From Rockdale US 79: north on FM 487 7.5 miles
to cemetery on left
Originally named Pleasant Grove Cemetery, this
burial ground was at first associated with the
Pleasant Grove community. The settlement's school
was also once located on this site. By 1872,
residents organized the Pleasant Grove Church, which
met in the schoolhouse. Members later merged with a
nearby congregation to form Mt. Zion Baptist Church,
worshipping several miles east of here.
The current name for this cemetery can be traced
to Madison Murray (1821-1987). A Civil War veteran
who in the late 1860s moved here from Mississippi
with two brothers. He became a community leader and
educator, obtaining possession of the Pleasant Grove
schoolhouse and operating it as a private
institution. After Mt. Zion Baptist Church formed,
this burial ground became known as Murray
The earliest marked grave here,
that of Nancy Phillips, dates to 1856.
Other notable burials include Joseph
Cook, a Rockdale blacksmith, and George
Banzhaf, a celebrated Milam County
Agricultural Extension Agent. Also
interred here are early area pioneers
and veterans of conflicts dating to the
Civil War. The cemetery features
Woodmen of the World markers, vertical
stones, curbing and interior fencing.
Although the Pleasant Grove community
declined, the cemetery later also served
the Bushdale and Bethlehem settlements.
In 2004 the Murray Cemetery Association
organized to care for the burial ground,
which remains a memorial to the early
settlers of Southwest Milam County.
Historic Texas Cemetery - 2007
Murray Cemetery Association
PO Box 3
Rockdale TX 76567.
At left are brothers George Banzhaf and
Glen Banzhaf, the grandsons of Milam
County’s first Agricultural Extension
Agent, George Banzhaf, who is buried at
Photos courtesy James David Walker