Fairview Cemetery & Butler Oaks

Fairview Cemetery

The final resting place for many members of League City’s early residents is the historical Fairview Cemetery. Located on North Kansas Street in the historic section of League City, this cemetery began burials in 1900 and still continues today. The first burial in Fairview was Charlotte “Lottie” Natho, a nine-year-old girl who died from diphtheria following the 1900 storm. Her marker simply states, “Lottie Natho 1891-1900”. A large number of the tombstones in Fairview are dated between 1900 and 1930. Eighteen known Civil War veterans are buried in Fairview Cemetery, half of them Union soldiers and half Confederate. Three of these men, John Henry Kipp, John William Derrick, and John Daniel W. Owens were members of the local unit, the Magnolia Rangers. Fairview Cemetery also contains the graves of twenty-four known World War I veterans including three young men who died during the war: Leslie Bryan Scott who died of wounds in France, Don W. Greer, a victim of the 1918 influenza epidemic, and George Ghirardi, who was swept overboard and lost at sea. Twenty veterans of World War II are buried in Fairview Cemetery including three members of the Women’s Army Corps.

Bordering the banks of Clear Creek, the cemetery was once an important gathering place for local citizens and a convenient spot for picnics. Memorial Day, referred to as “Decoration Day” by the local residents, was celebrated every year at the cemetery. A typical Decoration Day ceremony at Fairview was described by the Mainland Messenger on May 26, 1915. On that occasion, the League City Band provided musical accompaniment as Civil War veteran, T. W. Reeves gave the opening remarks, the crowd sang hymns, listened to recitations of patriotic poems, and then decorated all the veterans’ graves. The ceremony then moved to the water’s edge for final hymns and flowers were scattered on the water. A photography dated May 30, 1911 shows a number of horse-drawn carriages and formally attired ladies, gentlemen and children gathered in the cemetery on Memorial Day.

The Butler Oaks

One of the primary historical landmarks in League City are the beautiful oak trees that line a portion of FM 518. These trees commemorate an Acadian tradition brought from Louisiana by the Butler, Coward and Perkins families. During the early 1870s, the Butler family planted live oak tress around the perimeter of the Butler Ranch headquarters from acorns brought from Calcasieu Parish. With a desire to landscape the streets of the new town in the Louisiana tradition, George Washington Butler partnered with J. C. League in 1907 to ship flat cars of live oak trees to League City.

Two of the tree-laden flat cars were reserved for the residents of League City to plant on their property. The planting of the trees was supervised by George Washington Butler and his son, Milby. Another notable collaborator on this project was Sebron Lyons, Butler’s former slave and boyhood friend. Many of these trees still survive. Known as the Butler Oaks, these century-old trees have become the symbol for League City.