The Glen Rest Cemetery is located in Kerrville, Texas, 1.5 miles southeast of the Kerr County Courthouse. It is situated on the east side of Texas Highway 27 and encircled on the other three sides by Schreiner University. A low rock wall of native stone defines the cemetery boundaries. According to oral history this wall was probably built in the 1920s using materials from the demolition of the 1886 Kerr County Courthouse. The main entrance features a native stone surround and iron gate.
Kerrville began as a shingle maker’s camp on the Guadalupe River in the 1840s. One of the earliest settlers was Joshua Brown, a member of Green DeWitt’s Colony. On January 26, 1856, Kerr County was formed from the Bexar Land District Number 2. The act of incorporation that names the county Kerr also designated the name of the county seat as Kerrsville. Later the “s” was dropped and the town became Kerrville. Kerr County and Kerrsville, at the request of Joshua Brown, was named for Major James Kerr, the first Anglo settler on the Guadalupe. Major Kerr was a friend of Joshua Brown and fellow veteran of the Texas Revolution. Major Kerr, born September 24, 1790 in Kentucky, moved to Texas in 1825. An Anglo-Mexican Federalist, he played a key role in the break with Mexico and the struggle for the establishment of an independent Republic of Texas. He died on December 23, 1851, never seeing the place named for him. (1)
The first permanent homes began appearing in the 1850s. The first city cemetery, established in 1863, was Mountain View Cemetery, located north of downtown Kerrville. That cemetery is still active today.
As reported in the April 5, 1987 edition of the KerrvilleDaily Times (4) three cemeteries were started in the beginning history of Kerrville. They were
1. Mountain View Cemetery in 1863
2. Glen Rest Cemetery in 1882
3. Tivy Mountain Cemetery sometime after 1890
Mountain View Cemetery was originally called Kerrville Cemetery and was the first city cemetery. Today, more than 900 marked graves are here with the oldest tombstone being John Corn, who died in June 1864. Mountain View is an active cemetery today.
Interestingly, the deeds for Glen Rest Cemetery and Mountain View Cemetery have the same date, April 3, 1895. Both properties were acquired from S. H. Remschel and were community cemeteries. There is no known history on why the two cemeteries were deeded at the same time. Mike Bowlin, a Kerrville historian said, „If I remember correctly, the 1895 date is when the Mountain View property was deeded over to the Hispanic community as a burial ground.“ Both Glen Rest and Mountain View have burials with death dates that preceed April 3, 1895. (2) (3) & (4)
The third cemetery was Tivy Mountain Cemetery which was established sometime after 1890 as a primarily black cemetery. The land originally was part of the Wallace Ranch, an original land grant for The State of Texas for Texas Revolutionary Service. Around 1893 the cemetery site was sold to the City of Kerrville. There are 209 known graves. Tivy Mountain is not an active cemetery today.(3) (4) & (5)
Some 30 years later, a group of Kerrville citizens decided to establish a new cemetery near the Guadalupe River. The Glen Rest Cemetery in Kerrville, Texas was established on October 15, 1894 as a community cemetery. The deed for the ten-acre property, as mentioned above, was dated April 3, 1895 and was purchased from S. H. Remschel for $317.50. (6) The Kerrville Cemetery Association was governed by five directors elected by the owners of burial sites in the cemetery. The original directors were A. C. Schreiner, H. Remschel, W. G. Garrett, B. H. Ross and Ed Smallwood. The Glen Rest Cemetery was created as a public not-for-profit cemetery. In 1972 the name of the governing body was changed to Kerrville Perpetual Care Cemetery Association. (7)
Although the cemetery was not officially established until October 1894, there are fifteen burials with dates of death preceding that date, including Arthur W. Galbraith (1880-1883) son of the pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Whitfield Scott (1842-1887) a Confederate Civil War veteran, and Sibbila Katharine Schwethelm (1820-1889) a native of Prussia. Because early records are lost, it is not known if Glen Rest was established around an existing cemetery or the above-mentioned burials were moved from another location.
Some families have as many as five generations buried in the cemetery. Prominent names with more than ten members of their family buried at Glen Rest includePeterson, Dietert, Heimann, Rees, Moore, Schreiner, Butt, Garrett, and Leinweber.Some of these families have had significant regional and statewide, even international, influence. Individuals buried here include Florence Thornton Butt, founder of the Texas based H-E-B grocery company; philanthropists Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Butt and her son Howard E. Butt Jr; Hal and Charlie Peterson, businessmen and philanthropists, who founded the local hospital; Capt. Charles Schreiner, who founded several Kerrville businesses and ranches, underwrote Schreiner University at its creation and provided the land on which the Kerrville VA Hospital sits; Ed Smallwood, fourth mayor of Kerrville; Harry Dietert, founder of the Dietert Senior Center; and Henry Remschel, businessman and mayor (1909-1915). Histories of several of these families can be found in Addendum #1.
