History & Research
If you need to locate a burial in Morton
Cemetery, please contact our office or
www.findgrave.com. We are
happy to assist you with your search. Please
give us all the details you have about the
deceased: full name; nicknames; names of
relatives; date of birth; date of death.
Through the years, cemetery record keeping
has been sporadic and we need your help to
fill in the blanks. If you have any records
of deeds, photographs, obituaries or general
information about the cemetery or those
interred in the cemetery, we would
appreciate you sharing them with us.
Records can be submitted by:
Fax to 281-239-3706
Mail to P.O. Box 300, Richmond, TX 77406
The History of Morton Cemetery
Settlements of the area of Texas around the Gulf
Coast and on the Brazos and Colorado Rivers began
when Moses Austin, a native of Connecticut who had
lived much of his life in Missouri, had the idea of
colonizing Texas. With some difficulty, he got
permission from Governor Martinez in San Antonio to
bring 300 colonists into Texas, using New Orleans as
the Gateway. He sent his son Stephen Fuller Austin
to New Orleans to make contracts for transportation
by way of the Gulf to the coast of Texas. On his way
back to Missouri, Moses Austin became ill, lingered
a few months and died June 10, 1821. Before his
death, Moses Austin told his daughter and others
that he wanted Stephen F. to carry out his plans.
The application which Moses made in San Antonio was
approved shortly after he left, and Don Erasmo
Seguin was sent to the United States to tell him.
Stephen heard of his father’s death and his wish for
him to continue the colonization when he met with
Seguin and they left for San Antonio on July 5,
1821, to meet with Governor Martinez and ask for
permission to explore part of the country and select
a district in which to locate his colony. Fourteen
people, all who became settlers, went with them to
San Antonio, arriving there August 1, 1821. They
agreed to grant a league and a labor to each head of
family and 640 acres to single men. A league
consists of 4428 acres and a labor 177 acres. The
league could be taken up in one place and the labor
In November 1821, five men as the first installment
of Austin’s Colony built a fort in the bend of the
Brazos River near the present town of Richmond.
These five men were William Little, William Smithers,
Charles Beard, Joseph Polly and Henry Holsten. The
fort was built for shelter, a place to keep supplies
and for defense in case of Indian attack. According
to Sowell in his History of Fort Bend County,
William Morton was the first actual settler. His
league was located on the east side of the river,
and his labor was on the west side near the fort,
both granted to him by the Mexican Government in
The land that is now Morton Cemetery was once a part
of William Morton’s labor #1 where he and his family
resided. In 1825, a stranger by the name of Robert
Gillespie, a native of Scotland, found his way to
William Morton’s home. He had met with foul play
before he reached this area and because he was a
fellow Mason, Morton and his family cared for
Gillespie until he died on November 7, 1825. Morton
buried Gillespie on his property and built a brick
tomb over his grave. This tomb is believed to be the
first known Masonic landmark in Texas. History tells
us that this tomb was being destroyed by members of
Santa Anna’s army as they passed through Richmond on
their way to San Jacinto, but a Mexican officer,
probably General Almonte, realized it was a Masonic
tomb and stopped them. The tomb deteriorated through
the years but was eventually restored by the Masonic
Lodge in 1936 during the Centennial.
Morton disappeared during the flood of 1833 and his
body was not recovered. In San Felipe, on February
21, 1836, Morton’s widow, Nancy Morton, sold labor
#1 for eight hundred dollars to Robert Eden Handy
and William Lusk, promoters of the town of Richmond.
A copy of the deed was filed in Fort Bend County on
December 20, 1848. (Deed book B, P.382)
Handy died in 1838, and Lusk died in 1841. On May
25, 1842, John H. Herndon and John V. Morton,
administrators for William Lusk, deceased, sold to
the highest bidder one hundred acres, more or less,
part of labor #1 granted to William Morton. Svant M.
Swenson, in trust for the use of Wm. S. Pierson of
New York, paid fourteen hundred and one dollars for
it. (Deed book A, pp.337-340, Probate Book A-3,
pp.228, #6 & 237, #6)
On December 6, 1854, S.M. Swenson and Wm. S. Pierson
sold to Michael DeChaumes and wife of Travis County
the part of the Morton labor which they bought in
1842. (Deed book c, pp.356-357). DeChaumes made the
part around Gillespie’s grave a cemetery, bordered
by Fourth Street on the east, Sixth Street on the
west and Ferry Street on the south. The rest was
divided into lots to be sold for homes.
Before DeChaumes bought the labor, several people
had been buried near Gillespie. Sarah Duncan Brush
(1794-1850) had come to Richmond before the
revolution with her husband Elkana and children.
