This cemetery was in use well before the City of Columbus acquired it in 1870. In fact, buried within these 10 acres are many of the “Old 300” - the first American settlers to receive land grants in empresario Stephen F. Austin’s first colony, from 1823 to 1827. Also interred here are William B. DeWees, founder of Columbus; local ferry owner Benjamin Beason; and Dilue Rose Harris, survivor and memoirist of the tragic Runaway Scrape.
The cemetery is the final resting place some of the earliest German settlers in Texas - Dorothea Jordt, sons Charles and Karl, and possibly patriarch Detlef himself – though he doesn’t have a headstone. Detlef Jordt is particularly notable as the author of Journey to Texas, published in 1833. Jordt had created a virtual handbook for how to move to Texas, complete with advice and explanation of the laws. Many a weary German read his words, wide-eyed, suddenly dreaming of a future across the ocean. Thousands would make the journey in the 1830s and 40s.
A highly popular annual event is hosted here by the Nesbitt Memorial Library: “Live Oaks and Dead Folks”. On this eerie and irreverent guided tour, actors in period costume tell the life stories of the city’s deceased residents – young and old, famous… and infamous!
Watch our The First German Texans 1831-1861 video to learn more about German Texan cultural heritage in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in our German Texans mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. Download the app for more videos and travel information: