Cemeteries (in General), Dallas County, Texas

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(Updated July 2, 2004)




Epitaphs Awaken Old Memories to
the Pioneer Residents.



It Does Not Always Cease at the Grave.
Some of the Workers in
Local Cemeteries.

     The cemeteries of Dallas are subjects upon which the average person is very gladly ignorant, unless perhaps they happen to have occasion to pay visits to them to pay tribute to the memory of some departed relative or friend. Cemeteries are, as a rule, rather uncanny and grewsome places to contemplate, and yet, there is much in them that is interesting if one will only take the trouble to find it. To any old resident of Dallas, a walk through any of the cemeteries will serve to awaken memories that have long been dormant, and which, will spring into existence once more at the sight of the headstones and epitaphs graven upon them.
     A cemetery is a city of the dead, and although the familiar assertion that death is the great leveler, and that when once the eyes have been curtained in death's pall, that all caste and distinction ceases, and the dead are all equal, is just another instance of very erroneous assertions that have become popular for no other reason than that they are euphonious and sound well.
     There is just as much distinction and evidence of caste in a dead city as in any of the very live ones, and if any one doubts this statement, it is only necessary to pay a visit to any of the cemeteries of Dallas, or any other city, for that matter, to prove the correctness of this statement. There are aristocratic sections and squalid sections and a little investigation will tend to show that the residents of the respective sections occupied very much the same positions in life that they do in death. A reference to the headstones in the well kept portions of the cemeteries will serve to recall names that are familiar to residents of a city, and which were, in their lifetime, prominently identified with the growth and welfare of the community.
     After an inspection in the aristocratic section, continue your walk to the squalid section and note the difference. There you will find unkempt mounds, with perhaps a few withered flowers at their heads in broken bottles and glasses and a few stems of grass struggling for an existence over the clods of hard earth. The graves in this section are as squalid and unkempt as were the other homes of their occupants in life and are eloquent of poverty.
     The paupers' row is a place seldom visited by anyone, but the undertakers in all cemeteries, and this is not to be wondered at inasmuch as poverty is not a very tempting factor with which to lure friends. The occupants of the graves in these sections had few friends in life and are absolutely alone with the friend of all mankind in their windowless palaces of rest. They, at least, have this consolation--they no longer suffer.
     The newest cemetery in Dallas is Oakland, its creating having been made necessary by the very crowded condition of Greenwood, formerly known as Trinity. The remains of many of the most prominent persons in North Texas are buried at Greenwood, and a walk through its well kept lawns will disclose the names of persons of state and even international reputation on some of its handsome headstones. The Confederate monument in this cemetery, which is the central stone in the burial lot for the wearers of the gray, is reputed to be the handsomest of its kind in the state. There are a number of fraternal burying plots at Greenwood as well as at Oakland, among them being the Elks' Rest, which is one of the prettiest and best kept in the whole cemetery. The Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen and other orders, all have their lots, and they are kept in splendid condition.
     The oldest cemetery in Dallas was the old burying ground in the vicinity of the Dallas brewery, which was plowed up when the railroad secured a right-of-way through the property. Next to this one, the oldest is the Odd Fellow's burying ground on South Akard street, which is still in existence. No interments are made there now, however, except in few instances where persons own lots there.
     Greenwood cemetery was among the first public cemeteries to be established in Dallas, and is said to be about 32 years old. Oakland cemetery is about 12 years old, and although comparatively a new one, it is filling with new graves so rapidly that more space will be required in a few more years. Geo. W. Loudermilk is the superintendent of both Greenwood and Oakland cemeteries. John Smith, the sexton of Greenwood, is the oldest sexton in Dallas, and has held his present position for the last seven years, prior to which time, he was nine years sexton of the Jewish cemetery. He has been in Texas twenty-eight years and is a native of Shelbyville, Tenn.
     R. A. Aldrich, the sexton at Oakland, is another old timer. He is an expert landscape gardener, and the evidences of his taste and skill in this art are very manifest around the cemetery. Fred Tolbert is the man in charge of the Catholic cemetery, which adjoins Greenwood on the east.
     Gloss Williams, a stalwart negro, has been engaged in the occupation of grave digging so long that he has forgotten the time when he ever did anything else. He has become a specialist in that work and has the contract to dig all the pauper graves. He and the sexton are about the only persons who ever visit that section of the cemetery.
     The new Elks' Rest is at Oakland cemetery, and it promises to be one of the handsomest burial plots in the state. The Confederate lot in Greenwood is almost filled and the veterans are now negotiating for the purchase of a lot in Oakland.
     The colored cemetery is also filled, and the burial association among the members of that race have purchased a big piece of ground south of Oakland, where all of their burials are made now.
     The Jewish cemetery is almost filled, and it will be necessary for them to secure more ground shortly. The Russian Jews have a cemetery out in East Dallas beyond the Fair grounds.
     Lots in any of the cemeteries are held at high prices, and while the prices vary according to the location, the average cost of a grave is $5, while a one-grave lot is worth $10. The city sexton receives $2 for the burial of a pauper.
     The undertakers here assert that Dallas has not only the best kept cemeteries, but the handsomest monuments in the entire state.

