Cemetery was established as a private cemetery in 1871 by the Houston
Cemetery Company, which was incorporated by an act of the Twelfth
Legislature of the State of Texas on May 12, 1871. After construction,
Glenwood opened for business in the summer of 1872.
For most of the first decade of Glenwood’s existence, its fortunes were guided by President W.B. Botts and the Board of Directors. Although minutes of the activities in those years have not been found, it is known that new sections were developed and construction of infrastructure and improvements continued.In 1886, J.C. Hutcheson was elected President. Under Hutcheson’s leadership, a new Code of Bylaws, Rules and Regulations was adopted, a Permanent Trust Fund was established, and what is believed to be the first engineered map of the cemetery was drawn and eventually recorded in the Harris County Clerk’s office.
A significant change in Glenwood’s management occurred in 1893 when Thomas Tinsley, a New York lawyer with various business interests, obtained majority control of the Houston Cemetery Company stock, and Tinsley’s associates replaced the former members of the Board of Directors. Through a series of disproportionate dividends, stock splits, loans and other fiscally questionable transactions, Tinsley enriched himself while neglecting the maintenance of the cemetery, which fell into a deplorable condition.
Public sentiment against Tinsley grew until, in March 1896, a group of disgruntled lot owners filed suit asking the court to appoint a Receiver for the Glenwood assets. William Christian was appointed Receiver the following month and, under the court’s supervision, he operated the cemetery and began to repair and rebuild the damage of the Tinsley years.
One of the Receiver’s priorities was the entrance bridge crossing the glen just inside the Washington Avenue gates. The original 1872 bridge had been made of wood, and Tinsley’s neglect had left it unusable. Funerals were forced to enter through the Kane Street gates. After several options were considered, it was decided in 1896 to fill the ravine under the bridge, installing a culvert to allow the water to flow west to east. The bridge surface and rails were described as “new masonry and concrete.” It is believed the present concrete rails were installed about 1920.
The formal brick and masonry gate posts and the ornamental iron fencing and gates which mark the Washington Avenue entrance today were constructed around 1900, giving Glenwood a prominent presence in the streetscape.
The property that became Glenwood included a lake, probably an ox-bow of Buffalo Bayou. As development of the cemetery moved south toward what is now the Lakeview Section, improvements were made to the lake. It existed as a decorative amenity from 1915 until 1921, when it was filled except for the remnant that exists today in the northern part of the Lakeview Section and serves as part of a drainage system from the Oakdale Section out to Buffalo Bayou.
Flooding of that portion of the cemetery in 1920 may have influenced the decision to fill the lake. Significant repairs and drainage work were undertaken at that time, including construction of concrete retaining walls reinforcing the levee around the Forest Mound Section.
In 1925 the roads in the cemetery, which had been shell gravel, were paved to cut down on dust.
In the mid-20th century, events south of the cemetery impacted Glenwood. Buffalo Bayou was rechanneled several times, moving south away from Glenwood. More significantly, in the 1950s the construction of Memorial Drive claimed 7.6 acres of Glenwood land.
The Architectural Control Committee was created in 1974 to ensure that lot improvements conform to Glenwood standards. Improvements and enhancements continued, including significant work on the office cottage, installation of a fireproof vault for the cemetery records in 1985, and restoration of the fountain and pond near the entrance.
Another beautiful feature of Glenwood was constructed and dedicated in 1995. Glenwood’s graceful belvedere was a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Strange through the Heitman Foundation. It serves as the centerpiece of several sections that came together from land reclaimed from a gully and developed for burial spaces in 1990.
About the same time, the office cottage was expanded to include a conference room and additional office space and brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Construction of the guard house near the entrance bridge followed.
The year 2005 marked a significant development for Glenwood. The SWA Group was commissioned to prepare a Master Plan to guide Glenwood’s future. The Master Plan will optimize development of remaining land resources while preserving the historic character of the cemetery and enhancing the historic landscape.
A book on the history of Glenwood Cemetery was published in April 2010 by Texas A&M University Press. Proceeds of book sales will benefit the Glenwood Cemetery Historic Preservation Foundation. Glenwood looks forward to a bright future while respecting and preserving its past.
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The office cottage was remodeled in 1995-96, with care to preserve its style and historic integrity. A conference room was added on the north side of the building. The original carpenter’s work room was enlarged and is now the office of the Executive Director. The basement was converted into offices and an employee lunch room. The original reception room is still used for that purpose.
