Brown Okay Community Cemetery
Gray AFB, Bell Co.
Cemeteries of TX
Article submitted by
There is talk that the persons buried in
the "Brown Cemetery" (Okay Cemetery) are to be moved again.
Originally they were buried at the end of the runway of nearby Gray AFB.
If they are to be moved, I suggest the Cowan’s interred there be
moved to the above mentioned Mayberry Cemetery, as they are kin to
James Moses COWAN already buried there. (BC)
Will add information as it comes available
Oct. 13, 2003
Community Cemetery rediscovered
LESLIE M. HERNANDEZ
At a bend in Reese Creek Road just before it
becomes Ivy Mountain Road, there is a three-acre patch of green amidst the
flurry of airport construction.
Herald Staff Writer
This patch of green is the Brown Okay Community Cemetery, but it isn't the
cemetery's original spot, according to Dale Just, a 75-year-old Killeen resident
who used to mow the cemetery before he had quadruple bypass surgery last year.
"In 1953, when they were building Gray Airfield, the cemetery was at the
end of what would be a 10,000 foot runway, so the Army Corps of Engineers said
the cemetery had to be moved," Just said.
The 75 graves were dug up and removed to their present location. Only 50 of the
graves are known while 25 of the remains were not identified by cemetery
records, Just said.
"I was driving by one day and saw a very elderly man mowing the
cemetery," Just said. "I knew Bell County should be moving at least
some of it. They agreed to mow the area without stones, and I agreed to mow
around the stones."
The elderly man mowing the cemetery was Oliver Bell, 90, who has several
relatives buried there. His wife, Effie Mae Brown Bell, 82, is a relative of the
Bell's daughter, Alice Bell, 56, is the great-grand daughter of the original
owners of the cemetery.
"It was my mother's grandparents who donated the property. The Browns
originally donated the land for a community cemetery in the Okay
Community," Bell said. "I'm not sure when they did that. It wasn't
called the Brown Cemetery until after it was moved in 1953. Back then it was the
Okay Community Cemetery."
According to cemetery records, the oldest head stone in the cemetery is dated
1886 and belongs to Winfield J. Seits. Records also show several infants and a
World War I soldier are buried at the cemetery, and that the cemetery was deeded
to Bell County Judge W.A. Messer on March 13, 1953 "and every successor
Bell County Judge Jon Burrows said he was not aware he was responsible for a
cemetery until after taking office.
"It only came to my attention when all the work on the new airport began,
and where roads were going to go and such," Burrows said.
Burrows said how the cemetery will be maintained in the future isn't clear, but
will be addressed.
Just said he would like the brush and cedar cleared out, leaving some nice oak
trees and a wrought iron fence built around the cemetery.
"With all the development out here, I think it would be a good thing to see
it cleaned up," Just said. "I don't know if anyone will do it,