Historic Fulshear ethnic cemeteries are families’ link to the past

Known grave markers in the Fulshear Black Cemetery, such as this headstone for John Wade Hackett Jr., date back to 1915.

Known grave markers in the Fulshear Black Cemetery, such as this headstone for John Wade Hackett Jr., date back to 1915.

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Historic Fulshear black and Spanish cemeteries are families’ link to the past
Image description
Historic Fulshear black and Spanish cemeteries are families’ link to the past
Image description
Historic Fulshear black and Spanish cemeteries are families’ link to the past
Image description
Historic Fulshear black and Spanish cemeteries are families’ link to the past
Along Fulshear’s country roads lay two dedicated resting places for Fort Bend County’s ethnic minority families dating back to the 1800s: the Fulshear Black and Fulshear Spanish cemeteries.

The city’s founder, Churchill Fulshear Jr., originally owned the land on which both graveyards now sit. The Fulshear Spanish Cemetery is now owned, but not operated by, the Fulshear Cemetery Association, and the Fulshear Black Cemetery is owned and operated by the Fulshear Black Cemetery Association.

“Oral tradition says that this cemetery began as a slave cemetery on the plantation of Tennessee native Churchill Fulshear,” says the marker at the Fulshear Black Cemetery, which was recognized by the Texas Historical Commission in 2010. “Many early burials are unmarked, and the oldest [visible] headstone is that of Rebecca Scott in 1915.”

The site is on the south side of FM 1093 between Lake Hills Farm Way and James Lane.

“It was donated to the black people out there way before my time, and they started burying people out there I think in the 1800s,” Fulshear native Rosemary Clay Cooper said.

Her entire family sans one brother is buried in the cemetery. Her nephew, Errol Clay, owns Clay’s Mortuary & Cremations in Katy and has held services at the cemetery.

In the mid-1800s the city’s founder gave his land at 7420 Wallis St., Fulshear, to a local church, and it was used for the Fulshear Cemetery. As was culturally commonplace, white and Hispanic residents segregated their burials to different sections of the land, said Connie Seger, treasurer of the Fulshear Cemetery Association.

As a result, the land was split between the Fulshear Spanish Cemetery—otherwise known as the Fulshear Catholic or San Francisco Cemetery—and the Fulshear “White” Cemetery, according to Fort Bend County Historical Commission.

According to county records, the black cemetery’s deceased include slaves, religious leaders, midwives, a cook, a cowboy, entrepreneurs, war veterans and the mother of Viola Randle, Fulshear’s first black mayor.

As for the future of the black cemetery, Cooper said she expects it to remain active, but she has concerns about the cemetery’s upkeep.

“That’s the cemetery that everyone’s using,” Cooper said. “We make the best of what we have, and that’s it.”


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