William McGee was born in 1808 and died in 1851; he
had married Mary E. Rogers in Georgia, and they came
to Texas in 1850. About a year later, he
accidentally killed himself with a gun and in
November 1853, she married Robert Worthington.
Reverius McCloy was born in 1801 and died in 1852.
Several were buried in the cemetery in 1853: Lewis
Lum, Hermina Radler, Thomas Sutherland, Mary Vogel,
William Chambers and Charles Edwin Cushing whose
monument said he died in 1853, age 27, native of
Hartford, Vermont, died at Richmond, Texas in
epidemic of 1853.
Michael DeChaumes of Harris County sold to Mills M.
Battle for $50.00 Lot 1, Block 3, Division B in the
cemetery on August 20, 1855. (deed book c, p. 463)
Mills M. Battle died January 15, 1856. On December
4, 1855, Michael DeChaumes appointed Gustave Cook
his attorney to make title to lots in DeChaumes
Cemetery. (deed book C, p. 540)
Mills M. Battle was Administrator for Robert Eden
Handy, but no record could be found about Handy’s
part of the Morton Labor. Information about his
estate as late as July 3, 1850, is recorded in deed
books. (deed book B, p.536)
In 1871, DeChaumes sold five acres in the DeChaumes
Addition, a part of what was known as the cemetery,
to three men representing the Morton Lodge #72.
From 1897-1943, Morton Lodge owned and operated
Richmond Masonic Cemetery, a part of what is now
Morton Cemetery. After spending more than two years
on the project, Morton Lodge acquired lot eleven of
DeChaumes Addition which extended the boundary of
the cemetery to Third Street on the east. Seven
purchases were required to gain this property. In
November 1898, a plat of the addition was placed on
record, and the cemetery was called the Richmond
On November 21, 1934, for $700.00, Mrs. Mamie George
acting as Trustee for the Cemetery Association of
Richmond, bought lots 3, 4, 7, 8 in Block 6 in the
DeChaumes addition. (deed volume 176, p. 100)
In 1938, a committee was appointed by the Masonic
Lodge to consider deeding the cemetery to the
cemetery association. No action was taken until
December 1943 when a committee was appointed to deed
the cemetery to the Richmond Cemetery Association.
At the same time, a meeting was called by Mrs. A.P.
George, President of the Richmond Cemetery
Association, for December 1st at the Baptist Church
at 3:00 pm. Judge D.R. Peareson presented a petition
“which will incorporate the association and enable
it to function as a legal body under state laws.”
Another meeting was held on January 12, 1944, “to
form a non-profit corporation, if those attending so
On January 20, 1944 the Morton Cemetery Association
received its charter from the State of Texas as a
non-profit corporation with the purpose of
preserving and maintaining the cemetery. An article
in the Texas Coaster, Thursday, February 10, 1944,
states that, at the meeting held January 12th, it
was voted that the association be incorporated as
prescribed by law.
The new organization was named Morton Cemetery
Association. The Masonic Lodge appointed a committee
of three; Walter Minkwitz, A.E. Myers and Joe A.
Wessendorff, to work with the new organization in
completing a satisfactory transfer of the original
portion of Richmond Masonic Cemetery. Directors and
officers were elected.
On November 30, 1943, Albert and Mamie George sold
to the Morton Cemetery Association for $10.00 and
other considerations a tract of land which is
described as part of the Morton Labor, part of the
former Bell pasture, and part of the tract of land
purchase by Edward P. Newton and Catherine Newton
from D.R. Peareson. (Deed book 447, p.571)
Again, on September 30, 1963, Mamie George deeded to
Morton Cemetery Association a tract of land deed to
her in 1942 by E.P. Newton, land that was part of
the Morton labor. (Deed volume 202, p.161; deed
volume 234, p.228A; deed volume 269, p.313)
On December 19, 1997, the real estate transaction
was finalized with Alphonso Quintero for the Morton
Cemetery Association to buy one-half city block
bounded by Second Street on the east and Commerce
Street on the South.
Today Morton Cemetery maintains its historic nature
while continuing to acquire new property for future
growth. In 2008, the association purchased two more
properties in the city block that contained the
Quintero property purchased in 1997. With the
opening of four new sections containing
approximately 1200 burial spaces and the acquisition
of additional property, Morton Cemetery will
continue to provide the community with a peaceful,
historic place to inter their deceased loved ones.