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|Allen, Charlotte Baldwin (1805-1895)
Regarded by some as Houston’s third co-founder, along with her husband Augustus C. Allen and his brother John Kirby Allen; speculation is that Charlotte’s money funded the brothers’ founding of Houston and that she suggested it be named for the Hero of San Jacinto
Baker, Capt. James A. (1857-1941)
As a partner in the law firm known today as Baker Botts LLP, he was the personal attorney of William Marsh Rice and brought to justice those responsible for Rice’s murder in 1900, thus saving the fortune that endowed Rice Institute (now Rice University); banker, railroad man, and real estate developer
Bering Family, The (1846- )
German immigrants who settled in Houston in 1846 and went into the hardware business; in 1848 August Bering and his brother Conrad founded the German Congregation of the Methodist Church, renamed Bering Memorial United Methodist Church in 1911; several generations are buried at Glenwood
Blaffer, R.L. (1876-1942)
Co-founder of Humble Oil (now part of Exxon Mobil)
Botts, Col. Walter Browne (1836-1894)
Joined the law practice of Peter W. Gray in 1865, establishing the firm known today as Baker Botts LLP; founding Director of Glenwood in 1871 and President from 1875 until 1886
Braun, Caspar (1822-1880)
Coming to Houston in 1851 as a missionary of the English Lutheran Church of Pittsburg, he began organizing Lutheran congregations and assisting them in obtaining charters. He organized the First German Evangelical Lutheran Church. He was an organizer and first President of the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas.
Came to Houston in 1842 and, staking his personal funds on the venture, is credited with bringing railroads to Houston, establishing the city as the rail commerce center of Southeast Texas; founder and president of Houston’s first railroad, the Houston & Texas Central; founder and president of the Houston East & West Texas Railway; the town of Bremond in Robertson County and Bremond streets in Houston, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches are named for him
Briscoe, Mary Jane Harris (1819-1903)
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas was founded at a meeting in her home in 1891; instrumental in preservation of the San Jacinto Battleground; charter member of Texas State Historical Association; founder of Sheltering Arms; daughter of John R. Harris, founder of Harrisburg, for whom Harris County is named
Brown, George R. (1898-1983) and Herman (1892-1962)
Co-founders of Brown & Root, Inc.; established The Brown Foundation, Inc. with their wives Alice Pratt Brown (1902-1984) and Margarett Root Brown (1895-1963); The Brown Foundation, Inc. has been a generous benefactor of many Houston institutions and organizations.
Carter, Samuel Fain (1857-1928)
Lumberman; founder in 1907 of Lumberman’s National Bank (later Second National Bank); built Houston’s tallest building in 1911 (16 stories, later expanded to 22 stories)
Carter, Sr., W.T. (1856-1921)
Lumberman with large holdings in East Texas; he invented a portable steel saw mill that could be moved to follow the forest
Clayton, Will (1880-1966)
Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs following WWII; credited with authoring The Marshall Plan that averted global economic disaster in the post-war years; with his wife, Susan Vaughan Clayton, a generous contributor of both time and money, their legacy includes the Clayton Genealogy Library of the Houston Public Library System and the Susan Vaughan Foundation which supports many programs that enhance quality of life for Houstonians
Cleveland, William D. (1839-1912)
One of Houston’s wealthiest wholesale grocers and leading cotton exporter; served with Terry’s Texas Rangers during the Civil War
Cooley, Daniel Denton (1850-1933)
Partnered with O.M. Carter in founding Houston Heights in 1892, at the time one of the first planned communities in Texas and one of the largest real estate projects in the United States.
Crain, E.L. Sr. (1885-1950)
Prolific developer of subdivisions, including Southside Place and Garden Oaks, a middle-class neighborhood in which he incorporated features by such designers as Hare & Hare more common to upscale neighborhoods. He was also an innovator in the manufacture of catalog homes. When the Depression halted home construction, he was again an innovator, diversifying into pre-fabricated buildings for the oil industry, plus design and construction of portable restaurants for the Houston-based Toddle House chain. When WWII again stopped home construction, he converted his company to war work and it survived to take advantage of the post-war housing boom.
Cullinan, Nina J. (1899-1983)
Her philanthropy extended to many sectors: arts, mental health and park land. Best known for her gift to the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston for the building of Cullinan Hall, which opened in 1958, she also willed half of her $4 million estate to the Houston Parks Board for development of new park space.
Cushing, E. H. (1829-1879)
Publisher from 1856-1865 of the Telegraph (formerly the Telegraph and Texas Register established by Gail Borden in 1835 before Texas was a republic); notable horticulturist and collector of books.
