There are three public cemeteries in and around Salado. Salado Cemetery, West Salado Cemetery & Bell Plains Cemetery. Salado Cemetery is located just off Royal on Baines. West Salado Cemetery is located NW of Salado on West Village Road, .1 mile west of I-35, Bell Plains Cemetery is located on Armstrong Rd, just north of Barnes Rd. Take FM 2268 east from I-35 in Salado and turn left on Armstrong Rd. There are numerous family cemeteries and a partial list can be found at http://cemeteries.txbell.net . The Salado, Bell Plains and West Cemeteries can also be located at this site.
Old Salado Grave Yard has its beginning between 1850 and 1852 when settlers moving to the Salado Springs area chose a spot in the open pasture land near their homes to bury their loved-ones.
A United States Post Office opened in 1852, three-quarters of a mile due north of the burial ground and a short distance from Salado Creek. Historians, archeologists, and descendants of early settlers believe that this area became a stage stop where travelers could rest, find something to eat, and find fresh teams of horses that would be switched before proceeding on the next part of the journey. It became a reasonable assumption that settlers were already living in the area before the Post Office was opened. Many were coming because of the exiting rumors that a fine school was to be opened in the very near future.
One of the early settlers was Dr. Carroll Kendrick, a physician, an educator, a writer, and a gospel preacher. His plans were to open a school in January 1857, near the Salado Springs. He had traveled up and down the western Texas frontier looking for a place to settle. In writing about his decision he stated, "This is my home. Here is a bountiful supply of fresh clear water, wild game for food, trees for lumber for building and heating homes, fine soil for cultivation, and scenic beauty."
In a meeting in October 1859, Col. E.S.C. Robertson offered to donate land on which to locate the school if the group agreed to build it at Salado. His offer was immediately accepted. Col. Robertson had purchased a large acreage which happened to contain the Old Grave Yard. At the time the deeds for land for the college and for lots to be sold to establish a new town were drawn up, Col. Robertson deeded the area of the Grave Yard to the people of the town and allowed the people to buy additional acreage.
The number of burials in the Old Grave Yard steadily increased. Generation after generation of settlers faced the needs to expand the local cemetery. Adjoining sections were purchased in 1899, 1905, 1927, 1950, three purchases in 1967, and in 2001. A gift of four acres was given to the Cemetery Association by the C.B. Hodge family in 1970. The last purchase was possible because of donations by Friends. Old Salado Grave Yard is now completely surrounded on the North, East and South by additions that make up the overall cemetery.
"Friends" are members of a well organized group of cemetery lot owners, families of those buried in the cemetery and people in the community who are interested in historic preservation and promotion of the history of Salado Cemetery. The new addition to the cemetery is called the "Friends Addition."
Many pioneers who played major roles in the growth and development of the Village of Salado, Bell County, and the State of Texas are buried in the Old Grave Yard. The earliest marked and recorded burial is that of Zilla Bush who died in 1856. Descendants of many of those buried there insist that there were burials preceding the death of Mrs. Bush. These earlier burials, however, are not marked and cannot be documented.
Veterans from the following time periods are buried here: Texas Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Indian Wars, War Between the States -both Union and Confederate soldiers, Spanish American War, World War One, World War Two, Korean War, and Vietnam War. There are also veterans buried here who served during peace times.
The Old Grave Yard has received designation as a Texas Historic Cemetery from the Texas Historical Commission. The Cemetery is community-owned and is governed by the Salado Cemetery Association which was chartered by the Texas Secretary of State in 1991. The cemetery is on the Salado historical tour and is frequently visited by historians, friends, and family members. School children tour the cemetery and study local and Texas history which is represented by the many early pioneers buried here.