The Humble City Council voted to assume legal ownership of the Humble Cemetery at its Feb. 13 meeting. The cemetery, located in the 400 block of S. Houston Avenue, has been languishing for years under the ownership of the Humble Cemetery Association.
The association has owned the property for 90 years and its last surviving member died in 2002. While the city has been furnishing minor maintenance for decades, Humble Mayor Merle Aaron and Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe are relieved the city has now taken formal ownership.
“The City of Humble has cared for the Humble Cemetery since 1967. However, it was owned by the cemetery association. Many in the city are unaware that we do not currently own the cemetery or land. That being said, the members of the association are no longer in existence, so we are voting tonight to take possession due to the time lapse and since we have been caring for the property for several decades,” stated Aaron.
The board voted unanimously to take over ownership and Aaron added, “This cemetery means a lot to our city and it is important to preserve our pioneering heritage. The earliest interment dates back to the late 1800s and the park includes several unmarked graves of prominent historical figures such as founding wife, Jane Elizabeth Humble, as well as several Civil War and World War I veterans.”
The board approved the Affidavit of Ownership and Possession of the 3.213 acres of land currently entitled Humble Cemetery.
The city replaced the chain-link fence with a sturdy wrought-iron one in 2006 and has done landscaping work for decades.
“In the mid ‘60s,” Aaron said, “the cemetery was overgrown and the property has been ‘saved’ several times over the last 100 years.”
The city and the cemetery group tried to transfer ownership in 1967 but that action fell apart.
Now that ownership has been set, Stuebe said they will begin to survey the property and make plans to straighten headstones and make other improvements.
“Jason has done an outstanding job to work out all the legalities and logistics to make the transfer,” Aaron said.
“We didn’t buy it,” Stuebe said, “but we have been maintaining it for years. We now legally own it.”
Both Aaron and Stuebe praised the ladies of the local DAR chapter who have spent much time and money over the years cleaning headstones, performing grounds care and other upkeep on the property.
“The James Tull Chapter, NSDAR, welcomes the opportunity to now partner with the City of Humble in the cleaning, restoration and repair of the Historic Humble Cemetery. Some of the James Tull Chapter members, together with other DAR members from across Texas, have completed a lengthy study learning how to properly restore and repair our historic Humble Cemetery through Texas Cemetery Restoration, LLC,” said DAR President Sharon Taylor.
“The chapter has had the owners of Texas Cemetery Restoration, LLC come to our cemetery and provide a detailed cost for the complete cleaning, restoration and repair of the cemetery. However, the chapter members, through their cemetery work days, have already completed the resetting of five of the headstones and repairing one headstone. All of the headstones have been thoroughly cleaned, thus reducing the overall cost of having a company come and do all of the work. The chapter continues to consult with Texas Cemetery Restoration as we continue our preservation work in the cemetery,” Taylor said.
“The chapter also continues its fundraising for this preservation work in the cemetery and is hopeful that the city will allow us to continue that work.”
A community member raised the issue of a second historic cemetery in Humble known as the Pipeline Cemetery. Arliss Bentley asked if the city were going to assume control of that, too.
The Pipeline Cemetery is privately owned by St. Mark’s Church and is assisted in its care by Grace Church. The City of Humble has offered over the years to provide fencing and other items, but the churches have preferred to handle their own property.
Additionally, Ordinance No. 20-862 was approved, granting the ability to turn the intersection of Burdom Road and South Bender Avenue into a three-way stop based on a recent traffic study and the need for better enforcement of speeders or traffic offenders.
As always, there are numerous events scheduled around town. Board Member Charles Cunningham Jr. presented several activities at both the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center and the Civic Center.
“At the Charles Bender PAC, violinist Rob Landes will perform Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. For tickets, refer to humblepac.com. The Humble Civic Center will host the Gun Show Feb. 22-23, the Houston Dalmatian Specialty Show Feb. 28-March 1, and the Garden Bros Circus March 6-8. Be sure to check out the Facebook site by searching Humble Civic Center. We would love to see everyone show their support for these local events,” he said.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for Humble City Council is Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at 114 West Higgins in the City Hall Council Chamber.