Hidalgo County Public Cemetery
The Hidalgo County Public Cemetery (also known historically as a “pauper” cemetery) was established in 1913 through a resolution that set aside special burial grounds on the outskirts of the newly-founded town of Edinburg. The cemetery was in use until around 1990, and contains just over one thousand burials.
The cemetery is located on East Schunior Street (FM 2128) about .25 mile east of the Expressway (US 281 North) which passes between 23d and 25th Streets at this point. The cemetery is immediately north of and adjacent to Brushwood Cemetery and extends north to the old Southern Pacific Railroad Right-of-Way. On the west it adjoins Hillcrest Memorial Gardens and Restlawn (black) Cemetery. All four cemeteries are located within Section 15 of Block 246, Tex-Mex Railroad Survey.
Public or Pauper Cemeteries
Pauper cemeteries (also know as “poorhouse cemeteries” or “potter’s fields”) are plots of land set aside within communities where indigent or transient people were buried; when families or individuals couldn’t afford the costs of a traditional burial, or when someone died with no known family, they could be buried in a pauper’s plot for significantly less than typical burial costs.
Pauper cemeteries were common in much of the Midwest and Eastern United States in the 19th Century and early 20th Century. What makes the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery unique is that it was only founded in 1913, after many similar cemeteries in the country were falling into disuse.