History of the Old Lebanon Church and Cemetery
Hill County, Texas
Researched By:  Royal (Roy) C. Bessire
August, 2003

June 20, 1851

Granted to James H. Collett, by the State of Texas, assignee of William H. Nelson, one third of a League of Land, situated and described as follows:  In Robertson District Navarro County and the East Bank of the Brazos River, about 12 miles above the mouth of the Aquilla by virtue of certificate No. 146, issued by the board of Land Commissioners of Colorado County on the 3rd day of May 1839, and transferred to said Collett on this 4th day of June, 1841.  Filed in Navarro County, Texas, July 7, 1851, type of instrument “Patent”, book E, page 351 and 352.

July 3, 1855

James H. Collett for and in consideration of fourteen hundred dollars to me in hand paid in compliance with a bond given by me the said Collett to David H. Williams and William E. Anderson, dated 14th day of  January AD 1852.  The conditions of the bond having been complied with, do this day deed to the said David H. Williams and William E. Anderson, the following tract or parcel of land to wit in Robertson District, Hill County, on the E bank of the Brazos River about twelve miles above the mouth of the Aquilla, containing one third of a league of land and more particularly designated in letter Patent No. 613, Vol. 8, issued to me the James H. Collett as assignee of William H. Nelson 1st class done on the twenty day of  June AD 1851, is hereby made part of a parcel of this deed to have and to hold unto the said William E. Anderson. Signed by James H. Collett, July 3rd, 1855.  Filed for record in Hill County, Texas, November 2nd AD, 1855.  Book H, page 410.

October 29, 1855

Robert K. Williams as administrator of David H. Williams, sell alien and convey to William E. Anderson, one half of a certain part or parcel of land lying and situated on the east bank of the Brazos River in Robertson Land District better known and designated in a Patent No. 613, Vol. 6, issued to one James H. Collett as assignee of William H. Nelson 1st class done on the twentieth day of June AD 1851, for consideration of seven hundred and twenty dollars to me in hand paid by the William E. Anderson, said land conveyed to David H. Williams and William E. Anderson dated the 3rd day of July AD 1855.  Robert K. Williams as administrator of David H. Williams, deed to William E. Anderson the north half of the said land.  Filed for record, Hill County, Texas, October 30, 1855.  Book H, pages 413 & 414.

Note:  It is believed this church was built 1856/1857, and was the original Methodist Episcopal Church South.  The cemetery was established during this period since the the first known burial was in 1858.

March 11, 1859

William E. Anderson and Adline F. Anderson, his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars to us in hand paid and balance of fifteen hundred dollars to be paid as  follows, seven hundred and fifty dollars February 1860 and seven hundred and fifty dollars to be paid February 16, 1861, at 10% interest until paid by James M. Hix, bargain sold and convey to the said Hix, the following described tract of land lying and being in Hill County and State of Texas, on the east bank of the Brazos River in Robertson Land District beginning at the north west corner of Wm H. Nelson 1/3 of a league, being 438 acres of land more or less out of the Wm H. Nelson 1/3 of a League survey, except one acre where a church house stands, to the sole use and benefit of said James M. Hix.  Recorded in Hill County, Texas, July 13, 1859.  Vol. G, pages 346 & 347.

September 15, 1860

James M. Hix for the sum of one thousand and forty dollars to me in hand paid and four notes in the amount of fourteen hundred and fifty nine dollars (1459.00) to be equally divided into one, two, three and four payments, bargained sold, conveyed and released unto C. A. Spivey of the State of Texas, County of Bosque the following described tract of land lying and being in the County of Hill and State of Texas, on the East Bank of the Brazos River in Robertson Land District, beginning at the North West Corner of Wm H. Nelson 1/3 of a league survey, being 438 acres of land more of less out of the W. H. Nelson 1/3 of a League survey, except one acre where a church house stands, for the use and benefit of the said C. A. Spivey.  Signed the 15th day of September AD, 1860. Recorded in Hill County, Texas, June 28, 1861.  Vol. I, pages 360 & 361.

