Restlawn Cemetery (Black)
Edinburg, Hidalgo Co. Cemeteries of Tx
Submitted by Frances Isbell
With Permission of Hidalgo Co. Historical Commission (2005)
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HERE'S OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN CEMETERY; It used to be called "the black cemetery" until it was officially named a few years ago. We have applied for a historical marker.
LOCATION: Northeast Edinburg in Hidalgo County, a quarter mile north of Schunior Street on 25th Street just south of the railroad tracks.
SURVEYED by Valerie Ramirez on June 20, 1997
HISTORY: About 1928, family cook Dora Watkins Baker appealed to her employer, County Sheriff A. Y. Baker, to find a suitable burying ground for Edinburg's growing black community. Sheriff Baker, a director of the newly organized Hillcrest Cemetery Association, unofficially designated a half-acre in the undeveloped northwest corner of Hillcrest property as the cemetery for Afro-Americans. It was a word-of-mouth agreement, and no legal transfer was recorded.
It was named Restlawn in 1993 by members of Edinburg's black community. Maintenance is provided by volunteers, the City of Edinburg, and the Homer Salinas Rehabilitation Center. The cemetery is the site of Hidalgo County's annual Juneteenth Observance.
CENSUS (Gaps in row numbers indicate empty spaces or unmarked graves)
Sylvester Edwards was born December 18, 1925 in Altheimer, Arkansas to James and Alice Edwards. He died April 27, 2006. He's buried in the first row of the cemetery, closest to the railroad fence. He has a wooden frame around his grave, but no headstone yet. (Valerie Ramirez)
A01 ROBERTA HELITON Mar 8, 1906-Aug 29, 1956
A02 OLLIE L. HELITON Sep 3, 1926-Sept 10, 1966, Texas PFC Army Air Force WWII
A03 ADA BRANCH [late 1890s-1960s. Mother of Thurman and Earl Booker]
A04 THURMAN BOOKER 1917-1960
A05 EARL BOOKER 1922-1950
A06 J.D. WHITE Mar 14, 1882-Sep 29, 1966
A07 MAUDE L. WHITE 1887-1969
A08 LUTHER B . WHITE Nov 3, 1916-Aug 5,1952
A09 JACOB D. WHITE Mar 10, 1923-Jan ,1945 TEXAS TEC 5, 44 Veterinary Co WWIIA10 LENORA WHITE CALLIS Apr 25, 1921-May 29, 1968
A11 BROADWAY B. THURMAN [?-late 1960s]
B01 MARY PARNELL 1876-1967
B04-05 LINCOLN WHITE and UNKNOWN [Two burials in same grave]
B06 LIZZIE BASS Apr 17, 1878-Mar 27, 1941 In memory of mother by her children (Bernice Mahalia's mother]
B07 D. J. EDWARDS [or D. JED WARDS ?] Oct 11, 1866?-Aug 22, 1937
B11 FRANCIS HAWKINS [FEMALE] NOV 11, 1903-Sep 30, 1930 H of J At rest
ROW C There is an area adjacent to the eastern side of Mary Parnell's fence that is raised higher than the rest of the cemetery. Julian West believes that perhaps his brother Haywood was buried in this section in August of 1959 and later moved to Hillcrest when that cemetery was integrated. A wild olive tree was planted on the southwest corner of this twelve-foot section in honor of the West family and a white cement marker placed there.
Three other white concrete markers in this area commemorate people associated with Rising Star Baptist church. They were BILL BAKER, also buried at Hillcrest Cemetery (husband of Lillie West Baker) , Mary Thomas who was one year old when the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, and Rev. Levi Williams, the first pastor of Rising Star Church. The two latter people are buried in unmarked graves somewhere in Restlawn.
C01 LEWIS CALLIS Died Apr 2003
C02 JOSEPH DANIEL CALLIS Oct 30, 1948-Oct 24, 1968 [Grandson of J. D. White, A06]
C03 PATRICIA ANN CALLIS Born and died Nov 18, 1970 [Half sister of Joseph Daniel Callis. On other side, a white concrete marker in remembrance of her infant cousin ROBERT LEE TAYLOR; his gravesite is unknown]
C04 BERNICE MAHALIA May 4, 1898-Mar 6, 1968 Bernice Machalia [sic] in God we trust. [Daughter of Lizzie Bass. Beside the grave is a white concrete marker in remembrance of her first husband, WALLACE SHARP SR, whose exact resting place is unknown.]
C05 MODESTA [Maude Esther] TUTTLE June 22, 1929-Oct 22, 1945
C06 UNKNOWN [In June of 1994 a white concrete cross was found buried on the north side of the tree by boot camp workers clearing and cleaning the cemetery. They also found an empty metal frame in the same area.]
C07 L. K. [assumed to be LLOYD KING 1880s-1930s
C08 GERTRUDE BERKLEY Early 1900s-Apr 7, 1945
C10 ROGER McCOLLAUGH 1923-1947
ROW D [Empty to north end where there is a white cross at a depression just east of Roger McCollaugh's grave]
E02 UNKNOWN [white wooden cross]
E03 UNKNOWN [white wooden cross]
[A large plywood sign 8x8' under mesquite tree a few feet north and east of end of Row E contains names of people who have unmarked graves. They are CYNTHIA BAKER, DORA (WATKINS) BAKER, LEONARD BASS, BARBARA ANN BRYANT, REV. GENERAL DURDEN, MELINDA DURDEN, DAISY EDWARDS, GEORGE FOSTER, MRS JESSIE HILL, SAM HILL, CORA HUNTER, "KENO," PERRY KING, "SNOW" MATHEWS, "OLD DAD," REV. M. A. PERRY, "BUBBA" SANDERS, WALLACE SHARP SR, ROBERT LEE TAYLOR, MARY THOMAS, REV. LEVI WILLIAMS and LORETTA FAYE YOUNG.