Walker County




Besser Cemetery

by Paul F. Smith <pafrsm@txucom.net>


This cemetery is a Private Cemetery of Gen. John Slater & Julia A. Hampton Besser family. It is located on the Private property of Mr. & Mrs. Joe D. Wesolick. Permission is requested prior to Cemetery visitations in advance. Person to contact for visitations and information is Paul F. Smith Phone 936-294-0388 or E-Mail pafrsm@txucom.net. He is the Gr. Gr. Gr. grandson of John S.. & Julia A. Besser . He will be most happy to take you to the Cemetery for visitations.

In July of 2001 when Paul first discovered who his ancestral grandparents were he visited his grandparents cemetery for the first time. It was in terrible condition. The small cemetery measures 12x30 feet enclosed by an old iron ornamental fence. It was completed engulfed by briar vines , brush and trees. Mr. Wesolick had maintained the cemetery as long as he could. Being an elderly gentleman , he was no longer able to keep up the little cemetery. Paul offered to clean the cemetery and to recover all headstone markers as possible. An agreement was struck that hot day in July . In March of 2002 work began removing all brush and debris. After the cemetery was cleaned , Mr. Wesolick was pleased, and bestowed Paul official care taker and guide of Besser Cemetery . Which is a great honor that he greatly accepted.

Directions to the Besser Cemetery

From New Waverly Texas drive East on FM150 1.6 miles . Turn left on Podraza Road. Drive .2 miles and cross over cattle guard. At this point you enter Private Property .Drive on .3 miles . At this point a silver gate is on the left. It leans against the the fence. The entrance to cemetery is standing open. A kind word of warning. Just inside this entrance is a large hole tromped out by the cattle. And is fairly deep. This spot will hold water after a rain and become quite boggy. Once inside the entrance drive straight down the grown up fence line on your left 275 yards to the Cemetery. There is no entrance gate to the cemetery.

Besser Cemetery burials consist of Julia A. Hampton Besser. She is the first wife of General John Slater Besser. The fruit of this marriage produced 9 children. Which two of these children are buried here.

It warrants mentioning before more information on burials , That One headstone was found of Julia A. Besser , a part of a second headstone and two foot markers, bearing the letters J.A.B. on one foot marker and the letters S.E.C. on the second foot marker. These were all above ground with none others in site.

#1 The headstone found leaning against a Wild Mexican Plum tree that was broken thru the bottom line of letters giving mo's, day's of her age. The shape of her headstone is scaloped at the top. At the top is a carving 12 inches in diameter, of a weeping willow tree with a flower urn on a pedestal at the base of the tree. The inscription reads as follows: In memory of Julia A. Besser who departed this life May 13, 1845 Aged 33 years 2mo's. 23dy's The bottom half of this stone was recovered April 20, 2002. With both pieces of stone together measures 4 to 41/2 feet in height and 2 feet in width , being 3inches thick. It appears to be made of Texas limestone.

#2 The second headstone recovered on April 27,2002 on the second grave site was of J. S. Tinsley Also the tablet or the base was recovered the same day. Its shape is scaloped at the top same as the first headstone. The inscription reads as follows: In memory of J.S. Tinsley Son of John S. & Julia Besser ; Died Sept6, 1846; Et. 20 y's 3 m's 12 d's " He is not dead but sleepeth" the bottom half of this stone was recovered March 20, 2002 at the top of his stone the same weeping willow tree with flower urn at the base of the tree. This engraving measures 8 inches in diameter. The Besser Family Bible states John S. Tinsley departed this life on Sunday the 5th day of Sept. 1/2 past 6pm.1846 at Lone Oak Montgomery County, Texas. Bible records his birth being : John S. Tinsley First born son of John S and A. Julia Besser, born in the town of Troy, Missouri , Lincoln County. On the 23 rd day of May at 11o' clock.1826. This stone measures 4 to 4 1/2 feet in height ,2feet in width, being 3 inches thick. It also appears to be made of Texas Limestone. White in color.