October 19, 1872

C. A. Spivey and W. E. Anderson, of the county of Hill and the state of Texas, for an in consideration of the sum of twelve dollars to us in hand paid,  by James W. Scott, M. J. Britton, J. B. C. Scott, J. P. Grace, H. B. Smith, George Williams, E. R. Williams, J. H. Gamblin, and J. F. Anderson, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, the receipt is hereby acknowledged and for the further consideration that we make a donation of the church and school house, we have this day bargained sold and conveyed unto the said James W. Scott, M. J. Britton, J. B. C. Scott, J. P. Grace, H. B. Smith, George Williams, E. R. Williams, J. H. Gamblin, and J. F. Anderson, described tract and parcel of land containing four acres.  Signed the 19th day of October, 1872.  Recorded in Hill County, October 24th, AD, 1872. Book N, pages 421 & 422.

Note:  This is the date used for the establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (now the Lebanon United Methodist Church), but actually a church was on this site in 1859, when W. E. Anderson sold to James M. Hix.  In 1872 a church and school house was on this site.  Sometime shortly after 1872, a new church was built just outside the front of the present day cemetery.  Sometime later this building was destroyed by fire, about 1879/1880, and in 1881 J. G. Marlar and R. C. Marlar, his wife, for the sum of $5.00 sold and conveyed to the trustees, James F. Herod, J.W. Lowrey and J. G. Marlar, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South two acres, on a site about one mile East of this site, which was a more convenient place for the community.  The deed stated the land shall be kept, maintained and supposed of as a place of divine worship for the use of the ministry and membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  This parcel of land was two acres, Vol. 1, page 582.

January 21, 1895

Jay Spivey and H. V. Spivey, husband and wife, of the county of Hill and state of Texas, in consideration of the sum of $300.00, cash in hand the receipt of is acknowledged, and five notes of $300.00, payable on the first day of December 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898 and 1899, each payable on December 1, in Hillsboro, Texas, have granted, sold and conveyed unto P. H. Bessire, of Hill county and state of Texas, all that certain tract or parcel of land situation on the Brazos River, in Hill County, Texas,  and being 438 acres more or less conveyed to C. A. Spivey by  J. M. Hix, January 3, 1860,  of the W. H. Nelson survey, except a lot conveyed to the M.E. Church South by C. A. Spivey and W. E. Anderson, containing 4 acres.  Signed January 21, 1895.  Vol. 42, page 587.

August 12, 1901

P. H. Bessire and wife Viola Bessire of the county of Hill , state of Texas,  in consideration of the sum of $2500.00 dollars, paid and secured to be paid by N. W. Burleson as follows:  One thousand ($1000.00 cash in hand the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged and five promissory notes of even date herewith for the sum of $300.00 dollars each due and payable at Hillsboro, Texas, Dec. 1st 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905 and 1906, respectively, have granted, sold and conveyed, unto the said N. W. Burleson of the county of Hill and state of Texas, all that certain tract  or parcel of land described as follows, situated on the Brazos River in Hill County, 438 acres of land of the W. H. Nelson Survey,  conveyed to C. A. Spivey by J. M. Hix Jan 3, 1860, except a lot, containing 4 acres, conveyed by C.A. Spivey and W. E. Anderson to the M. E. Church South.  Recorded in Hill County, Texas, 20th day of January, 1902.  Vol. 73, page 392.

Descendants of  N W. Burleson has retained ownership of this land to this day (2003).

The oldest known grave is that of Woodson Hines Williams who died on May 18,1858 at age 7 years old.  He is buried next to his parents Robert K. Williams, who died February 27, 1862 and Mary J. Williams, who died April 25, 1871.  The last burial was that of Jewel Glenease Bessire who died April 4, 2002.