Texas Historical Marker reads:
Cemetery - Burial place of illustrious pioneers,
including 1838-1841 Republic of Texas President
Mirabeau B. Lamar (1798-1859) and one of State's
first women settlers, Jane Long (1798-1880), known
as "The Mother of Texas." On Labor No. 1 of Mexican
land grant to William Morton, 1822 settler in
advance party of Austin's "Old 300" colonists;
founded 1825 when Morton buried Robert Gelaspie
(Gillespie), a brother Mason who had met with foul
play. Later he erected a handmade brick tomb, the
first known Masonic landmark in Texas. In an 1833
Brazos flood, Morton himself met death and his body
was lost. His widow Nancy inherited Labor No. 1 and
sold it to Handy & Lusk, promoters of the Richmond
townsite. In 1854 the parcel of land encompassing
the cemetery was acquired by Michael DeChaumes. In
the 1890s Morton Lodge No. 72, A. F. & A. M., gained
possession of "DeChaumes Cemetery" and operated it
as Richmond Masonic Cemetery until the early 1940s.
It was then turned over to the newly-formed Richmond
Cemetery Association, which later was retitled
Morton Cemetery Association, probably to have its
name conform to "Morton Cemetery" -- the name in use
ever since the era of Lodge ownership. The cemetery
has become a memorial to its founder.
Mirabeau B. Lamar 1798-1859
Commanded cavalry at the Battle of San Jacinto
and served as First Vice President, 2nd President
for the Republic of Texas. Lamar is known as Father
of Texas Education.
Mamie E. and Albert P. George
Benefactors of Fort Bend County. Mainly
responsible for Fort Bend Co. Library system, Polly
Ryon Hospital, T.W. Davis Park, George Ranch
Headquarters, Fort Bend Co. Museum, George
Observatory at Brazos Bend Park, etc.
Jane W. Long 1798-1880
Known as Mother of Texas; Jane Long bore the
first child of English parentage in the state of
Texas. She is one of Austin’s Old Three Hundred and
her land grant included downtown of Richmond where
she ran a boarding house in town.
Donated the Moore Home and property for the Fort Bend County Museum. John M. Moore, Sr. was U.S. Representative from 1905 until 1913. His grandson, Hilmar G. Moore, was mayor of Richmond from 1949-2012.
William Kinchen Davis 1822-1891
Drew the white bean to gain freedom
after being held captive 2 years in Mexico,
following Mier Expedition. A successful
business man, Davis was one of the leading
citizens of Fort Bend County.
Walter M. Burton 1840-1913
Born a slave in North Carolina, Burton
came to Texas in 1860. At the end of the
civil war he purchased land from his former
owner, Thomas B. Burton. Burton was elected
and served as Sheriff of Fort Bend County
from 1869-1873 and won election to the Texas
Senate in 1873 and served four terms.
Robert Gillespie 1780-1825
Gillespie was the first person buried in
what became Morton Cemetery. A brother
mason, William Morton, erected his monument,
also a first in Texas.
Thomas Jefferson Smith 1808-1890
Smith was captured at Goliad but his
life was spared to do gunsmith and
blacksmith work for the Mexicans. He escaped
from Mexican Army during Battle of San
Jacinto and later settled in Richmond where
he had a hotel and livery business and
served as sheriff.
Clem Bassett 1842-1914
During the Civil War Bassett served with
“Terry’s Rangers” and was twice wounded. He
was the first sheriff after the Jaybird and
72 Confederate Veterans
Robinson, Henry Moses
Adams, Andrew Jackson
Brown, George M.
George, Charles Robert
Davidson, W. L.
Dew, Thomas Tristram
Stuart, B. F.
Gayle, William H.
Bell, Frank T.
Bassett, Clement Newton
Peareson, Philip E.
Ogilby, Hugh J.
Jones, James Percy
Newell, John D.
McMahon, Shelton W.
Hewson, Richard F.
Winston, James E.
Worthington, Robert H.
Pettus, John R. (Dr.)
Baker, George C.
McGaw, John F.
Mitchell, John C.
Blakely, T. M.
Somerville, Henry L.
Robinson, William B.
Pleasants, Edward R.
Miller, John H.
Saunders, Shields A.
Hill, Robert E.
White, John M.
Weston, Tom S.
Moore, Matthew A. (Dr.)
Sherrard, Z.L. (Dr.)
Ryon, John B.
Ryon, David S.
Ryon, Edward Darnaby
Ryon, James William
Davis, William Kinchen
Gibson, Jas. A. (Dr.)
McElroy, Charles S.
Williams, Joseph Crawley, Sr.
Johnson, Joseph E.
Ransom, Robert Jerrod