See HURRICANE IKE DAMAGE Sept. 2008
The Old Danville Cemetery, also known as Shepard Hill Cemetery, is located near the former townsite of Danville, Montgomery County, Texas, northwest of present-day Willis. At the gate of the cemetery is a historical marker honoring the town of Danville and one of its earliest residents, Alamo defender Jonathan Lindley.
Click JOURNEY TO DANVILLE, a link to an article which documents research into the history of Danville.
This website has been created as a gathering place for descendants and kin of those who are buried in this historic cemetery. The Danville Cemetery has been the private burial place of the Spiller family, who are my maternal ancestors and early settlers of Danville. Through the years many other families interred their loved ones within, or adjacent to, these hallowed burial grounds; most, if not all, of these families are interconnected by blood or marriage. It is not known exactly when the cemetery was started, but the earliest marked burial is 1850, a Spiller child. There was a church on the original 3-acre tract, deeded in 1846 to the Methodist Episcopal church trustees by Joseph Lindley who was the original Headright owner (Deed Records of Montgomery Co., TX, Vol. L, p. 234-235). The Trustees were William Cude, James M. Smith, Daniel Robinson and Thomas W. Hoy. The deed states Lindley's intent that the church building be used by other Christian denominations when not being used by the ME congregation. It is not known how long the church stood or if the cemetery was started before or after the church was built. No further information about the church has been found in the historic record aside from an entry in the 1846 Montgomery Co., TX tax rolls. Also in 1846, the 3-ac. church tract was surrounded on three sides by a 109-3/4 acre tract of land bought by William Waters Shepperd, Jr. In the deed records, this tract is usually referred to as "112-3/4 acres, less the 3-acre church tract." The history of the cemetery land was coaxed from the deed records by tracing the tracts of land AROUND it. Click on the foregoing link to see this study. An earlier survey was done in 1976 (Danville Cemetery survey, dated 1976, published in Vol. IV, pp. 1 -5, "Montgomery Co., TX Cemeteries").
The section adjacent to the west and divided by a chain-link fence (Shepard Hill, Section I, survey dated 1976, published in Vol. II, "Montgomery Co., TX Cemeteries") started later as the Catholic Polish immigrants, who settled here after the Civil War, began to bury their loved ones. There is also a section in the rear of the property, again separated by a chain link fence, that I have been told was, and continues to be, used primarily by the African-American families in the area. (I am unaware of a published survey for this section) The separate sections seem to have developed over time probably due to cultural and religious differences and, historically, have been cared for independently and privately by descendants. At some point, additional land on the west end of the Catholic tract was made available for more burials (Shepard Hill, Sec. II, survey dated 1976, published in Vol. VI, pp. 7-12, "Montgomery Co. TX Cemeteries"), making the entire cemetery (all four sections) approx. 6-7 acres. In 2009, the Catholic Church Diocese took over the care of the Catholic section. For more information on the Catholic section, contact St. Joseph's Catholic Church in New Waverly.
This website deals ONLY with the burials in the original, most easterly section and remains a private family cemetery for the families of those originally interred there.
I have posted a preliminary LIST OF BURIALS in the cemetery. Any information on unmarked graves, would be appreciated. This is a WORK IN PROGRESS, so please check back for additional biographies and pictures. REFRESH your browser if you are returning to the site since it is updated periodically.
Please note that the spelling of Shepard Hill appears several different ways in the area. The name of the road that the cemetery is on is spelled "Shepard" Hill and that is the spelling found on Montgomery County Appraisal District maps. The sign at the cemetery entrance, placed several years ago, spells it "Shepherd" Hill and it appears on the historical marker at the entrance as "Sheperd" Hill. It is listed as DANVILLE CEMETERY in the Montgomery County Genealogical & Historical Society's publication, "Montgomery County Cemeteries," Vol. IV. It is also found in various forms on death records and in historical accounts. However, research has shown that William W. Shepperd, who bought the land surrounding the cemetery on 3 sides, in 1846, most frequently signed documents with the spelling 'SHEPPERD' and it is probably due to this family that the area became known as "Shepperd Hill."
DIRECTIONS to cemetery: Take I-45 to the Shepard Hill exit. Go West on Shepard Hill Road about one mile. You will see the cemetery on the left side of the road. Take the first driveway (with grey brick entrance). The Texas Historical marker is on the left side of the entrance.
I would like to thank Karen Hett for all of her support and guidance with this website project. She has been a source of inspiration to me. It is my hope that I can emulate her dedication to the preservation of our ancestors' stories.
I also want to thank my mother for fostering a love a genealogy in me, for her tireless efforts in gathering information on our lines, and for her support with this cemetery project. This site is dedicated to the memory of all my Spiller, Irvine, Tabor, Garrett and Terrell ancestors and relatives buried in this cemetery and to all of the pioneers who founded and lived in the area known as Danville, Texas.
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