Today there are approximately 2,870 men, women, and children buried in Glen Rest. It remains an active cemetery, with approximately fifteen new burials occurring each year.
The association has an active nine-member board that oversees the maintenance, management and record keeping of the cemetery. A new web page (glenrestcemetery.com) lists all burials in both last name and location sequences. Proceeds from an endowment and annual fund raising insures that the cemetery is maintained to the satisfaction of members.
Glen Rest Cemetery is significant because it is the primary burial site for many of the pioneer and historic families in Kerrville and the surrounding Hill Country. There are twenty-five (25) Civil War veterans (both Confederate and Union) and four Texas Rangers buried in Glen Rest. The United Daughters of the Confederacy recognize seven Confederate veterans, four of whom were from Texas. The others were from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. Earl Garrett, killed in the Argonne Forest during WWI, has a marker in the cemetery, although he is buried in France. There is a street named for him in Kerrville. Veterans of the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afganistan populate the cemetery. At least one, Henry Akowicz, Pvt. US Marine Corps, earned a purple heart in WWII.
Some interesting facts about the cemetery: Frances Ann Naismith Boatright, granddaughter of the inventor of basketball is buried here; Doris Markloff (1807 – 1899) has the earliest birth year and was very likely the oldest person in Kerrville at that time; and the Boys of Woodcraft Cypress Camp No. 58 installed a marker in 1908.
The layout is traditional with inner sections defined by mostly straight lines demarcating the different sections of the cemetery. Native trees of several varieties (live oak, red oak, and cedar elm) provide shade to visitors. Headstone styles vary from very elaborate vertical stones to very simple ones. Materials vary from marble to granite and limestone. Plots are individually curbed. Detailing shows fraternal associations including Woodmen of the World, the Masons and Order of Eastern Star. It is known there also some burials without headstones. There are ongoing research projects to identify those burials which are detailed in Addendum #2.
Local lore says that when the cemetery was established, the original committee went door to door through the town selling plots with no choice given as to location. If you wanted a plot, you simply got the next one, meaning neighbors in life remained neighbors in death. Whereas in many old cemeteries, the oldest graves are clustered together, that is not the case at Glen Rest and the method of sales is likely the reason.
A Texas Historical Marker for Glen Rest Cemetery would recognize this park-like cemetery, still in use today, as a significant site in the history of Kerrville and the Hill Country.
HISTORY OF SEVERAL IMPORTANT FAMILIES BURIED IN GLEN REST CEMETERY
H-E-B, a Texas-based supermarket chain, began in 1905 when Florence Thornton Butt moved her family to Kerrville, Texas for her husband’s health. With a sixty-dollar loan, she established Mrs. C. C. Butt’s Staple and Fancy Grocery, a one-room grocery store on the ground floor of the family home. In 1919 she turned management of the business over to her youngest son, Howard Edward Butt. In 1922 he replaced the credit-and-delivery system with a policy of self-service cash-and-carry, renamed the business the C. C. Butt Cash Grocery, and diversified his store by adding a meat market. He began an expansion andin the mid-1930s, Butt changed the name of his enterprise to H.E. Butt Grocery Company. In 1942 he opened the first store under the name H-E-B in San Antonio.
In 1971 Charles Butt took over his father’s position as president and chief executive officer of the company. Under his administration, the firm restructured its management and introduce generic goods. The Company headquarters moved to the renovated army arsenal on the San Antonio River in downtown San Antonio and the primary distribution center also moved to San Antonio. In 1997 H-E-B expanded its business across the border into Mexico.
From a very humble beginning in Kerrville over 100 years ago the H.E. Butt Grocery now has 340 stores with sales of approximately $23 billion and over 100,000 employees.
