We know that Texas had become a popular place for settlers in the early 1800's. The battle of the Alamo was fought in 1836, shortly after which independence was won from Mexico. In 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed to the United States of America, becoming the 28th U.S. state. The historic Athens Cemetery was begun in 1858, becoming the final resting place for several individuals who had actually lived during this time in history. This makes our cemetery seem so old yet, the Athens Cemetery is far from the oldest known cemetery in Texas.

That honor is reserved for the Ernest Witte Site, an aboriginal cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking the Brazos River in Austin County, about forty miles west of Houston. The site contained the skeletal remains of 238 people buried at various times over a period of more than 4,000 years, from 2700 B.C. to A.D. 1500. Reflecting the gradual accumulation of soil on the site and its periodic use as a burial ground by local prehistoric Indian populations, the burials occurred as four distinct, superimposed groups separated by layers of soil in a deposit with a maximum depth of about eight feet.

Written by the field crew head, Grant D. Hall, and first published by the Texas State Historical Association, the story detailing the discovery of the cemetery is quite interesting. Click  HERE to read more about this ancient resting place.