Williamson County
Texas History

 

  Machu Cemetery
Historical Marker
Granger, Texas
  This cemetery was one of three cemeteries moved from their original locations by the Army Corps of Engineers as they would have ended up under Granger Lake upon the completion of the Laneport Dam. The Corps purchased a 3 acre site adjoining the Granger Bretheran Cemetery and moved the interments and gravestones from those cemeteries to that site, located about one mile East of Granger on highway 971 and just South of the Granger Bretheran Cemetery. The other two cemeteries were Allison Old Friendship and Beard. Directions: from Highway 95 at Granger go East on FM 971 9/10 of a mile to CR 348. Turn right (South) on CR 348 and the Machu Cemetery is located 1/10 of mile on the left along with the Beard & Allison Old Friendship Cemeteries.   
   
click Panorama for an enlarged view

8-17-13

Historical Marker Dedication 8-17-13

  Machu Cemetery Marker Text
Pavel and Rozina (Trlica) Machu settled in Williamson county in 1878 and contributed to the agricultural development of the community. the cemetery began in 1883 when Machu helped a woman bury her husband who died during their journey. Machu offered to bury him on a two-acre section of the Machu farm located about five miles southeast of granger. the first recorded burial was that of Katarina Safarik in 1892. burials include descendants of Pavel and Rozina, veterans and other citizens of the community. the cemetery was relocated to this site in 1976 before construction of the Laneport dam. members of the Machu family continue to maintain this historic cemetery.

Historic Texas Cemetery - 2011
marker is property of the state of Texas
 


  View YouTube video of the dedication
(we're sorry the video does not show much detail on the
speakers because of the bright back lighting )
 



 
 

Maps

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GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 30.71720, Longitude: -97.42580


view interment list by findagarve.com

 
 


The Machu Cemetery
Historical Narrative

I. CONTEXT
The Machu Cemetery is located east of Granger, Williamson County, Texas, just south of CR 971, and on the east side of CR 348. The cemetery actually was established on approximately two acres of land, about five and one-half miles southeast of Granger, which was donated by Pavel Machu, in 1883, according to family records. The cemetery was moved to its present location in 1976 by the Army Corp of Engineers, to pave the way for building the Laneport Dam.

Pavel Machu and his wife, Rozina (Trlica) Machu were born in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, in what is now known as Movavia, Czech Republic. Pavel was born in Seninka, and Rozina was born in Usti. The villages, both south of the county seat of Vsetin, were only a few miles apart. Most of the families living in this area were farmers, and Pavel was no exception. After struggling to feed their family, Pavel and Rozina decided to move to Texas, to join Pavel's brother, Joseph and his family, who had already immigrated earlier, and to hopefully afford the family a better way of life. They settled in an area of Williamson County in 1878, located five and one-half miles southeast of what is now Granger, Texas. Because they were the first Czech settlers to arrive in this area of Texas, the settlement where they lived became known as "Machu". (Map: Williamson County Texas, 1848 — 1998) They were soon joined by other family members and friends and they all contributed to the agricultural community that developed around them.

II. OVERVIEW
The Machu Cemetery was originally located about five and one-half miles southeast of Granger, near the home of Pavel and Rozina (Trlica) Machu. Pavel and Rozina, along with their three children, Anna, Jan, and Pavel, immigrated to Texas in June 1870, arriving at Galveston on the bark "Galveston" which sailed from Bremen, Germany. Pavel and Rozina were born in the area that is now known as Moravia, Czech Republic. Living conditions and economic conditions were horrible in all of Europe during the 1800s, and the Protestant families were barred from practicing their religion. After months of deep consideration and many prayers, Pavel and Rozina sold their worldly goods, in order to pay for the journey, and then embarked on a trip, with three young children in tow, that changed their lives.

During their first eight years in Texas, the family farmed a small plot of land in Washington County, near the village of Kinney. Because of Pavel's ongoing health issues, they decided to journey farther inland, further from the humid area near the Gulf Coast.

In 1878, they eventually settled on a plot of land five and one-half miles southeast of Granger, Williamson County, Texas. This area was basically flat, prairie land, and very few people lived in that area. The Pavel Machu family was the first Czech family to settle on the land and therefore, this section of Williamson County was named "Machu", and it became home to all of the descendants of Pavel and Rozina Machu. Many other Czech families joined them in the years to come. It became a thriving little village. A good education for all the area children was a prime concern of Pavel's, and so he donated a portion of his farmland, on which a school was built. A large platform was built near the school and the Czech Moravian Protestants, as well as the Catholic families in the area, used it for church services. In addition, the local SPJST Lodge held its meetings on the platform, and it was often used for public meetings and dances. A cotton gin was built in the area and local farmers took their cotton there to be ginned. The area was a thriving little community until the railroad was built, running through the small town of Granger. After that, Granger began to grow, and "Machu" became less important.