Howard E. Butt Jr., Charles Butt’s older brother, left the grocery business to enter lay ministry as chairman of the H.E. Butt Foundation, headquartered in Kerrville, which was first operated by his mother, Mary Holdsworth Butt. The foundation, a separate entity from the grocery chain, operates programs ranging from free camps for disadvantaged children on a 1,900 acre ranch in the stunning Frio River Canyon, to faith-based retreats for groups of people at Laity Lodge near Leakey, Texas. Their philanthropy extends to hospitals, libraries, and other philanthropic projects throughout Texas. The Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library in Kerrville is one example. (8) & (9)
Today (including Florence Thornton Butt, Howard E Butt Sr., Mary Holdsworth Butt and Howard E. Butt Jr.) there are 26 members of the Butt and Holdsworth families buried in Glen Rest Cemetery.
At an early age, the Peterson brothers began a partnership which grew rapidly into a large enterprise. Peterson’s Garage and Auto Company was the first of many companies in which the brothers owned controlling interest. Others included the Kerrville Bus Company, West Texas Auto Company, Beverly Studios and Cattle Investments Corporation. Peterson ranches included the Taylor Ranch, Diamond Bar, Peterson Stock Farm and Camp Eagle. The book Hal and Charliedescribed the brothers as follows:
“Hal (Boss) Peterson (1899 –1962) guarded his privacy like a Hill Country coyote, but his visionary business ventures made him a South Texas legend. His gentle brother, Charlie Peterson (1901 – 1953), much preferred the outdoor life to a business meeting, but he somehow became the essential ballast of reason and restraint.”
“As different as rock and water, these two brothers formed an unwritten and perhaps unspoken partnership which grew to empire status in the first half of the twentieth century. And this empire evolved into perhaps the two greatest gifts bestowed upon the Texas Hill Country: The Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation and the Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital in Kerrville, Texas.”
Hal “Boss” Peterson made the initial contribution establishing the Foundation in 1944. In 1947 the Foundation Trustees decided “. . . to establish a non-profit hospital in the City of Kerrville for the benefit of the people of the Hill Country in general . . . “. Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital was dedicated to the memory of their father and began receiving patients in July 1949.
The Foundation owned and operated the hospital until 1990, when it was established as a separate non-profit organization. The Foundation continues to support health care, education, and other charitable organizations throughout its seven county (Kerr, Bandera, Edwards, Gillespie, Kendall, Kimble and Real) home area. (10)
Hal “Boss” Peterson and Charlie Peterson and thirty-two (32) other members of the family are buried in Glen Rest Cemetery.
Charles Armand Schreiner (1838-1927)was born in Riquewihr, Alsace, France in 1838, the fourth of five children born to Dr. Gustave Adolph Schreiner (1800-1852) and Charlotte Bippert Schreiner (1809-1857), both from Riquewihr. Dr. Schreiner was said to be a dentist.
The other four Schreiner children were Gustave Adolph Jr, who died in South America or Panama; Fritz, who died in San Antonio in 1898 (buried in City Cemetery #3), Emilie (Mrs. Casper Real) born in 1836 and died and buried in 1918 at the family homestead on Turtle Creek; and Aime, who died in the Battle of the Nueces (near Camp Wood, Texas) in 1862 during the Civil War (buried at the Treue de Union Monumentin Comfort, TX). All four of Charles Schreiner’s siblings were also born in Riguewihr.
It is not known why Dr. and Mrs. Schreiner and the five children immigrated to the United States, but they did so, arriving in 1852. Dr. Schreiner died from an unknown cause (possibly a rattlesnake bite) 18 days after arriving at his final destination of Hot Wells, just south of San Antonio. His burial site is unknown. Mrs. Schreiner died less than five years later. She is buried in the Stapper Cemetery on the Cibolo River in eastern Bexar County.
In 1854 at the age of 16, Charles Schreiner joined the Texas Rangers. He served for 2 ½ years (1854 to 1856). The primary duties of the Texas Rangers were to protect the frontier of Texas against Indians and marauders.
He returned to Bexar County and in 1857 moved to a small ranch on Turtle Creek, approximately 10 miles south of Kerrville, where he engaged in the cattle business with his brother-in-law, Casper Real. He married Mary Magdelena “Lena” Enderle (1843–1905) in 1861 and they raised five sons and three daughters in Kerrville.
From 1862 to 1865 (for 3½ years) Charles Schreiner enlisted as a volunteer under the command of General Walker in the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate army during the Civil War. Interestingly, he was the only one of the four Schreiner brothers to fight on the side of the Confederacy. Most of the settlers in the Hill Country had no slaves and were not interested in the fight between the North and the South. As mentioned earlier, Charles Schreiner’s brother, Aime, was trying to flee the Confederacy and was killed by Confederate soldiers at the Battle of the Nueces.
