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Elm Grove Cemetery
Robertson County TX
By Barbara Meadors Schmeichel
The Elm Grove community is located five miles east of New Baden on FM 1940. Elm Grove was probably named for the large groves of elm trees found in the area when the settlers arrived.
When Texas was admitted to the Union in 1846, educators voiced concern for the children of central Texas who had lived through colonial times without having attended either churches or schools. The education of young people had been neglected in the early years of settlement. Under the Texas Constitution of 1845, counties were required to establish free public schools. In 1854, a state fund was created from which teachers were paid for their services according to the number of children educated. Teachers certified by an examining board were allowed to establish community schools and furnish affidavits to the county clerk as to the number of children enrolled. From 1850 - 1860, the population increased from 1,000 to 5,000. By 1900, the population had reached 31,000. The state became more involved in public education and an effort was made to provide a school within easy walking distance from the home of every child in the county.
Most of the settlers in the Elm Grove community were farmers. They came to central Texas to start a new life. They came looking for good rich soil to raise crops and grass lands to graze their cattle. Some of the early families to settle here were: Ainsworth, Becktold, Brunette, Cazey, Cobb, Dieckmann, Hanhart, Faulkner, Levine, McBride, Meadors, Merryman, Smith, Tarver, Threadgill, & Zweifel. They wanted a good community in which to live and raise their families. They wanted their children to have an education. Because of the number of children in the Elm Grove community, a school established there in July 1911, within walking distance of the children. Five acres of land purchased by the County Judge of Robertson County for $15.00 in 1889 from the New York & Texas Land Company, Limited, per Volume 23, Page 251, Deed Records of Robertson County. Some of the teachers who taught at Elm Grove School were: Dick Smith, Freddie Birch Hurley, Rosie Fisher, Ollie Arnett Elliott, Mr. Craig, Mr. Dishroom, Maggie Cazey, Ivy Threadgill, Mr. Bond, Sula McLeod, Johnnie Parker, & Ruth Buchanan.
The building that remains today was built in 1917. The carpenters hired to build the new school were Godfrey Becktold, whose mother, Anna Barbara Gasser Becktold Bersch, was among the early settlers to come and settle in New Baden. Also hired were Godfrey's son, Alva Ellsworth Becktold, and Godfrey's son-in-law, James Cleburn "Jim" Marshall. They were paid $50.00 for their work. The school was completed just prior to Godfrey Becktold's death on September 25, 1917.
As the county grew, bigger and better schools were built, buses provided transportation to bring the children into the larger schools. Many small one-room schools closed and were torn down in the name of progress. The citizens of Elm Grove were determined to keep the school where many of them had learned to read and write. They had other plans for this little one-room school.
The Elm Grove Baptist Church was organized in 1934 under the supervision of Brother Charlie Chuck, pastor of the New Baden Baptist Church. He was assisted by Brother Rob Marshall, Gladyne Minna Bolton Lumpkin, Edna Brunette Dieckmann Reichert, and others. There were thirty-two members meeting in the school building. Deacons ordained were: William Wesley "Will" Russell, Earl Meadors, David Alexander "Alex" Ainsworth, & Hardy Lee Roy Becktold. The first pastor called was Brother Earl Hite of Waco. Morris Flatt was elected church clerk and Opal Wanita Smith Russell was elected Sunday school secretary. In 1949, the property was purchased from the Franklin Independent School District for $225, Volume 155, Page 139, Deed Records of Robertson County. Three of the five acres were designated as a cemetery. Other pastors who served over the years were: Brother Bryan, Curry Thomas Zweifel, J. E. Godsoe, Joe Love, J. E. Burks, Frank L. Johnson, W. L. Partain, Doyal Caldwell, Herman Blair, Bland Watson, John Dean Bailey, John Ernest, & Murray K. Hardy. Many others preached from time to time at revivals and special occasions. All were honorable, upstanding citizens who served God and their fellowmen.
Many fond memories live on in the hearts of those who attended services at Elm Grove, especially at Christmas, Easter, and during outdoor revival meetings. The church served the community well; it brought families together and provided social activities. Men, women, and children came to worship together, visit friends and families, and when occasion arose, bury their loved ones. Many who grew up in the Elm Grove Community went on to live their lives and serve their country in other areas. But, Elm Grove roots run deep and in their hearts they still carry the happy memories of family and friends in the Elm Grove area.
The little one-room school house still stands -- one of the few one-room school buildings that remain. The building is in need of repair and if work is not done soon, it will be too late to save the building. If you wish to help save the historic Elm Grove School/Church, mail you donation to:
Grove School/Church Restoration Fund
Route 3, Box 622
Franklin, Texas 77856
Next to the abandoned Elm Grove School/Church building on the left-hand side of the road between New Baden and Camp Creek. Additional information on Elm Grove.
What's left of
the Elm Grove Church &
School in 2001.
The cemetery is to the right of this picture.
BECKTOLD, NELLIE NEVADA CLEVELAND MEDLIN MARLOW, 5.14.1915 - 12.11.1989, h1 Raymond Lewis Medlin, h2 Mr. Marlow, h3 George Godfrey Becktold, c1 Marjorie Elizabeth Dodds, Mary Davis, Roy Lewis, c2 Johnny, Jackie
MEDLIN, ROY LEWIS, 5.31.1938 - living, s Nellie Nevada Cleveland Medlin Marlow Becktold
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Page Modified: 22 November 2014
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