Harris Creek Baptist Church organized in Oct. 1849, with 15 charter members and elder William H. Ray elected as pastor. Ray, who organized the First Baptist Church of Tyler the previous year, preached at Harris Creek for two years before resigning to form other Baptist churches in Smith County. The original location was along the creek at Lott's Spring, near the Methodist Church camp ground east of this site. After severe flooding, members moved the church here, in the Mount Carmel community, in 1852. Anglo members and their African-American slaves worshiped together in one building while seated separately. The church building also served as a schoolhouse, and a cemetery began on adjacent land. Historic Texas Cemetery - 2010
The earliest documented burial in Harris Creek Cemetery is of South Carolina native John Brownlee Clinkscales, who signed his will the same day he died on Jan. 4, 1857. Mount Carmel declined after the Civil War, and an extension of the Tyler Tap Railroad established the nearby town of Winona in 1876. Harris Creek Memorial Association formed in Oct. 1909, with James T. Kay of Winona as chairman. The association continues to hold an annual meeting, which usually includes worship service and a picnic dinner. Winona Baptist Church (formerly Harris Creek Baptist Church) deeded the cemetery to Harris Creek Memorial Association in 1948.
Tombstones made of marble, sandstone, concrete and metal chronicle several fraternal organizations and veterans of conflicts dating from the War of 1812 to Vietnam. The rural setting includes deciduous trees, some cedars, and native grass with some plantings. Many family plots are enclosed by concrete curbs, and some have iron fencing. Today, this burial ground of several hundred graves remains in use and recalls the contributions of citizens of Mount Carmel, Winona and other nearby communities.