Weatherford Living

Battern Cemetery recognized as Historic Texas Cemetery

Pictured l. to r. are: Linda Murdock of the Parker County Heritage Society; Audrey Mansell, a Battern descendent; Jo Ann Barnhart, Melvin Davis and Bill Warren of the Abandoned Cemetery Association; and Judge Mark Riley who gathered to celebrate receipt of the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation by the Texas Historical Commission.
Pictured l. to r. are: Linda Murdock of the Parker County Heritage Society; Audrey Mansell, a Battern descendent; Jo Ann Barnhart, Melvin Davis and Bill Warren of the Abandoned Cemetery Association; and Judge Mark Riley who gathered to celebrate receipt of the Historic Texas Cemetery Designation by the Texas Historical Commission. Photo courtesy

DENNIS, TX – The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has designated the Battern Cemetery as an Historic Texas Cemetery. The designation conveys legal distinction for the cemetery in Parker County records. The designation is reserved for cemeteries that are at least 50 years old.

The oldest recorded burial at the Battern Cemetery is that of Claude E. Roberts who died at the age of 6 months and 4 days on August 10, 1879, on land owned by Henry Hill Battern. The cemetery is located in a grove of trees some distance from a public roadway on private property near Dennis, in southwest Parker County.

Battern bought 160 acres just before the outbreak of the Civil War through assignment of the original land patent from Saul Smith in 1860. He paid the magnificent sum of $400 or $2.50 per acre. He farmed the rich sandy loam near the Brazos River. He was of Black Irish descent, and was born in Culpeper County, VA.

He and his first wife, Nancy Elizabeth Hendron married in Missouri and she bore him 3 daughters. Nancy died in Missouri, and Battern married her sister, Sarah Jane, following the death of her first husband. They moved first to Erath County, TX where they had four children, and then to Parker County in 1860. Sarah Jane died shortly thereafter, and Battern married a third time to Mary Catherine Ashford who was 23 years his junior. To this union, six children were born.

Battern died in 1889 at the age of 72 and was buried at the cemetery. Two of his wives, several children, and grandchildren are buried near him. Over the years, the acreage was divided between the children and some of it sold. In 1899, the 31-acre tract containing the cemetery was sold by their youngest child Fronce Hill Battern to Dr. Charles Clinton Jones of Comfort, TX. It was Dr. Jones who conveyed the cemetery to the Parker County Judge and his heirs in office in 1926.

Any individual or organization is eligible to submit an application for a Texas Historic Cemetery designation which is now necessary before a Texas Historical Marker request can be submitted. To find out more about historic cemetery preservation, visit the THC’s website at www.thc.state.tx.us.

The Abandoned Cemetery Association has cared for the cemetery for a number of years in addition to over 70 other abandoned cemeteries in Parker County. You can help maintain these cemeteries. Please send your tax-deductible donations to: The Abandoned Cemetery Association, PO Box 61, Weatherford, TX 76086. Your help is greatly appreciated.

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