Dillingham, Charles (1837-1917)
After serving as a colonel in the Union army during the Civil War, Dillingham made his way to Houston where he was a banker and railroad man. His home at 3214 Austin was donated to serve as headquarters of the Child Guidance Center.
Farish, W. S. (1881-1942)
Co-founder of Humble Oil (now part of Exxon Mobil)
Finnigan, Annette (1873-1940)
Educated at Wellesley and Columbia, she assumed active management of her father’s business interests upon his death in 1909 but she is best remembered as a suffragist and philanthropist. The Houston Equal Suffrage League was established in her home in 1903, and she was elected state president. The movement lost momentum in Houston when Finnigan moved away from the city, but it resumed on her return in 1909 when she organized the Woman’s Political Union and was elected state president. She spent the winter of 1915 in Austin lobbying for an equal suffrage bill which finally passed three years later.
Freeman, Sr., John H. (1886-1980)
A prominent attorney, as an original trustee of the M. D. Anderson Foundation, he is credited with co‑founding the Texas Medical Center.
Gearing, Mary Edna (Mamie) (1872-1946)
Instrumental in starting the first kindergarten class in Houston; established the School of Domestic Economy at the University of Texas; first female full professor and department chair at UT.
Gray, Peter W. (1819-1874)
Served the Republic of Texas as District Attorney of Houston until annexation and established a law practice in Houston that continues in an unbroken line of succession as the firm of Baker Botts LLP
Gray, Col. William Fairfax (1787-1841)
Early Houston lawyer, his diary is a valuable historical record of the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the Brazos; member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas; circulated petition in 1839 that led to founding of Christ Church Cathedral; charter member of Philosophical Society of Texas
Gunn, Ralph Ellis (1908-1976)
Landscape architect whose work includes the site layout and gardens at Rienzi, St. John’s Church, First Christian Church, and the grounds of the Shamrock Hotel; credited with bringing modernism and tropical plants to the Houston landscape in the post-WWII era
Harris, DeWitt Clinton (1815-1861)
Son of John R. Harris, founder of Harrisburg and the man for whom Harris County is named, he was a businessman and elected official in Harrisburg beginning in 1833. In 1835, he was imprisoned by Mexican customs officials at Anahuac, an incident that marked the beginning of open hostilities between the Texans and Mexico.
Hofheinz, Roy (1912-1982)
Co-founded the Houston Sports Association, which brought major league baseball to Houston; built the Astrodome and Astrodomain; Harris County Judge; two-term Mayor of Houston
Holland, Dr. Margaret Ellen (1847-1921)
Houston’s first female physician, established her practice here in 1871 following her graduation from Woman’s Medical College in Chicago and continuing until her death in 1921; recognizing the importance of education, she was a leader in the Public School Art League and the PTA.
House, T. W., Sr. (1814-1880)
One of Houston’s first bankers, he conducted private banking as early as 1840; Mayor of Houston in 1862; his ships ran the Union blockade during the Civil War; prominent civic leader
House, T.W. III (1877-1956)
Partnered with Tom Ball and T.H. Guthrie in Country Club Estates, which in 1923‑24 platted River Oaks, built the first River Oaks Country Club and golf course, and began selling lots. The partners later sold their interests to Will and Mike Hogg and Hugh Potter who continued development of River Oaks.
Billionaire and man of legendary accomplishments in business, aviation and film making. He assumed control of the Hughes Tool Company at the age of 19, following his father’s death. In the late 1920s he moved to Hollywood. His best-remembered films are the epic Hell’s Angels (1930) and The Outlaw (1941). During WWII and the decade that followed, he pursued his fascination with aviation, forming Hughes Aviation and receiving government contracts for development and manufacture of aircraft (including the wooden flying boat dubbed “The Spruce Goose”). In 1956 he acquired TWA and pushed it into the jet age. By the late 1960s, he was becoming increasingly reclusive, eventually running his business empire from a penthouse atop the Dessert Inn in Las Vegas. He died on a flight from Acapulco to Houston.
Hutcheson, Sr., Hon. Joseph C. (1842-1924)
As State Representative, drafted bill that established the University of Texas; served in U.S. Congress 1893-1897
Fox, H.S., Sr. (1833-1912)
Private banker; later president of Houston National Bank in 1892; Civil War blockade runner, first board of directors of Houston Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade
Physician who served as the last President of the Republic of Texas. Although many believe Jones was among those who felt Texas had struggled too hard for independence to immediately surrender its sovereignty, when annexation occurred in 1846 Jones gave an eloquent speech at the capitol in Austin expressing hopes for a happy and perpetual union with the United States. After the speech, Jones and Sam Houston lowered the flag of the Republic for the last time and raised the Stars and Stripes. The most significant contribution of Jones’ administration was his insistence that the Republic set up a university system for higher education. After annexation, Jones was defeated in several bids for legislative office and retired to private life.
