The Brackenridge Cemetery wears a
mantle of consecration that makes you want to
involuntarily step a bit lighter than usual. This cemetery was almost hidden in a tangled mass of
vegetation before the Lavaca-Navidad River Authority cleared the area outside of the wall
John Adams Brackenridge selected
this site when his daughter, Elizabeth Ann "Lillie" died July
16, 1856, shortly after her eighth birthday. A double row of cedar trees was planted leading from
the Brackenridge Plantation Home to this burial ground. (Two of the original cedar trees and
several smaller cedar trees that have come up from seed can be seen along the nature trail.)
On December 22, 1862, John Adams
Brackenridge died and was buried in this cemetery.
John's wife, Isabella Helene McCullough Brackenridge, moved to San Antonio in 1871 to live with
her son, George W., but when she died December 19, 1886, her body was brought back to this
cemetery to be buried with her husband.
John Adams and Isabella Helena
Brackenridge's second son, George W., had moved to San
Antonio in 1866, where he founded the prosperous San Antonio National Bank. As George
prospered, he shared his gifts of cash and buildings aided schools and colleges. He gave to the
University of Texas, Prairie View, and Columbia Univeristy in New York. In 1899 he donated 320
acres to the City of San Antonio that became the Brackenridge Park.
George made an annual pilgrimage
around Thanksgiving to the old homeplace. He would
travel on one of his boats, the Navidad or the Oriole, up the river to the site of Texana, which had
ceased to exist. He was met at sunrise by a team from an Edna livery stable and driven overland
through the early mist to his "home."
Brackenridge would spend the
entire day alone in meditation, wandering about the quiet spots
that were hallowed to him. At sunset, Brackenridge would drive back to his boat at old Texana.
It was George W. Brackenridge who had the enormous monument and stone wall erected.