Colorado County Historical Markers

Columbus Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery

Marker location: 1500 Montezuma St., Columbus

Marker erected: 2000


John Toliver deeded a tract of land to Columbus Lodge No. 51, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in July 1871 for use as a cemetery. Among the first to be interred here were victims of the 1873 yellow fever epidemic, including George W. Smith, district judge and Texas Supreme Court justice. Within a few years, a bluff on the south side began to erode, exposing some graves. In 1888 a committee was appointed to take preventative measures. The grave of Henry Middleton (d. 1888) was washed out before their efforts were successful. The Odd Fellows sold the cemetery to the newly formed Columbus Cemetery Association in 1890. The association added land in 1901. Many stones, such as those of the Dick family, were relocated from the Old City Cemetery to higher ground in the Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery after a devastating flood in 1913. Among the many burials of note in the Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery was that of J. W. E. Wallace, a Columbus founder, whose grave was moved to the State Cemetery in Austin. Robert and John Stafford, prominent Columbus businessmen, died as a result of a feud which also involved deputy sheriff Larkin S. Hope and his uncle, Sheriff J. "Light" Townsend. Hope is interred here. Wells Thompson was a Texas state senator and lieutenant governor. Others include local poets and historians, as well as veterans of the Civil War, the U. S. War with Mexico, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and other international wars and conflicts. More land was added to the cemetery in 1977. It continues to serve the city of Columbus at the dawn of the 21st century. The Columbus Odd Fellows Rest Cemetery is a chronicle of the history and pride of Colorado County. (2000)

Incising on base: Researched by Mary Lynn Skinner

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