[Posted by isuredid on HAIF]
Washington Cemetery is located adjacent to Glenwood Cemetery, between Washington Ave. and Memorial Dr. It originally encompassed 27 acres, but now conists of 21.3 acres. A large aparment complex was recently built along its western perimeter. The land was purchased in 1887, by the Deutsche Gesellschaft von Houston, a group of local German businessmen. The cemetery was known as the “German Cemetery” (per a 1913 map) or “German Society Cemetery”, as its purpose was to serve as a cemetery for Houston’s German population. It was renamed “Washingon Cemetery” in 1918, due to increasing anti-German sentiment at the time of World War I.
There are nearly 7000 graves in the cemetery, including those of more than 100 Confederate soldiers, and a few Union soldiers (e.g., Emma Seelye). Two graves marked with dates earlier than 1887 appear to be mistakes. The cemetery was financially abandoned in the mid-20th century, but the widow of the caretaker attempted to keep it up. After she died, the graveyard was severely neglected. In 1977, after the murder of a (possibly former) caretaker who lived on the property, a group of Houstonians collected money and were able to significantly aid the cemetery (they hauled away trash, cleared brush, repaved roads, ran waterlines to the property, stabilized headstones, added front gates and security lights, researched the lives of the people buried there and published a history of them, microfilmed burial records, and located and marked previously unmarked graves of about 600 people). The Concerned Citizens for Washington Cemetery Care have since continued to make considerable contributions to the upkeep of the cemetery.
The caretaker murdered in July 1977 was named Leona Tonn. She appears to have been born in Round Top, Texas, on October 15, 1905. She lived in a house located on cemetery property, and was found dead by her brother, Gus. Tonn had suffocated, and a pillowcase was found tied over her head. The murder is unsolved.
The cemetery supposedly appears in a scene in the movie “Student Bodies”.
Willie Lee Noland (former superintendant of Washington Cemetery) geneology page