# 3 The third headstone recovered on April 27, 2002 on the same grave site is of Mrs. Julia A. Besser. The inscription on this stone is the same as her 1st. stone. The difference between this stone and the first is smaller in size and being rounded at the top. The same willow tree and flower urn on pedestal but being 10 inches in diameter. This stone in height measures 3 to 31/2 feet, 2feet in width, being 3 inches thick. This headstone was recovered on the second gravesite , which is her son's. the bottom half of this stone was recovered March 23, 2002 This stone appears to be made of Texas Limestone. White in color.

# 4 The 4th headstone recovered May 5, 2002 is of Susan E. Collard. Also recovered the tablet or the base which holds the headstone. Inscription reads : In memory of SUSAN E. COLLARD daughter of JOHN S. & JULIA BESSER ; Died Dec. 3, 1848 ; Aged 20 yr's 9mo's 29 d's " I go to my mother" the family Bible records show SUSAS ELIZABETH: first daughter of John S. and Julia Besser; was born in Troy Missouri; Lincoln County on the 4th day 1/2 past four A.M.1828 A. D. This stone is also scaloped at the top with the same willow tree and flower urn at the base of the tree. In height it measures 3 to 3 1/2 feet, 2feet wide , being 3 inches thick. It also appears to be made of Texas Lime stone. White in color.

#5 foot marker recovered on the second gravesite at the foot of grave , with the letters J.S. T. on this foot marker 3/4 way down there is a triangular shaped hole al the way thru the foot marker. In the triangle where the points meet it is some what rounded in stead of straight.

Besser Cemetery On John S. & Julia A. Hampton Besser's Homestead

The site of the Cemetery is located on the property that once belonged to the Besser's. They left Missouri in November 1840 and arrived in Huntsville on Feb. 12, 1841 and moved into their home 5miles from Huntsville TX. I do not know as of yet what year they bought this property that the cemetery is on. They were living here in 1845 for sure. Gen. John bought property in Huntsville in 1847. But did not move from this location until 1849. According to Mr. Wesolick, the old Besser home stood to the East South East of the Cemetery about 150 yards of the Cemetery . This was reported to him by his late father- in - law, Mr. Slott of New Waverly. Which today is in a hay pasture on top of a small knoll. In the same hay field farther west of the old home site, within 20 to 30 yards of the Cemetery stands a Gigantic Post Oak. This tree measures about 4 to 5 feet in diameter 6 to 7 feet off the ground. Its height is approximately 80 feet tall, with a spread of 70 to 80 feet across. This tree must be 200 to 300 hundred years old. It is the only tree this size as far as one can see. It has not been proven yet , but I strongly believe this is the same tree that their home place was named after. According to the Besser Family Bible J. S. Tinsley died at LONE OAK MONTGOMERY COUNTY . TEXAS.

The Unofficial Size Of Besser Cemetery

The size of Besser Cemetery was reported to be much larger then the present size. Reported to me by Joe D. Wesolick. There are four visible depressions in the ground out side of the old iron ornamental fence that enclose the cemetery. One on the South East corner of the cemetery corner post about 8 feet from the fence. The second one located on the west side of the cemetery fence ,about 2 feet from fence. Two more depressions located under the GIANTIC POST OAK TREE on the north west side . It was reported that quite a large number of people were buried here at one time. Story goes some of these people were moved to other cemeteries. Mr. Wesolick could not recall numbers of people or name of cemetery. As it was a great number of years ago. It was also reported that the large Original cemetery had the same old ornamental fence around it that is around the present Besser Cemetery.

This information provided to me is unproven as of this day. Research is still on going, as is the Restoration of the Cemetery.

Any Descendants of Gen. John Slater Besser and Julia A. Hampton are welcome to volunteer their help if interested. Any volunteers with Historical Interests are welcome as well. All labour thus far has been provided by Paul F. Smith and Joe Billy Reynolds of Huntsville, Texas.

Besser Cemetery Updated May 5,2002 By Paul F. Smith


Previous records recorded by Joe and Clara Malak April 10, 2000