Cooke-Griffin Methodist Cemetery Receives Historic Texas Cemetery Designation

LIBERTY May 10, 2019 - The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recently designated Cooke-Griffin Methodist Cemetery as a Historic Texas Cemetery.  The distinction means the cemetery has been legally recorded through the THC’s Cemetery Preservation Program, an important step in ensuring its preservation.

The designation is reserved for cemeteries that are at least 50 years old and documented through the Historic Texas Cemetery designation process to record their historic association and significance.

“Cemeteries are important keys in the history of Texas.  Designation as a Historic Texas Cemetery helps increase public awareness of these important cultural resources,” said Mark Wolfe, executive director of the THC.  “Knowledge and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of a historic cemetery.”

A dedication ceremony to commemorate this historic designation will be held at 2:00 p.m. on May 19th at the cemetery on Lakeland Drive in Liberty, Texas and hosted by the Liberty County Historical Commission, sponsors of the marker.  The dedication is open to the public and they are encouraged to attend.   “Cooke-Griffin Methodist Cemetery is one of the earliest cemeteries in Liberty County, having been established in 1846,” said Linda Jamison, County Chair of the Liberty County Historical Commission.

Jackson Hawkins Griffin (1818-1864) came to Liberty in 1835.  A member of the Liberty Volunteers during the Texas Revolution, he participated in the Siege of Bexar.  His home near the cemetery site was often used as a boarding house for families new to the area.  Jesse Daniel Lum (1775-1846) and his son, Jesse Daniel Lum, Jr. (1822-1900), rented rooms in Griffin’s home soon after they arrived here from Louisiana in 1843.  When the elder Lum died in 1846, Griffin provided space on his land for use as a burial site.  From that time, the plot of land was known locally as Griffin Cemetery.  Jackson Griffin enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862 and was killed in the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee in 1864.  His heirs sold his land to Dr. James P. Cooke (1836-1892), who in turn donated the cemetery property to the Liberty Methodist Church in 1881.  Dr. Cooke was interred here in 1892, and the burial ground is also known as Cooke Memorial Cemetery.  The Methodist Church maintained the graveyard as a private burial ground until 1981, when a restoration program was undertaken which reopened the cemetery to public use.  The THC has now designated this historic cemetery as Cooke-Griffin Methodist Cemetery.

Cemeteries hold valuable historic information and are often the last reminders of early settlements’ historical events, religious beliefs, lifestyles, and genealogy.  Threats to historic cemeteries include urban expansion and development, vandalism, grazing animals, and long-term deterioration from weather and uncontrolled vegetation.

The THC developed the Historic Texas Cemetery designation to address the destruction of historic cemeteries and the illegal removal of cemetery fixtures.   For additional information regarding the Historic Texas Cemetery designation, please contact the Liberty County Historical Commission at 936-334-5813 or email 
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