Cemetery notes and/or description: Highway 1997 & Van Zandt
Powder Mill Cemetery is a large cemetery, approximately 10 acres.
Transcription of the official Texas Historical Commission marker:
Old Power Mill Cemetery
Located on part of a site once occupied by a Confederate gun powder factory, this cemetery originated with the burial of slaves on the powder mill acreage. After the factory was destroyed in 1865 with the collapse of the Confederacy, the acreage fell into private ownership.
One of the landowners, mortician M.M. Rains, began recording the burials here in 1880; however, the earliest known marked grave, that of Millie Abner, is dated 1878. Her husband, David Abner, a former Harrison County treasurer and member of the 14th Texas Legislature, is also buried here.
Old Powder Mill Cemetery is important to the history of Harrison County as the burial ground of many of the leaders of Marshall's black community who played important roles in local religious, social, business, and political affairs. Among those interred here are educators H.B. Pemberton, J.R.E. Lee, and Frederick William Gross; war veterans; businessmen and women; and professionals. Also located in Old Powder Mill Cemetery are the graves of many former members and founders of the Colored (now Bethesda) Baptist Church, including William Massey, a Confederate soldier who served as first pastor.