Decker Cemetery

8304 Decker Lane

The Decker Lane area of east Austin was once a center of Swedish immigrants who farmed the rolling hills and congregated together for comfort in a land so far from their original homes. Like many immigrants these newly arrived Americans clung to their native tongue for generations. Evidence of this can be seen at Decker Cemtery in the many headstones that have been carved completely with Swedish phrases, not to mention the Swedish surnames.

Eventually the residents of the Decker Lane area dispersed and fully assimilated into the larger population. Cemeteries like this one and the nearby Decker Free Church Cemetery provide continuing evidence of the rich cultural heritage present in central Texas' past and present.

The spire of the Methodist Church towers over the plot, despite this photo's perspective. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Marked off
Much of Decker Cemetery is divided into well marked family plots, complete with raised perimeters of stone or concrete and even bars. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The Gustafson family plot is the largest contiguous plot in the cemetery. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
The Gustafson family headstone also includes this interesting photo of some of the family members buried here. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
This Lundell family headstone, like many others, advertises the resident's Swedish heritage. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Young girl
This young girl's headstone features a non-Americanized spelling of her last name. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Raised lettering
This Johnson family headstone demonstrates an interesting feature one does not see much these days, raised lettering, as opposed to the ubiquitous carved lettering. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Mother and child
A mother and child buried next to each other is always a sad sight to see, particularly when the child died young. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Note that Carolina passed away in 1932, yet her carved date of death does not appear to be finished. There are more examples of this for individuals who passed away during the depression. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
"Etched in stone" does not mean forever, as this slowly eroding headstone indicates. In time all records will be washed away. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
These graves near the rear of the cemetery include unusually wide footstones with the family name engraved. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Log Entries

No logs have been entered for this location.

Recommended Item
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Bryan Woolley, Larry Bleiberg, Leon Unruh, Jean Simmons, Kathryn Straach, Tom Simmons, Bob Bersano
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The compilation reaffirms our fascination with cemeteries and their status as tourist attractions. People visit cemeteries in large numbers. Evidence of crowd control abounds from signs directing traffic to the grave marker of President Clinton’s mother in Hope, Arkansas, and the large steel cage protecting the tombstone of Billy the Kid at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, to the monument in New Orleans made famous by the movie Easy Rider and Bonnie Parker’s coveted headstone in Dallas, relocated to prevent theft.

The stories also demonstrate that the reasons people flock to cemeteries are as varied as the people interred there. Cemeteries hold some of the most interesting sculpture and folk art in our region. Unusual graves include the Sturrock Cemetery in Tyler County, Texas, started when the family arrived from Scotland in the 1830s. The dozen sandstone crypts are said to resemble the style of the family’s houses in Scotland. The graves at the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation in Polk County, Texas, are adorned with decorations such as sea shells, stones, skillets, and teddy bears.

New Orleans cemeteries are a tourist industry by themselves, featured in movies and Anne Rice novels. The oldest standing cemetery is St. Louis No. 1, on the edge of the French Quarter. The most famous grave here belongs to Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen. Louisiana’s French and Cajun cultures come alive in its cemeteries and many plantations, such as Afton Villa and Rosedown, contain cemeteries.

Cemeteries hold fascination for history buffs and family genealogists, and this book is a valuable guide for both. It provides information about the more well-known gravesites, such as Sam Houston’s at Huntsville’s Oakwood Cemetery, but also the less well-known locations. Two graves in unassuming cemeteries are the final resting places of two of the greatest blues artists of all time: “Blind” Lemon Jefferson in Wortham, Texas, and Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter in Mooringsport, Louisiana. Do you know where Hoss Cartwright is buried? The authors of this handy guidebook do.

This book will also illuminate the history behind the sites and the people who lie buried there, as well as provide information on nearby places to stay. It’s the ideal book for the amateur genealogist and weekend historian.