In 1835, Joseph Jordan and William S. McDonald donated about 500 acres of land in this area for the town of Houston, later known as Fort Houston. An early map of the townsite shows a section designated as a public burying ground. The infant child of the Rev. Peter Fullinwider, an early Protestant minister in Anderson County, is said to have been the first to be interred here. The oldest marked grave, that of Dr. James Hunter, is dated 1840. The Fort Houston Cemetery is the only remaining physical evidence of the early frontier town, which was abandoned after Palestine was made Anderson County seat in 1846. Victims of diseases, Indian massacres, and other hardships that faced early Texas settlers are buried here. A special soldiers' plot, marked with a large boulder, contains the graves of soldiers of the Republic of Texas. Two veterans of the Battle of San Jacinto, John W. Carpenter and James Wilson, are buried in unmarked graves. The burial site of General Nathaniel Smith, a War of 1812 veteran, is also located in the soldiers' plot. The Fort Houston Cemetery remains in use as a public burial ground and as a reminder of the early history of the area. (1985)
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