- October 2, 1904, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 18, col. 1-2.
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     An investigation of the report that grave robbers are operating in Dallas and disposing of bodies, is being made by the police department.
     The finding of portions of human bodies at the city dumping ground has led to the belief that grave robbers are at work. Within the past month, several gruesome finds have been made by men working at the city dumping ground. The latest discovery, that of a leg, which apparently belonged to a child of about twelve years of age. Several days ago, the limb of a man was found wrapped in paper.
     These portions of human bodies are believed to have been picked up by the city trash wagons on their daily rounds.
     Chief of Police John Ryan stated Friday morning that reports had been made to him to the effect that the finding of parts of human bodies were becoming increasingly frequent.
     C. O. Frakes, street superintendent, states that the finding of human arms and legs and other parts of the body is not an uncommon thing, and that upon several occasions, the bodies of infants had been found.
     Mr. Frakes also stated that his men working on the dumps were continually reporting to him that dogs had been seen carrying from the dumps, human hands and arms.

- June 21, 1919, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3.
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Parks Favored
In Cemeteries


State Association In-
spects Burial Places
in Dallas.

     Increased public interest in cemeteries, to the end that their beautification will add to the park grounds of a community, was discussed as one of the problems before the cemetery business when members of the Texas Cemetery Association met in a State-wide session Friday at the Baker Hotel.
     Throughout the morning session and a session early in the afternoon preceding an inspection tour of cemetery property in Dallas and its environs, cemetery problems and their solution through co-operative effort, were discussed. Uniform regulations and systems are being sought throughout the State by the association, which also accepted plans for increasing its membership.
     The biggest problem before the association, it was pointed out, was to create that interest and reverence in cemeteries among the public that they would not shun them, but would, rather, seek to make of them parks of quiet and beauty, to be sought by people while alive.
     Discussion brought out that the idea of cremation moved slowly among people, and that there was too much land in Texas to cause worry over that problem. The Southwest, it was said, had only one crematory.
     Representatives were present from Houston, Port Arthur, San Antonio, Waco, San Angelo, Dallas and Fort Worth, with vice presidents, W. J. Bailey of Fort Worth and George J. Jalonick of Dallas, and Secretary E. E. Widner of Dallas present.
     Selection of a president to succeed the late W. H. Chambers of Waco will take place at the regular annual meeting in March. Members of the association visited the State Fair of Texas at night.

- October 20, 1928, Dallas Morning News, p. 11, col. 3.
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Added July 2, 2004:

     White Rock Masonic Lodge of Addison, held its annual memorial service Sunday at Frankfort Cemetery, near Addison. Formerly Noell Junction, the Dallas County town was named for a pioneer family, and its Masonic lodge is one of the oldest in the county. Field Noell was chairman for the day, and the annual report of Secretary Charles McKamey was presented. A number of impromptu talks were made. Among prominent Masons who attended was Hiram F. Lively of Dallas, a past grand master of Texas.

- May 24, 1937, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 8, col. 7.
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