THE HISTORY OF HILLCREST MEMORIAL PARK
When Chapin, now known as Edinburg, was founded in 1909, the closest cemetery was on the ranch of Patricio Gonzalez, located 1.5 miles north of Schunior Street on Doolittle Road. In 1913, the city townsite owners, John Closner and William Sprague, donated five acres out of the Texas-Mexico Railroad Survey (about 40 acres,), for the Edinburg Cemetery. Trustees were James H. Edwards, Washington B. Barton and Plutarco de la Vina, who laid out burial plots and gave some land for Hidalgo County.
On Oct. 14, 1916, the original five acres was given to the Brushwood Cemetery Association. The earliest known burial is that of Antonia Hernandez de Ramos, who died in 1913. Older graves dating back to 1898, were relocated to Brushwood from El Granjeno Cemetery near Mission. More than 1,000 graves are located here with monuments bearing Spanish, Anglo, German, and Irish, to name a few, surnames, which shows the diversity of the people who helped settle and build Edinburg and other nearby Valley communities.
One notable burial is that of a Civil War (Union) veteran, Richard Alvis Marsh (1845-1917), who later became the first Hidalgo County Superintendent of Schools. In 1913, Brushwood Cemetery was donated to the City of Edinburg and today proudly displays two Texas Historical Markers put there in 1993, one for the Brushwood Cemetery and one for Richard Marsh.
Additional acreage was acquired in Lot 15, and Hillcrest Memorial Park was organized on July 14, 1928. On January 12, 1931, the organizers put 50% of the proceeds from the sale of cemetery lots into a Perpetual Care Fund. On April 7, 1945, the Directors discussed new state legislation dealing with Perpetual Care cemeteries, and the Directors voted on the First National Bank and Trust of Edinburg becoming the Trustee for the Perpetual Care Fund in August of 1945.
Sam and Jo Maxey bought Hillcrest and later sold the cemetery to Judge J.C. and Margaret Looney and Frank W. “Ted” and Shirley Skinner. Today, the cemetery, a tribute to community spirit, is located on E. Richardson Road (once Schunior) and Expressway 281 and is still owned by the Looney and Skinner families.