The Old Dallas Burial Grounds, Dallas, Dallas County, Texas

To Dallas County Archives main page
To Brief History of the burial grounds, with map of location
To 19th Century City Plat Map Showing Location

Dallas and Texas 50 Years Ago

From the June 10, 1885 issue of the Dallas Herald,
which paper was absorbed by The Dallas News,
Dec. 1, 1885.


     The bodies in the old cemetery near the new Dallas Brewery have been exhumed and are being interred by relatives elsewhere.

- June 10, 1935, The Dallas Morning News, Sec. 1, p. 7.
- o o o -



... A Forgotten Graveyard.

     The Missouri-Pacific men, who are engaged in excavating for a yard just this side of the brewery, on the Dallas and Wichita Railroad, struck a forgotten graveyard yesterday, and the plows and scrapers brought to view several skulls and other bones. It appears that these people were laid to rest in their graves thirty-odd years ago, and being neglected, all surface monuments of them have long since been obliterated. The railroad people have applied to the county to have the bones gathered up and enterred in some other burying ground.

- March 30, 1887, The Dallas Morning News, p. 4.
- o o o -


     A force at work on the Missouri-Pacific extension unearthed three graves near the brewery yesterday.

- March 31, 1887, The Dallas Morning News, p. 8.
- o o o -

Another Skeleton.

     A gang of railroad men at work near the brewery, yesterday, dug up the skeleton of a man, attached to the lower extremities of which, were leggings, boots and spurs, affording a presumption in favor of the belief that the departed spirit of the human wreck was that of a cowboy. The find was outside of the precincts of the old graveyard, and there was nothing to show that the remains had been coffined; neither was there any evidence, beyond the nature of the find, to prove that the deceased met a violent death.

- May 8, 1887, The Dallas Morning News, p. 16.
- o o o -






Clue to Secret of Long Forgotten
Tragedy May Be Lost; Bones
Crumble at Touch

     A steel slip-scraper, guided by the hands of Peter Worthington, negro laborer, bit its way into a baffling mystery at a sand pit on the Henry Lewis place, a mile and a half northwest of Parkland hospital, between the Maple avenue road and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas line to Denton, Friday afternoon at 4 o'clock.

Where Bones of Seven Were Found

  Buried face downward, six feet below the surface, these bones -- remains of seven human skeletons, were unearthed in a sand pit near Parkland hospital Friday. Several of the skulls crumbled when they were picked up. It is believed they have been buried from fifty years to a century ago.  

     Seven human skeletons, closely packed six feet underground, were turned up by the scraper. The position of the skulls indicated four of the bodies were buried with the heads to the east and three with their heads to the west. All were turned face downward, and it appeared they were originally placed on top of one another in tiers of two. With the passage of years, however, the skeletons crumbled and the exact positions were difficult to determine. C. L. Walls, 608 Horton street, in charge of the laborers at the sand pit, who carefully removed the bones, declared there was nothing but the position of the sand-clotted skulls to indicate the arrangement of the bodies and the length of the grave.

Fragments Destroyed.
     Probabilities were, at noon Saturday, that the secret of the grave would never become known. There were no clews in or around it, on which officers could base an investigation, and what scanty information that might have been obtained from an examination of the bones by experts was lost when the fragments of the skeletons were removed from the sidewalk, where they had been placed for a few moments by a city trash man, who carried them to the dump yards to be burned.
     Efforts of deputies to recover the bones were fruitless Saturday, the manager of the dump yard declaring the man who removed them did so under cover of darkness and did not notice the contents of the box. The bones were included in the ordinary trash and were burned Friday night, he said.

No Trace of Clothing.
     Physical facts surrounding the finding of the bodies indicate they were buried nude, Deputy Sheriffs Walter Taylor, Dave Bradshaw, Hal Hood and Allen Seale, who conducted a brief investigation, believe. There was no trace of clothing of any kind, nor any mould, such as would have been left if the bodies had been clothed. A thin streak of dark red dirt, differing materially from the color of the golden sand in which the bodies were found, was the only sign of what deputies think might have been blood.
     Of the seven skulls, two were considerably larger than the rest and might have been those of a man and woman. The five others, which crumbled in the hands of Wall, as he picked them up, were apparently those of children, ranging from 5 to 16 years of age, he said. The bones in the pile were mouldering with age and were stained the color of sand.

Additional bones found in the
gravel pit near Parkland Hospital

Owner Mystified.
     Henry Lewis, 2901
1/2 Holmes street, owner of the place for the last twenty-five years, has no idea as to how the bodies might have found their way into the sand pit. Conjecturing deputies, after glancing at the pile of bones for a while, declared they could offer no theory. They gathered them into two wooden soap boxes and took them to the sheriff's office, where they were to have been kept while further inquiry was made.
     The bones were discovered by Worthington after the pit had been dug down about six feet from its virgin level. Worthington, who lives at 3329 Fuqua street, declared he heard a grinding of the scraper as it first struck the bones. His first idea of what they were, came to him when the scraper pitched out a skull. Startled by the discovery, he motioned to Mr. Walls, who immediately went to a near-by phone and called the sheriff's office.
     Deputies believed they could trace the faint outlines of a grave, about 4
1/2 x 5 feet, they declared. The settling of the sand since the burial, however, makes this theory extremely uncertain, they admitted.
     Whether the bones will lead to the disclosure of some long forgotten tragedy, or whether they are the remains of human beings, who roved the Texas prairies before the days of white settlers, is a problem which may never be answered.

- March 9, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald,
p. 1, col. 4-5; continued on p. 2, col. 5-6.
- o o o -




     Convinced that the gravel pit northwest of Dallas, where seven human skeletons were unearthed Friday afternoon, is either an ancient Indian burial ground, or is a forgotten dumping place for corpses used for medical dissection, sheriff's deputies have abandoned further investigation of the discovery by workmen.
     "It was common years ago for physicians to bury bodies that had been used for dissecting purposes," Deputy Hal Hood said. "At one time, only a few years ago, city health officers discovered bits of human bodies passing through the sewers, and these parts of bodies were, on investigation, traced to dissecting rooms."
     One instance was recalled where, about eight years ago, ten human skeletons, buried face-down, were found in a gravel pit north of Record Crossing on Elm Fork.
     The fact that the seven skeletons found Friday had been buried face-downward, combined with a similarly gruesome find of eight years ago, leads officers to generally accept the theory that in both instances, Indian burial grounds had been trespassed upon.
Officers who investigated the discovery, but who have now virtually abandoned any further probing of the case, are Hal Hood, Allen Seale, Dave Bradshaw and Walter Taylor.
     The belief that the skeletons were found on the north edge of a former Dallas cemetery was expressed by Joe Gardner.
     "I remember when I was a boy," Mr. Gardner said, "that many skeletons and human bones were excavated when the foundation for the old Dallas Brewery was being prepared and when the M., K. & T. railway was building, laying the grade for its tracks along the edge of the Trinity river basin."
     The cemetery at that time, about 1886, had been abandoned for a number of years.

- March 11, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald,
Sec. I, p. 1, col. 3, cont. on p. 5, col. 2.
- o o o -