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texas state cemetery

The Texas State Cemetery’s goals are to educate children of all ages on the importance of preserving our past. Students will explore the grounds of the Cemetery to learn Texas history through the people that are interred here. Students will examine the full scope of Texas history from European exploration, colonization, revolution, to republic and statehood. Students will focus on key individuals in each era who impacted the building of Texas. Students will also be able to examine the rich and diverse cultural background of Texas by identifying those individuals of different racial and ethnic groups that settled in Texas to build a republic and then a state; and those individuals who continue to run the state today as a mayor, legislator, or governor.

This packet is designed to assist the student in helping them discover the Texas State Cemetery before their visit. In addition, it is also a guideline to help you, the teacher, by giving some tools that will help prepare your class for your visit to the Texas State Cemetery.

The activities in the packet will help students identify those people in the Texas State Cemetery who have built communities, identify local government officials and how they are chosen, identify characteristics of good citizenship, hear of folklore, identify individuals who have preserved cultural heritage, and identify those individuals who have helped communities through science.

We look forward to your visit to the Texas State Cemetery and we are excited about sharing our unique history with you and your class.

before your visit some things to keep in mind
BEFORE YOUR VISIT --- Some things to keep in mind

There are certain rules that must be followed during your visit at the Texas State Cemetery and some things that you may wish to consider before your arrival. When you arrive, please check in at the visitors center and the staff will help you organize your group before the start of the tour.

  • Large groups may wish to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early for restroom and water breaks before the tour begins.
  • This is a WALKING tour and can last 45 minutes to an hour. Please make sure you and your students wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Check the weather in the Austin area before you leave. You may need to bring rain gear or a coat.
  • Water bottles are allowed on the tour; however, no other drink nor food (including chewing gum) is allowed on the grounds at any time. Please make lunch arrangements at a local park or other eating establishment prior to your visit at the Texas State Cemetery.
  • There are no rubbings of any marker or monument allowed. Photographs are allowed.
  • Students are expected to be respectful of the markers and monuments. We ask that they not sit, stand, kick, or climb on any of the historical markers that are in place in the Texas State Cemetery. Pencils and pens should be kept at a distance from any historical marker or monument.
  • Please note that we are still an active cemetery and funerals are unexpected and happen on short notice. Funerals take precedence over tours and you may be asked to reschedule. Please try to have an alternate date in mind should this rare event occur.
  • If you have any further questions or special needs, please contact us at: 512-463-0605.
who and what will we see
The following is a list of individuals that students will

most likely encounter on their visit at the Texas State


French Sailor

Albert Sidney Johnston

Joanna Troutman

Walter Prescott Webb

Fred Gipson

Jim and Miriam (“Ma and Pa”) Ferguson

Dan Moody

“Bigfoot” Wallace

Stephen F. Austin

Barbara Jordan

Bob Bullock

Edward Burleson

Josiah Wilbarger

Judge Edwin Waller

Edmund J. Davis

Joel Robison

James Sylvester

Jesse Grimes

John Connally

“Peg Leg” Ward

“Three-Legged Willie”

Thomas Gazley

Joseph H. Barnard

Tom Landry

Willie Wells


Other monuments or areas that will be seen:

Highway 165

Medal of Honor Monument

September 11th Monument

Confederate Fields

VE/VJ Monument


Sometimes, due to time constraints, it will not be

possible to see everything listed here; however, the

staff makes every possible effort to include those

individuals and places listed above as well as any

special requests from visitors.

how do i prepare my class for our visit
  • Visit our website

To familiarize the students with the Texas State Cemetery, teachers may wish to visit our web site at:


Our web site includes biographies and pictures of the people and their monuments. Students may

wish to read about a certain individual in order to become more familiar with who it is they will be

visiting at the cemetery. Our web site also includes pictures of the grounds and students will be able

to see the area before their visit.

  • Talk about certain historical events

Students may not be familiar with certain events in Texas history so it may be beneficial to acquaint

your students with some of the facts regarding Texas history. You may want to briefly explain the

following topics:

    • Texas Revolution –Specifically with the dates of March 2nd and April 21st. Also, briefly explain the Alamo and Goliad.
    • Civil War –Specifically, what is the meaning of Confederate and Union, the dates 1861-1865, and Reconstruction
    • Texas Legislature – Specifically, there are two chambers; the House and the Senate. House members are called Representatives and Senate members are called Senators. Individuals that serve in either chamber are called legislators.
    • September 11, 2001
how do i prepare my class for our visit6
  • Do some of the included activities

These activities include discussion questions, a matching worksheet, and biographies

that students can read and then write a one page essay on the individual of their

choosing. If the teacher chooses, these may be turned in for participation grades or

individual grades.

  • Tour questions are also included.

This activity may be saved for the actual time of your tour or completed after the tour in

your classroom. Students can take the form, fill it out as we go along, and turn it in to the

teacher for a grade.

discussion questions

The objective is to help students develop an understanding of the purpose

of the Texas State Cemetery and will help prepare the students for their

visit. You may want to have students gather into groups, write their collective

answers on the handout and then discuss with the class their answers.

Ask the students if any of them have ever visited a cemetery.

Most will raise their hands, but ask them to describe their experience. Was

it to go to a funeral, was it to visit a relative that died, or was it to

conduct genealogical research? Most students who visit cemeteries go with

their parents to attend a funeral not realizing that a whole community is

interred on the grounds. The discussion should focus on the historical

significance and importance of cemeteries to preserve the past so future

generations know where they come from.

Also, discuss historical significance of the Texas State Cemetery. Discuss the

differences between other cemeteries the students have visited.

The Texas State Cemetery honors people who have played an important role in Texas history. One of the ways to honor a person is to put up a monument. How else might a cemetery honor someone?
  • Headstones, sculptures, and cenotaphs are some of the different types of monuments we have at the Texas State Cemetery. These markers come in all shapes and sizes and usually include the person’s name, birth and death dates, and an epitaph (a brief statement on the person’s life). Why is it important to record this information?
  • Fred Gipson’s epitaph reads, “his books are his monument”. What do you think this means? Have you seen other epitaphs? If so, what did they read?
  • A cenotaph is similar to a headstone, but it does not mark the location of burial. For example, Tom Landry has a cenotaph at the Texas State Cemetery. Why do you think we would have a monument for him even though he is not buried at the Cemetery?
selected biographies
  • Have students choose an individual from one of the different eras of Texas history represented at the Cemetery.
  • Then, have the students visit our website at: www.cemetery.state.tx.us to find out more about their chosen individual. Students may want to access the Handbook of Texas (created by Walter Prescott Webb who is interred at the Texas State Cemetery) at:

www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online to find out more about their person.

  • Students can write a one page essay including the importance that individual played in shaping Texas. When they get to the Cemetery, they may want to tell the class about their findings, if time permits, while standing next to the grave of the person they researched.

Suggested biographies include but are not limited to:

  • Stephen F. Austin
  • General Edward Burleson
  • Joanna Troutman
  • Barbara Jordan
  • Volma Overton
  • Governor John Connally
  • Gideon Lincecum
  • Benjamin McCulloch
  • Edmund J. Davis
  • James Frank Dobie
  • James and Miriam Ferguson
  • Albert Sidney Johnston
  • Joseph Henry Barnard
  • Robert Alan Shivers
  • Bigfoot Wallace
  • Walter Prescott Webb
  • Ralph Webster Yarborough
7th Grade—Matching Worksheet

Find the monuments of these Texas heroes and match each person with his or her lifetime achievements. Your best clues will be the words that are underlined. Remember to look on the backs of monuments.

_____Ashbel Smith A. Founded Waterloo, now Austin, TX and the first person to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

_____J. Frank Dobie B. Brought the first 300 families to Texas and is known as, “The Father of Texas”.

_____Ma and Pa Ferguson C. Governor of Texas, Lt. Governor, and the youngest member to be elected to the State Senate at age 27.

_____William Wallace D. Served as governor three times and was wounded while riding in the vehicle that JFK was assassinated.

_____Allan Shivers E. Renowned Civil Rights leader, first black woman elected to the Texas Senate. Teacher.

_____Joanna Troutman F. Secretary of War and later fought in the Civil War as a general and died at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.

_____John Connally G. Historian and creator of the Handbook of Texas.

_____Edward Burleson H. His Books Are His Monument and author of Old Yeller.

_____Josiah Wilbarger I. Storyteller of the Southwest and professor at UT

_____Stephen F. Austin J. Considered to have sewn the Republic’s first Lone Star flag that flew over Goliad.

_____Walter Prescott Webb K. Survivor of the Alamo with her babe in her arms she carried the news to Gen. Sam Houston.

_____Fred Gipson L. Governors of the State of Texas and one of them was the first female governor.

_____William Ward M. Nicknamed “Bigfoot” he carried the mail through Comanche territory and was a Republic of Texas veteran.

_____Barbara Jordan N. Lost a leg in the Siege of Bexar but went on to build the first capitol building for Texas. He served as Austin’s mayor three times.

_____Albert S. Johnston O. “Father of Texas Medicine” he was appointed surgeon general in the Army of the Republic and served as a legislator, ambassador, educator and a military hero.

_____Susanna Dickinson P. Came to Texas a second time with Stephen F. Austin and fought in the Battle of Velasco and was a delegate to the Constitution in 1835. He also survived being scalped, living 11 more years.

answers to matching worksheet

O Ashbel Smith

I J. Frank Dobie

L Ma and Pa Ferguson

M William Wallace

C Allan Shivers

J Joanna Troutman

D John Connally

A Edward Burleson

P Josiah Wilbarger

B Stephen F. Austin

G Walter Prescott Webb

H Fred Gipson

N William Ward

E Barbara Jordan

F Albert Sidney Johnston

K Susanna Dickinson

7th Grade—Tour Questions
  • Who was the first person to be buried in the Texas State Cemetery? Name one of his accomplishments.
  • What purpose does the Columbarium Wall serve? What type of stone is it comprised of?
  • What is the name of the road that runs through the Cemetery’s grounds and what is its posted speed limit?
  • Where did most of the Confederate Veterans that are buried in Confederate Field live before being buried in the Cemetery?
  • How did Albert Sidney Johnston die? Who sculpted the statue?
  • Name one of the five southern senators to vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
  • Name the only husband and wife that served as governors of the state of Texas.
  • Who carried a mail route through Comanche territory?
  • What Texas governor ran as both Democrat and Republican in the 1950s? What were his supporters called?
  • Who was the first African-American female to serve in the Texas Senate? What else is she known for?
  • What year did Governor John Connally run for president and under what party did he run?
  • What did baseball hall of famer Willie Wells “invent” that is used by baseball players today?
answers to tour questions
  • Edward Burleson. Answers may include: San Jacinto Veteran, Vice-President of the Republic, served in both the Texas House and Senate, laid out the town of Waterloo which became Austin.
  • To hold the ashes of those cremated. Pink Granite.
  • HWY 165. 15 mph.
  • Confederate Men’s Home.
  • A bullet to the back of his right leg. Elisabet Ney.
  • Ralph Yarborough
  • Ma and Pa Ferguson
  • Bigfoot Wallace
  • Allan Shivers. Shivercrats.
  • Barbara Jordan. Answers may include: orator, booming voice, great diction, teacher, lawyer, civil rights leader, carried copy of Constitution with her, Watergate hearings.
  • 1980. Republican.
  • Batting helmets.
other information
  • Our address is:

Texas State Cemetery

909 Navasota

Austin, TX 78702

We’re located off of 11th Street; just one mile southeast of the Capitol Building

  • Our phone number is:


And our fax number is:


  • Our web site is:


  • Our email address is:


Published in 2006 by The Texas State Cemetery