The Brackenridge Family Cemetery wears a mantle of consecration that makes you want to step a bit lighter than usual. It was almost hidden in the tangled mass of vegetation before LNRA cleared the area outside of the wall surrounding this cemetery.
John Adams Brackenridge selected this site when his daughter Lillie died in 1856. A double row of cedar trees were planted leading from the Brackenridge Plantation Home to this burial ground. (Two of the original cedar trees and several smaller cedar trees that have come up from seed can be seen along the nature trail). The second burial in the cemetery was John Brackenridge himself in 1862. When Isabella died in 1886 (then living with her son, George, in San Antonio), she was brought back to this cemetery to be buried with her husband. It was George who had the enormous monument and stone wall erected around the cemetery grounds. The monument is four feet square and ten feet high. (This is one of the largest single blocks of granite that had ever been quarried in Texas at that time). On the four sides of the granite block there is a brief history of each member of the Brackenridge family.
When the monument was moved from the railroad station in Edna in 1916, it was a wet year and the massive object had to be moved on log rollers by oxen. This journey required two weeks.
The four-foot high gateless stone wall around the cemetery is about 150 feet square and two feet thick. George stated, “If I had built a gate, someone would use it for a cow pen, and I don’t want cattle walking over the graves.”
Lavaca-Navidad River Authority maintains the exterior, but it was the family’s wish that no care whatsoever should be taken of the interior grounds.
The funerals of George (1920) and his sister Mary Eleanor (1924) necessitated extensive arrangements, with a train chartered to carry the mourners to Edna. They were met by their chauffeurs who had driven down ahead of the train. The townspeople of Edna put on their best front and the finest cars were polished and loaned to take care of those folks from out-of-town who did not send their own vehicles. It was a very solemn occasion for all. The cemetery is located in the park along the historic trail and may be viewed by peering over a 4 foot high wall that completely surrounds the gravesites.
Brochures are available at the Brackenridge Park Office with additional information.