Located right next door to the historic
Round Rock Cemetery, the smaller Hopewell Cemetery has some interesting stories to tell of its own. Official City of Round Rock web pages seem to at least partially confuse the old slave section of Round Rock Cemetery (northwest quadrant of that area) with the Hopewell Cemetery next door (east of Round Rock Cemetery). Further adding to some of the confusion is the fact that there is another
Hopewell Cemetery in Williamson County west of Liberty Hill.
What we can be fairly certain of is that Hopewell Cemetery is a predominately African-American cemetery, though there are some recent graves of Hispanic individuals. Although there are some impressive, commerically cut headstones to be found here, of more interest are the headstones that
appear to have been cut by non-professionals. It's not that much of the work is consistantly bad - far from it. Rather some of the stones are striking for their individuality. Even in the 1800's many headstones appear to have been carved by machine with monotonous lettering. Some of the carvings on stones found here are as personal and distinguishable as signatures.
Non-carved headstones such as this one are plentiful, and not likely to stand the test of time.
We found not only personally carved headstones, but also headstones that were not carved at all. Several graves were marked by headstones that had the individuals personal information painted or drawn onto the stone surface. A few remain legible, though many are beginning to fade with age. Even more prone to wear and fading are the wooden cross markers bearing illegible letters.
The grave of Austin Police Officer Thomas Allen, one of the earliest African-Americans in the department.
One of the more interesting historical graves is that of Thomas Allen. Thomas was employed by the Austin Police Department and was killed in the line of duty in 1915. The marker here is obviously a more modern day replacement and was paid for by the Texas Peace Officers Association.
There is no sign of the original headstone.
According to the new headstone, Thomas was the "second officer killed in line of duty". However, according to the official Austin Police Department web pages Thomas was the third police officer killed. A simple oversight? We're not certain. One possible explanation is that the Texas Peace Officers Association used to be referred to as the Texas Negro Peace
Officers Association when it was formed in 1935 to further the advancement of African-Americans in police departments within the state. As it so happens, the second Austin police officer killed in the line of duty, John Gaines, was also African-American. So it's possible that the
headstone refers to the second TPOA member to die in the line of duty.