Cass County

Whittaker Memorial Cemetery


From Texas Historical Commission Marker:

"This African American cemetery was once part of a large plantation owned by South Carolina native Willis Whitaker (Whittaker), who came to Texas in 1840 with his family and more than 50 slaves. Whitaker had acquired nearly 3000 acres by 1850; a six-acre tract of land was given as a cemetery for the slaves of the plantation. Those buried here were slaves, freed African Americans, and their descendants. The earliest graves may be those of seven Freemen killed on the plantation in 1868. An epidemic of malaria in 1896 claimed many lives, as did the diseases of smallpox and tuberculosis. It is believed that some of these victims were transported to the cemetery for mass burial. Natural disasters also took their toll; eight members of one family were killed in a wind storm in 1900. Many people were buried in unmarked graves, while others received makeshift markers and rocks as tombstones. Family members placed new headstones to replace some broken or illegible markers. Documented burials number more than 350, including educators, businessmen, and veterans. This cemetery is still in use by citizens of the area, as well as many former residents who are returned here to be buried."

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