Heritage, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring 1996 Page: 9
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Photograph of Ernest Robert Barnes standing at the
fountain, which is adorned with plants, flowers,
and gold fish in the pond at the State Cemetery.
Troutman, the "Betsy Ross" of Texas, was
reinterred in the state cemetery, and sculptor
Pompeo Coppini was commissioned to
construct a bronze statue for her grave.
Coppini also designed the full-size bronze
figure of a seated Stephen F. Austin that
adorns the gravestone of the "Father of
Texas". Additional improvements included
curbing, drives, and the planting of trees
Little is known about the numerous
keepers of the State Cemetery. We do
know that Ernest Robert Barnes was the
grounds keeper from March 2,1912, to May
5,1950, and lived on the site. This information
came from his daughter, Violet, who is
still living, and who has provided researchers
with an important verbal and visual
window into that period through her extensive
collection of historical photographs.
Barnes strove to enhance the cemetery
with beautiful flowers, such as pansies, chrysanthemums,
and fields of bluebonnets.
According to his daughter, he ordered seeds
from catalogues and purchased plants from
local nurseries. Flowers were placed in beds
about the gravestones as well as in shaped
beds, one configured as a star. The two
Barnes' daughters helped in the maintenance
of the grounds by hand cutting the
grass around gravestones with shears and
picking up leaves and branches. This was
long before the era of power grass trimmers
and leaf blowers. The north and south
sections of the cemetery were divided in
the center by a wooden fence. To keep the
grass trimmed on the northern section,
where no graves were located, the state
allowed Barnes and a neighbor, a Mr. Fisky,
to keep milk cows on the property.
During the time when Barnes was the
grounds keeper, Louis Kemp, businessman
and amateur historian, was a patron of the
Texas State Cemetery until his death in
1956. He worked with the Board of Control
(the state agency in charge of the State
Cemetery) and the State Highway Depart
Flowers grace the gravestones at the State Cemetery in this historic photograph. Texas Historical Commission.
HERITAGE * SPRING 1996 9
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring 1996, periodical, Spring 1996; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45406/m1/9/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.