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Woodway citizens want to clean-up neglected cemetery where nearly 200 are buried

Liberty Hill Cemetery has been abandoned for decades and hasn't had a burial since the 1950s. Volunteers will clean it up on Oct. 21.

WOODWAY, Texas — There is an effort underway in Woodway to clean up a forgotten cemetery that's more than a century old. It's the Liberty Hill Cemetery off Bryce Drive. It can be reached by a 15 foot easement in between two residences.

The City of Woodway once decided not to take on this project because of how costly it could be, however some concerned citizens say the lives there are priceless and are worthy of respect.

"There's 189 souls that are back here being neglected, rather than perpetual care," said Richard Maker, who is spearheading the clean-up for the property.

He said when visiting the property he sees "a lack of respect for human beings."

The first documented burial dates back to 1910. Between then and the 50s, around 150 people were buried there, but there are dozens more who may be unaccounted for.

Records from The Texas Collection at Baylor University show there are three World War I veterans, Liberty Hill Baptist church goers and immigrant workers and their families who were laid to rest on the property.

Right now, their graves are unrecognizable, unkept, and abandoned. The only life in the acre-and-a-half burial site is overgrown thorns and brush, insects and a canopy of trees.

"This is just not right letting this get to this point," said David Russell, a council member for the city of Woodway who is joining in on the project. "I'm told that there has been some families come and try to find their loved ones and of course it's impossible for anybody to do it. It just breaks my heart."

"You need to take care of the people that are interred here and give them the due that they have earned," said David Keyston, another council member for Woodway who is also joining the effort. "The disrepair of some of these things, like I'm standing three feet from this beautiful marble marker which is falling over, but it could easily be repaired and there's a lot of stuff that can be done here to make it look respectable."

It's unknown how long it may take to tend to the cemetery. Maker is wanting to start the clean-up efforts on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. He's needing volunteers to bring tools like rakes, chainsaws, trash bags, and clippers or loppers. It's recommended volunteers park at Central Presbyterian Church or Woodway Elementary School.

"We can get at least four of the community churches in the area, get some adults in here to clean up the brush at least," Marker added. "Make pathways to the graves, clean them up -- to honor them."

Maker and the council members also stressed to 6 News that they want to respect the residents surrounding the burial site, as the cemetery is directly behind several backyards.


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