Kendall, Belle Sherman (1847-1919)
Instrumental in obtaining funds from Andrew Carnegie for Houston’s first public library in 1902; a branch library was named in her honor in 1969. Founding member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Woman’s Club of Houston. Daughter of Gen. Sidney Sherman who is credited with originating the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!” at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Kinkaid, Margaret Hunter (1874-1951)
Founder of The Kinkaid School in 1906, the oldest private school still operating in Houston. The Kinkaid School grew from the parlor of a one-story house to a 40-acre Memorial area campus. Mrs. Kinkaid is remembered by her alumni as a person of great spirit, determination and foresight who did not let discipline get in the way of her humanity.
Kipp, Herbert A. (1882-1968)
Engineer who platted the subdivisions of Broadacres and River Oaks. A specialist in drainage, Kipp designed a portion of the drainage system at Glenwood and the retaining walls around the Forest Mound Section and along the road leading to Section G.
Law, Caroline Wiess (1918-2003)
Renaming of the original building of the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston in 1998 recognized her decades of generous support, culminating with her final bequest of paintings and assets valued in excess of $400 million
Looscan, Adele Briscoe (1848-1935)
Author of histories of early Texas; instrumental in obtaining funds from Andrew Carnegie for Houston’s first public library, a branch library is named in her honor; charter member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas State Historical Association; granddaughter of John R. Harris, founder of Harrisburg for whom Harris County is named.
Lovett, Edgar Odell (1871-1957)
Founding President of Rice Institute (now Rice University)
Lubbock, Col. T.S. (1817-1862)
Organized the Civil War regiment known as Terry’s Texas Rangers with Col. B.F. Terry and was named commander after Col. Terry was killed in battle in 1861
McAshan, S.M. (1829-1904)
Cashier of T.W. House, Sr. bank for over thirty years. Active in Shearn Methodist Church. Known for his philanthropy, he constructed and donated the building for McAshan Methodist Church.
McCarthy, Glenn (1907-1988)
Legendary King of the Wildcatters; builder of Houston’s famed Shamrock Hotel in 1949; considered the model for the character of Jett Rink in Edna Ferber’s Giant.
Potter, Hugh Sr. (1888-1968)
In partnership with Will and Mike Hogg, developer of River Oaks, one of the most expensive and desirable suburban developments in the Southwest.
Terry, Col. B. F. (1821-1861)
Prosperous sugar planter in Fort Bend County; organized and commanded the Civil War regiment known as Terry’s Texas Rangers, killed in battle at Woodsonville, Kentucky
Tryon, Rev. William (1809-1847)
Came to Texas as a Baptist missionary in 1841 and, with Robert E.B. Baylor, drafted the charter for a Texas Baptist college; served as first President of the Baylor University Board of Trustees in 1845. Became second missionary Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Houston in 1845, and was soon named its first resident Pastor
Came to Houston in 1910 to oversee construction of Rice Institute for Boston firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson; remained in Houston to head the architecture department at Rice and establish a prolific practice, which included design of the original building of the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston and many educational institutions and churches; residential clientele included the Howard Hughes family, and Watkin designed the Hughes and Carter-Crain grave sites at Glenwood. Watkin was responsible for the oak allees in Broadacres, as well as other design features of that neighborhood.
Wier, Robert Withrow (1873-1945)
Lumberman, President of the R. W. Wier Lumber Company, director of various banks and utility companies, and a Trustee of the Hermann Hospital Estate; President of Texas Forestry Association.
Wiess, Harry (1887-1948)
Co-founder of Humble Oil (now part of Exxon Mobil)
Williams, Margaret Lea Houston (1848-1906)
Daughter of Gen. Sam Houston
Wortham, John L. (1862-1924)
Co-founder, with his son, Gus S. Wortham, of John L. Wortham and Son, one of the nation’s largest retail insurance brokerage and risk services firms
Young, Matilda Jane Fuller (1826-1882)
The “Mother of Hood’s Brigade,” she designed the Brigade’s flag and composed inspirational writings for the Confederate soldiers; Texas’ state botanist in 1872-1873.
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|Glenwood Cemetery, Inc. is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors: