Settlers originally established the China Spring Community around 1870. They named the settlement for a large grove of chinaberry trees and a nearby spring. Early area residents first held burials in family cemeteries on their own property. In 1902, local citizens established a community burial ground and association. G.P. Harris, M.T. Presnall, R.R. Cox and W.N. Foster served as the first elected trustees. They purchased the initial tract of five acres in March of that year. In 1915, the association bought additional adjacent property, and it added more land in 1924, 1961 and 1991. At one time, the association used sheep to keep the grass trimmed, but the experiment failed when the animals began to stray. Cemetery association members continue to maintain the cemetery, where many of the area’s pioneers are buried. An unusual grave is that of Isaac Brock (1787-1909), who lived in three centuries. In addition to its link to the history of the China Spring community and its residents, the burial ground also serves as a sanctuary for area wildlife.
Historic Texas Cemetery – 2004
First lot recorded as being purchased took place on the 22nd day of September, 1902. Lot number 54 was purchased by N. M. Trammel. The cost of the lot was $10.00. On the same day lot 56 was purchased by R. R. Cox, and Lots 43 & 44 by N. M. Roberts.
Below is the transcript of the first meeting of the China Spring Cemetery Association.
On or about September 15, 1902. N. M. Roberts, R. R. Cox and other citizens began to talk about locating a cemetery at China Spring, and set a day on or about September 25th to locate a piece of land for the purpose of establishing a cemetery, and on said day the locating parties consisting of N. M. Roberts, R. R. Cox, G. P. Harris, Jim Crowson, W. N. Foster and others, And on said day purchased five acres of land about one mile west of the town of China Spring, McLennan County, Texas from J.W. Crowson. (It appears the land purchased was already being used as a community cemetery as there are graves there from before 1902.) And purchase said land and the said J.W. Crowson made executed and delivered a deed to the said G. P. Harris, R.R. Cox and M.T. Presnall, W.N. Foster as trustees of the said cemetery, said deed acknowledged before M.T. Bettis on the 13th day of March 1902, and recorded in McLennan County deed records 26th September 1903 in volume No. 157 on page 310 about September 20th. I, N. M. Roberts was appointed treasurer.
The trustees plated off this land into lots. The lots were 24 feet x30 feet. Streets running north and south, the alleys running east and west being 4 foot wide.
Now it was priced by the trustees that these lots should be sold at $10 a lot and the money received for the lots be applied on payment for the purchase of the land and improving and keeping in repair. And after the purchase price has been paid in full and all interest, money received for the lots should be used for the purpose of keeping in repair and beautifying the land. No one was to receive any profit in this deal.
I, as treasurer, N. M. Roberts sold off lots, received money and applied money as follows.
According to this book, Mr. Roberts served as Treasurer until Feb. 20, 1912 at which time the Trustees appointed M.T. Presnall as Treasurer. On Oct. 2, 1913 L. M. Amos became the new Treasurer. At some point G.P. Harris became treasurer and on or about March 30, 1930 D. B. Hill took over.
On or about January 1, 1924, G.P. Harris, W. N. Foster and L.M. Amos purchased two acres of land from S. L. Ringer joining the present cemetery on the east for the purpose of additional burying ground paying $200.00 cash and Balance of $100.00 to be paid from the sale of lots $15 each, $10 of same to be paid annually out of each lot sold on notes. The remaining $5.00 to be kept for the purpose of keeping up cemetery.
Deed recorded on Page 500, Volume 354. Size of lots 4×30 feet, streets ten feet wide and alleys 4 foot wide.
April 6, 1935 – At a called meeting of owners of burial plots in China Spring Cemetery there were 17 owners present. After discussion it was agreed to elect seven Trustees and the following were elected: Mrs. F. W. Jay, Mrs. C. W. Whitfield, Mrs. W. N. Foster, J. E. Johnson, Jr., Robert
E. Thomas, C.M. Talbert and D.B. Hill. Plans were discussed relative to keeping cemetery cleaned and fences repaired, but no action taken.
Then after discussion an auxiliary association was formed and temporary officers chosen. Mrs. Foster-President, Mrs. Whitfield- Vice-President and Mrs. Jay – Secretary-Treasurer.
No further business the meeting adjourned. D.B. Hill, Secretary.
March 14, 1938 — At a called meeting of the trustees of the cemetery the following were present-Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Jay, Mrs. Whitfield, R.E. Thomas and D.B. Hill.
Minutes of previous meeting read and approved.
The question of building a new fence on front of cemetery was discussed, but no action taken.
The meeting adjourned to meet upon call. D.B. Hill, Sec.
Nov. 10, 1938 – A meeting of the trustees of the cemetery was held at Mrs. Foster’s home on above date with five members present, namely Mrs. F. W. Jay, Mrs. W. N. Foster, C.M. Talbert, R.E. Thomas and D.B. Hill. Mr. Talbert reported he had priced material for a fence on front side of cemetery, and after discussion a motion carried to buy new wire, steel posts and a steel gate and construct an entirely new fence on front side. Nothing further, the board adjourned.
D. B. Hill, sec
May 2, 1982 – To put street signs up in the China Spring Cemetery was voted on unanimously at the May 2, 1982 annual meeting. Dana Forney Crawford donated the 25 galvanized posts costing $235.61; Mr. & Mrs. Nelson Higginbotham donated the name plated costing $143.75 and John Holland Jackson (Chat) donated the bolts and screws costing $6.01. Lynn Kennedy, Jr. and Mahlon W. Monroe donated their time to them up, 25 of them. They put them up on May 25, 1982. Names on the street signs were selected and chosen after out pioneers and people who have contributed a lot to the cemetery. (Authors note: the original survey shows the streets were named after trees…have not found a record as to when that was decided, but do have the survey.)
March 12, 1980 – Historical marker was installed by Mahlon W. Monroe.