A well-known legend explains the reason for the establishment of the first location of the Machu Cemetery: one day Pavel was riding back to his farm when he met a lady driving a horse-drawn wagon. Her deceased husband and several children were in the wagon. Pavel noticed that she was crying and visibly upset. He asked her if he could help her, and she told him that her husband had died and she had been unable to find a place to bury him. No one in the area would allow him to be buried on their land, and there were no established cemeteries nearby. Pavel invited her and the children to his home for a rest and some refreshments and then he told her about an area on the northeast triangular corner of his farm, where three roads intersected. He felt this area would be an ideal place for a cemetery. Pavel and the lady went to the spot and the lady chose a place for her husband to be buried. Pavel helped her bury him, and the Machu Cemetery was born. The year was 1883, according to recollections of Joseph M. Machu, Pavel's oldest son. The area designated for the cemetery was carved out of approximately two acres of the Machu farm. Unfortunately, there are no records of the name of the man who was buried there. This was possibly due to the fact that Pavel and Rozina could neither read nor write, and the lady may have been too distraught to ever document the burial. No tombstone was ever erected, and we have no idea what happened to the lady and her children. The earliest recorded grave in the Machu Cemetery was that of Katarina Safarik in 1892. (Records of Machu Cemetery maintained by Family and U. S. Army Corp of Engineers listing from www.three-legged-willie website)

Pavel Machu was the owner of the land where the cemetery was established and he oversaw the maintenance and burials in the early years. It was Pavel's wish that no one who wanted to be buried in the Machu Cemetery would be turned away. All who wished to be buried there were welcome. On January 13, 1891, Pavel sold the cemetery, for thirty-seven dollars, to a committee consisting of John Wentrcek, Joseph Hollas, and John R. Wojtik. (Williamson County Deed attached)

The committee was dissolved sometime later, and Joseph M. Machu, a grandson of Pavel and Rozina Machu, who lived less than a quarter of a mile from the cemetery, became the primary person to oversee the cemetery. He was assisted by his brothers, Raymond, Anton and John, along with their sons, and this group of Machus maintained the cemetery for many, many years. Circa 1960, Joseph's son, Albin, took over the care of the cemetery. He continued this job until his death on March 24, 1997. After Albin's death, his children, led by Albin Machu Jr., along with other descendents of Pavel Machu, began caring for the cemetery and continue that effort to this date.

Construction of the Laneport Dam was begun in 1973. The original Machu Cemetery would have been subject to flooding after the dam was built, so the land was condemned by the United States government on 10 July 1975 and the land had to be surrendered on or before 1 November 1975. Landowners received condemnation fees, subject to various requirements. (Letter from Department of Army, dated 16 January 1978, copy attached)

The United States Army Corps of Engineers donated a three acre tract of land to the Machu Cemetery Association on which to relocate the graves from the original cemetery. The new location is east of the Granger City Cemetery and south of the Catholic, Brethren, Lutheran, and Beard Cemeteries. The cemeteries are all located south of CR 971, east of Granger, Texas, and along CR 348, which runs north and south. The Machu Cemetery is on the southwest corner of the tract of land, and is bordered on the north by the Beard Cemetery, and on the east by the Allison and Friendship Cemeteries, which were also moved by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers because of the construction of the dam. The tract is enclosed with a chain-link fence and has a driveway going east to west between the Beard and the Machu Cemeteries and has a turn-around on the east end of the driveway. An iron sign, over the gate, reads "BEARD MACHU ALLISON FRIENDSHIP CEMETERIES".

Moving the graves from the original cemetery to the new location began on 14 May 1976 and was completed on 19 May 1976. Rededication ceremonies were held on 29 May 1977, with approximately 75-80 people present. (Letter from Department of the Army, dated 16 January 1978)

The Machu Cemetery contains nine hundred burial plots. More than two hundred identified graves, with tombstones, and sixty graves of unknown persons occupy the land at this date. Small markers, with the word "Unknown" were placed on the sites of the unknown graves by the Corps of Engineers. (Listing of Burials, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The Machu Cemetery consists of two parts: the section that is in the southwest section of the cemetery is designated primarily for descendents of Pavel and Rozina Machu, and for those who were interred in the original cemetery. The balance of the cemetery is designated for burials after 1976, of for use by people who are not necessarily members of the immediate family.

The Machu family continues to make improvements at the cemetery to add to the comfort of those who come to visit loved ones' graves. A pavilion, with a rock garden and flower beds, and a large picnic table, have been built on the tract for use by those attending a burial service, to get out of harsh weather, and forty Live Oak trees have been planted throughout the cemetery. Fifty oleanders have also been planted. An annual business meeting, at the pavilion, is held every fall to discuss the issues of the cemetery and to elect new officers for the coming year. Current officers are President, Albin F. Machu; Vice-President, Johnny Machu; Treasurer, Melody Huber; Secretary, Mary Ann Ripple, and Reporter, Debbie Haag.

