ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Last weekend, Hardin-Simmons celebrated its 130th year since its founding. If you walk around the campus, you’ll see students, faculty and even a piece of that history. One site on campus is now recognized as a Texas Historical Marker.
A grave yard in the middle of a college campus isn’t something you see everyday, but you can find one right in the center of Hardin-Simmons University, called the HSU Campus Triangle.
Chairman of the History Committee for HSU Roundtable, Katrina Fink said, “We felt like the world needed to know about this place.”
Several lives are memorialized at the site, including James, Mary, and Robert Simmons.
“The Simmons family was so enamored with this campus and they believed in it so much that Mary Simmons she passed away in 1894 and a true testament to James’s belief in this place and love for this place… he exhumed her body and had her buried here on campus in 1901,” Mary Burke, Resident Historian at Hardin-Simmons said.
During that time, James was also in communication with his good friend Owen Pope, a former HSU President, whom he asked to be buried with his family on campus as well. Pope and his wife Mary accepted the offer. President Jefferson Sandefer and his wife Lucille are also buried on campus.
“All these people are very much entwined and connected to the campus,” Burke said.
About 6 years ago, the university voted to pursue a Texas Historical Marker for the area, submitting maps, videos and other documents to make it happen. That long process ended this past Saturday, with an official dedication. This was the first Historical Texas Marker created in Abilene in the last two years due to the pandemic.