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Pyramid Tombs, Morton Cemetery

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1825 established. 401 N. 3rd St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead)

Morton Cemetery is located north of Richmond's original townsite on a portion of the grant that William Morton, one of the Fort Bend settlers, received from Stephen F. Austin in 1825. The earliest burial is dated to 1825. In 1854 French-born architect-builder Michael de Chaumes, who worked in Houston and Austin, bought the cemetery. It was known as De Chaumes's Cemetery until, under different ownership, it reverted to the Morton name in the 1890s. Morton Cemetery is an archetypal southern lowlands landscape, replete with Spanish moss–draped trees. In addition to the imposing monuments of Richmond and Fort Bend County's elite, as well as the grave of Walter Moses Burton, a former slave who was elected county sheriff and then state senator between 1869 and 1880, it contains several stucco-finished brick pyramids set on low box vaults. The cemetery's oldest burial, the Gelaspie Tomb of 1825, was one such monument, although it was ruined by inappropriate reconstruction in 1936. These vernacular versions of neoclassical funerary monuments enhance Morton Cemetery's aura of antiquity.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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