they thought was a former school house was actually a cemetery. That's when residents called us to figure out what would happen once it was sold.

It may look like just an empty piece of land but it carries a long history behind it.

"It was known that there was a Gravis Cemetery. It was mentioned on the map as location unknown and the inventory was not included in the Williamson County Historical Commission cemetery inventories. This will also be one of the last that will be added," said Karen Thompson, president of Save Texas Cemeteries, Inc.

Public record filed in 1907 with the Williamson County Clerk describes a deed for a 2-acre lot granted to the trustees of Owen's Schoolhouse.

Another public record shows a release of lien of the same 2 acres, stating it "has for years been used and claimed as a public graveyard, and the title to said two acres is vested in the public for such purpose."

It's been owned by Jarrell ISD since then but the superintendent says the district didn't know much about the property.

"We knew there was a grave on the site but never heard one inkling of it being a cemetery," said Bill Chapman, Jarrell ISD, superintendent.

On March 17th the property was awarded to Kirby Stone Company. The community became concerned after hearing rumors that the quarry was going to run a road through the graveyard.

"If my grandmother was buried here, I really wouldn't want a quarry running across her grave. At that point, I had contacted the son of the quarry owner, the one that is actually going to manage this location, and he indicated that they were in fact planning on buying the property and running a road through it," said Doug Macnair, resident.

That's where the confusion came about. But after FOX 7 spoke with the owner of Kirby Stone Company, he told us that is not going to happen.

Bo Cox says they were well aware they were buying a cemetery and plan to clean it up since it has been neglected. He confirms nothing will be built over it.

In regards to the rumor about the road, Cox says they may improve the road leading up to the site for accessibility but would not disturb any graves.

Residents were happy to hear about the plans for restoration and hope there will be no problems in the future.

"I've faced down a bulldozer before and I think these people would join me. It would be a neighborhood effort," said Thompson.

"We'll do anything to protect those people, they deserve that," said Alyssa Gilbreath, resident.

Save Texas Cemeteries, Inc says eventually they would like to find the descendants of people buried at the Gravis Cemetery.

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