At the present time, a Machu Cemetery Committee handles the responsibilities of the cemetery. A work day is held on the first Saturday of each month, and all of the Machu descendants are urged to come to help with the maintenance. Those who come to work bring a picnic lunch, which is shared at the pavilion. During this time of visiting and companionship, ideas for further improvements of the cemetery and plans for, the next work days are discussed. Those who cannot come on Saturdays, often go on weekdays to do their share of the work. Because there is no regular maintenance of the Beard, Allison and Friendship Cemeteries, the Machu family has undertaken the upkeep of those cemeteries, when necessary.

III. SIGNIFICANCE
There are no records of prominent persons being buried at the Machu Cemetery. The majority of persons buried there were farmers and their families, who were family members, or close friends of the Machu family. The majority of those people were of the Protestant faith, however there are a number of Catholic people buried there as well, and there is even a verbal record that mentions that a man who was an non-believer was buried there many years ago, because no other cemetery would accept a non-believer. Several United States Veterans are buried in the cemetery, along with school teachers, business men, and other solid, law-abiding citizens.

Pavel Machu was a prominent person in the early development of the area now known as Granger, Texas, and he accomplished a great deal during his lifetime. It is important to note that he and his wife and family were the first Czechs to come to this area of Williamson County, and he established the original Machu cemetery to help a lady in distress. Much genealogy information is contained in the headstones in the cemetery and in the listings, which the family has maintained since 1892.
 


 

  RELOCATED CEMETERY STIRS GRANGER MAN'S MEMORIES
 

By RICK BABSON GRANGER —

 

                

 

Sixty-two year-old Albin Machu stood on the ground that will someday be his grave. His original choice will soon be under the waters of the Granger Reservoir.

The original site for Machu's grave was indirectly picked some 93 years ago by his great-grandfather Pavel Machu, a Czechoslovakian immigrant Who settled in the Texas blacklands southeast of Granger.

Pavel was born in 1834 and came to the United States as a young man. Machu said he didn't know for sure when his great-grandfather made the trip.

Mach said Pavel purchased some 60 acres for 50 cents an acre and started farming the land. All but five acres of the original farm will be under water by 1978 when the Granger Dam is completed.

"It was hard work farming then," Machu said. "All the Land was wooded and it took a great deal of time and work to clear it."

Stranger First Occupant
The cemetery, first founded in 1883, took as its first occupant a total stranger. Machu said neither he nor any other living family member knows who the first inhabitant was.


"Pavel was riding back to the home when he came upon a lady in a wagon with several small children. Her dead husband was also in the wagon and had obviously not been embalmed," he said.

The lady told Pavel that she had been to several cemeteries during the day and each refused to bury her dead husband. Pavel did not refuse her.

"'He will be buried today' he told the woman," Machu said. Machu said Pavel planted a cedar tree in the cemetery shortly after the man was buried. The tree stood there until recently when Machu transplanted it on a portion of the five acres of Machu land that will not be covered by the rising San Gabriel River.

Just as it did with all the other farmers, the Corps of Engineers bought most of the land of Machu's father, Joe Machu, 87. The elder Machu had divided the land among his children, giving each a portion.

Land Quite Valuable
Machu said the land could be quite valuable as it will form part of the lake's shoreline.


As president of the Machu Cemetery Association the duty of seeing the safe transferal of all his deceased relatives fell on Albin.

The process took time.
First, the City of Granger offered a three-acre tract on the southwest end of the city's cemetery located east of Granger. Machu balked at the offer and said the "land is too low there and might be covered with water also."

Finally a representative of the Corps of Engineers met with Machu to settle the problem.


"A man came and we went for a ride in his truck. He asked me three questions. He asked me if it would be acceptable to have a part of the city's cemetery and I said it was not. He also asked if I would go in with another family cemetery and I said I would not. Then he asked if I just wanted to keep it a family cemetery and I said Yes."

Paid For Moving
The Corps gave the cemetery association a three-acre tract to relocate the cemetery and paid for the removal and reburial of the inhabitants of the old graveyard and replacement of the headstones and monuments.

The stones were moved about two months ago and the graves were moved shortly after. Richardson Corp., of Oweningsville, Ky., one of three cemetery moving companies in the United States, performed the delicate task of moving the caskets and vaults.

All of the bodies have been reburied and Machu said the company is waiting for the earth to settle before placing the monuments.

Machu witnessed most of the unearthing process and said the operation went smoothly.

'Really Peaceful Place'
"It didn't offend me a bit," he said. "I've been around the cemetery for years. It's the best place to go. No one is going to bother you there and it's really a peaceful place."

The new cemetery site will continue to be called Machu Cemetery. The Corps of Engineers designed a cemetery, which when completed, will have a cement fountain, crushed rock roadway, a chain link fence and an arched gate bearing the family name.

Machu said he thinks the family will continue the family cemetery long after he is gone.


"Yes, some of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren watched as the cemetery was moved. It didn't upset any of them. They are all very interested in maintaining it as a family place."

 


 

 

  We want to extend a special thanks to Terry W Loessin the for this slice of history  - view PDF     

 


 

 
A special thanks to the Williamson County Sun and Jane Estes
for this slice of history article
- view PDF   
 




view page on Moravia School
 



 
 

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