By 1840, Houston first cemetery Founders Memorial Cemetery located at what is now 1217 W. Dallas, was about full. The city council purchased a five acre wooded tract near White Oak Bayou, about a mile north of downtown. The land cost $750.
The new cemetery consisted of four parts: a potters field for criminals and persons of infamous character such as suicides and persons killed in duels, a section for blacks, a section for all others not otherwise provided for and a section of subdivided lots for sale to the highest bidder.
Council also set aside smaller sections of the cemetery for burial of Odd Fellows and Masons.
The City Cemetery received many of the victims of the yellow fever and cholera epidemics that ravaged early Houston. Among these victims were Union soldiers serving in occupying forces after the Civil War and Confederate veterans.
Towards the end of the 1870's, most of the space in the cemetery had been used up but there are records of burials as late as 1904. The cemetery at that time was closed by the city.