Besser Cemetery

Established 1845

NEW WAVERLY, Walker Co. Cemeteries of TX

Photo and submitted by Paul F. Smith

Photo was taken at the Northeast corner. The headstone leaning against the tree is the first marker of Julia which is only half  of the stone. The second half is leaning against the fence. In front of the stone on Fence is her second marker ( laying on Ground). Next marker is of John S. Tinsley, with tablet at the head. Last marker is of Susan E. Collard

Before Clean up   After Clean up Photo 


In New Waverly, Texas, at the intersection of SH 75 and Hwy 150. Drive east on Hwy 150 1.7 miles. Turn left on Prodraza Road, which is a red iron ore road. Continue on Prodraza Road .5 tenths miles.  At this point a silver gate is on the left leaning against the fence. The entrance here is standing open.

Upon going thru this point YOU ENTER PRIVATE PROPERTY  For Information and visitations, at the property owners request, please contact  PAUL F. SMITH at 936-294- 0388 Huntsville, Texas or E-Mail

As a courtesy to the property owner , Joe D. Wesolick, he asks that Paul provides you with information and acts as guide to the Besser Cemetery. As for livestock roams the property and the danger of fire hazards to the pastures . one has to drive through grasses to reach the Cemetery.

At the above mentioned entrance , there is a large hole tromped out by the cattle. This area will hold water after a rain. And become quite boggy. When dry weather permits, you can drive through the entrance against the over grown fence line for a distance of 275 yards to reach the cemetery. You are requested to park between the over grown fence line and the large hickory nut tree on the right.

Besser Cemetery is enclosed in an old wrought iron ornamental fence. Dating back between 1845 – 1855. This small family cemetery measures 12x 30 feet. There is no walk thru entrance gate.

The family of General John Slater Besser and wife, Julia A. Hampton Besser and children loaded all their family possessions on a wagon. On a cold day in November 1840 in Troy, Lincoln County Missouri and arrived in Montgomery County, The Republic Of Texas, ( Now Walker County Texas) near Huntsville, Texas on February 12, 1841. They unloaded their wagon and set up a household on the same property as the now cemetery. Gen. John’s wife Julia departed this life due to many hardships of the new Republic of Texas on May 13, 1845. Gen. John and his children continued to live on this property until 1849, when he purchased two town lots in Huntsville, Texas. He moved his family to Huntsville , Texas, where he lived out his life . He departed this life on May 19, 1894 at the age of ninety two years old. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville , Texas, near the grave site of Sam Houston. A Texas Historical Marker was erected by his grave site on April 20, 1991. ( Senate Concurrent Resolution ) Whereas the Legislature of the State Texas is proud to honor the memory of General John Slater Besser who distinguished himself in the affairs of Texas at all levels of government; and to commemorate General Besser’s exceptional contributions to Texas in her struggles to fulfill her role in history; and etc……………

Besser Cemetery contains only one single row of grave sites. The family members buried there as follows: All headstones are set on the west side of cemetery . All the names and inscriptions are facing east. All headstones appear to be made of white Texas Limestone. Thickness being three inches thick and height ranging from 4-1/2 to 3- ½ feet in height. Three headstones are scalloped at the top. While one is more rounded at the top.

Restoration is still on going. It appears to be possible two more grave sites. These are set for restoration at a later date.

Listed below is the members of The Besser Family with info. Taken from their headstones. I will add info on birth dates as taken directly from the Family Bible of Gen. John S.. Besser and Julia A. Besser.


From the south side of cemetery graves laid out side by side going north.

#1 Julia A. Besser…….. In memory of Julia A. Besser who departed this life May 13, 1845 Aged 33 years 2 mos 23 da

Besser Family Records state Julia was born February 12, 1812 in Kentucky. Other records reflect her birth being February 11, 1811 in Kentucky

Julia A. Hampton married John Slater Besser May 19, 1835 in Troy, Lincoln County Missouri.

The fruit of this marriage produced nine children.

This headstone is 4-1/2 feet in height , being three inches thick and being broken in the middle just at the bottom of the letters of her age. Appears to be made of White Texas Limestone. The headstone is scalloped at the top, with a carving 12 to 14 inches in diameter of a weeping willow tree with a urn on a pedestal at the base of the tree.

#2 Julia A. Besser…….. The inscription is with the exact same information on it except being rounded at the top . The same willow tree and urn on pedestal at the base of the tree, being only 10 inches in diameter. The inscription with her name being Mrs. Julia A. Besser in placed in an arch across the top of the stone being in cased in a swirl style border.

This stone appears to be a replacement headstone. It is also broken thru the middle.

#3 J. S. Tinsley………In memory of J. S.Tinsley,  Son of John S. & Julia Besser. Died Sept. 6, 1846 Est. 20 yr 3 mo 12 da

" He is not dead but sleepeth "

This headstone is scalloped at the top with a willow tree and a urn on a pedestal at the base of the tree. This engraving measures 8 inches in diameter the stone appears to be made of White Texas Limestone measuring 3- !/2 in height being three inches thick. Being two feet in width.

There is no record as of this date yet found of him being married

Besser Family Bible states John S. Tinsley first born son of John S. & A. Julia Besser ; born in town of Troy, Missouri , Lincoln County on the 23rd day of May at 11 o’clock 1826. It goes on to say John S. Tinsley departed this life on Sunday the 5th day of Sept. !/2 past 6pm 1846 at Lone Oak Montgomery County, Texas.

# 4 Susan E. Collard………… In memory of SUSAN E. COLLARD daughter of John S. & Julia Besser ; Died Dec. 3, 1848 Aged 20 yrs 9 mo 29d’s

" I go to my mother "

Her headstone is scalloped at the top Same willow tree and urn upon a pedestal at the base of the tree. Being 10- 12 inches in diameter. It appears to be made of White Texas Limestone 3-1/2 in height being three inches thick, and width being 2 feet.

Besser Family Bible states SUSAN ELIZABETH first daughter of John S. Julia Besser was born in Troy, Missouri, Lincoln County on the 4th day ½ past 4 a.m. 1828 A. D.

Other records reflect her being the first wife of Elijah Simmons Collard II. Of Walker County, Texas. They had two daughters that preceded their mother in death. No records found of this date revealing their names. Est. marriage date 1842- 1845. No records as of yet on the children's deaths.

Prepared by Paul F. Smith  June 8, 2002