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It’s easy to reach New Waverly since it’s on the state map just off Interstate Highway 45 about 55 miles north of Houston. Much harder to find is Old Waverly, just a few miles east but not on the state map. With no town center and only a church and cemetery left (and those spaced far apart) it’s a challenge to find without a local guide.



Texas Churches







The town of Waverly once straddled the county line, but even that fact is little help. The difference between Old Waverly and New Waverly was, of course, the arrival of the railroad in the 1880s. It’s a very familiar story in Texas. One town gets the railroad, and the other town gets forgotten. Adding insult to injury, the left-behind town is sometimes branded with the word “old.”

Back when there was a single Waverly, the town was thriving, with a youthful population freshly arrived from Alabama, Georgia and other southern states. An “institute of higher learning” was established and the town seemed to have limitless horizons. But along came the Civil War and Waverly’s antebellum hopes turned into sacrifice, immense hardship and finally “death by railroad bypass.”

Old Waverly’s fade into oblivion may be short of tragic elements, but two separate stories were enough to have it included in the late Ed Sayer’s Ghosts of Texas. When one considers the cottage industry that spooks and spirits have become in recent years, it’s an accomplishment to be included as one of the fifty-odd stories in what is considered to be the first volume written on Texas Ghosts.

The sites of the
stories are several miles apart in what remains today of the dense forest that was laboriously pushed back by slave labor to plant cotton.








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Waverly Cemetery tombstone
TE photo




Old Waverly was described as being just northeast of what had been the town. This spirit seems to be single and is thought to be either a Union soldier who perhaps took his duty a tad too seriously and never left his post – or a sawmill operator who perhaps took his work not seriously enough and left behind his head.

No one has fully described any detailed sightings, but there have been many “auditory” encounters – nearly all of them occurring at night. Sayers reports a local man who is drawn to the site and on one occasion brought a witness. He and his skeptical friend were exploring the site when they heard something running toward them through the underbrush. The friend was amused and as his partner ran toward their car, he (laughing) yelled: “it can stop the car’s engine!” When his friend got in the car and indeed, it didn’t start – the friend stopped laughing and together they jump-started the car, thankful to be able to escape whatever “it” was.

The story had an anticlimactic end with Sayers’ investigation coming to a halt when his guide canceled on him. He then attempted to go it alone but was bogged down in mud up to his wheel wells.

These stories are presented here not for their quality, details, or the goose-flesh factor, but mostly to provide text for their accompanying Waverly Cemetery photographs.
MarkerTE photos, 2006







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Waverly Cemetery historical marker
TE photo
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Name: Beth McNeilis
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Name: Bob Kelly
Role 1: Investigator
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Group: Florida Paranormal Research

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