Due to continued Indian threats, the Kerrville Mounted Rifles, a home guard unit, was organized in 1875. Texas Governor Richard Coke (a relative of Nellie Ganter Schreiner, the wife of A. C. Schreiner Jr., one of Charles Schreiner’s grandsons) appointed Charles Schreiner a “Captain” in the group. He thus bore the title “Captain” for the rest of his life. (11)
Following the end of the Civil War Charles Schreiner returned to his Turtle Creek ranch, believing that Kerrville would become a centrally located business center. In 1869 he opened a general store in Kerrville in partnership with August Faltin, a wealthy Comfort merchant. Gross sales the first year were $5,000. Ten years later, in 1879, he bought out his partner’s interests.
As the businesses grew his sons managed different parts of the enterprise. Charles Schreiner Company was managed by A. C. Schreiner, Charles Schreiner Bank was managed by Louis Schreiner, and Gus Schreiner took over the management of the Schreiner Cattle Company. The YO Ranch was managed by Walter Schreiner.
Following Captain Schreiner’s death in 1927, Charles Schreiner Company and the Bundy Ross Ranch were inherited by A. C. Schreiner and his heirs. The bank was inherited primarily by Louis Schreiner and his heirs. It has been estimated the ranch holdings were approximately 700,000 acres. As an inheritance Walter Schreiner wanted land and he and his heirs inherited the YO Ranch. Ranch land on the James River near Mason was given to the Jeffers family. Other branches of the family inherited the balance of the ranch land in the estate. Many of these ranches – YO, Live Oak, Jackson, Paint Creek, 700 Springs, Cottonwood, Paint Rock, Red Hole, Allen, South Fork, Wolf Proof, and the Bundy Ross - are familiar names today. The wool and mohair company, the Bluebonnet Hotel, the Kerrville Telephone Company, etc. were inherited by the eight branches of the Schreiner family.
Today all the above-mentioned businesses have been sold or are no longer in operation. Some of the ranches are still owned by Schreiner family members. (12), (13) & (14)
There are 24 members of the Schreiner family buried in Glen Rest Cemetery today.
SCHREINER UNIVERSITY STUDENT PROJECTS AT GLEN REST (15)
In the spring of 2018 the Schreiner University STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Living and Learning Community in partnership with the university’s Center for Digital Learning (CDL) engaged in a service-learning project with the Glen Rest Cemetery. Students acted as project managers and brainstormed ideas to enhance the presence of the cemetery in the community via the cemetery’s website. Mrs. Cecila Barlow, representing the Glen Rest Cemetery Website, adopted the client role. The STEM Living and Learning Community plans to continue collaborating with the Center for Print and Digital Production and build upon the projects that were started this year.
1 Wikipedia- Kerrville, Texas - History
2 Ernest A. Garza, supervior of Mountain View Cemetery since 1984. Telephone interview on July 1, 2018
3 Joe Herring Jr., Kerrville historian. Telephone interview and email fact sheet on July 5, 2018.
4 Article that appeared in Kerrville Daily Times, Sunday, April 5, 1987 by Michael Bowlin, TimesStaff Writer. Article and numbers updated September 30, 2017.
5 Weir Labatt, President, Kerrville Perpetual Care Cemetery Association. Walking tours of Mountain View Cemetery and Tivy Mountain Cemetery on July 6, 2018
6 Property Deed Dated April 3, 1895
7Abbreviated History of Charter/Articles, Tax Exemption and Perpetual Care Designationcompiled by Scott Parker in 2013
8 Howard E. Butt Jr. Obituary in San Antonio Express News, September 15, 2006
9 H.E. Butt Family Foundation Web Page
10 2018 Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation Web Page
11 Luther, Dr. Joseph. Camp Verde: Texas Frontier Defense. Charlestom, South Carolina, The History Press, 2012.
12 Bennett, Bob. Kerr County Texas 1856-1956. San Antonio: Naylor Co, 1956.
13 Neill, Emilie Real (Great granddaughter of Emilie Schreiner and Casper Real). Telephone interview on Friday, June 23, 2000.
14 Parker, Josephine Schreiner. The House of Schreiner. 1970
15 Yeck, Laura. Coordinator STEM Living Community, Schreiner University 2018
Field work in Glen Rest Cemetery compiled by Weir Labatt in 2016 and 2017
Oral history from past and present members of Board of Directors
The Handbook on Texas Online—Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)