Bit of Old England In Early Cemetery|
by Wayne Gard
WINDSWEPT CEMETERY HILL, in Southeastern Denton
County, is as well trimmed this week as a lawn in Devonshire. On
Sunday afternoon it will be a Mecca for members of some of the oldest
families in Denton and Dallas Counties. They will gather for yearly
Decoration Day rites, with the Rev. Leon Turner of Carrollton as speaker.
Veteran of the participants will be
Will C. Furneaux, 89, whose home
dominates a nearby crest. His father, William Furneaux, gave the land
for the graveyard back in 1884, while William Huskey donated that for a
church. But before the cemetery was laid out, Furneaux died at forty-four,
on May 6, 1884 and was the first to be buried there.
Today there's no church on Cemetery Hill. Once there was a white frame one
with a tall steeple. It was a union church, used in turn by Baptist and
Methodists. But about 1925 a cyclone blew the church down, and it wasn't
rebuilt. Those who had worshiped there joined other churches in Hebron,
Carrollton and Lewisville. But they didn't forget their old burial ground.
FROM DEVONSHIRE, in Southwestern England, came so many of its pioneer
families that the area around Cemetery Hiss is still called an English
neighborhood. From there persuaded by an agent of the Peters Colony, John
and Mary Jackson, the great-grandparents of J. Le Jackson of Dallas, came to
Texas in 1848. They are among those buried in the hilltop churchyard.
Their daughter, Fanny, who crossed the Atlantic with them, married William
Furneaux, who had come over in 1857. And Eliza Furneaux married a Devon man,
Joseph Morgan, who emigrated to Texas n 1867. The three Devon families were
intertwined by marriage and proudly had the name of their native shire
engraved on their monuments.
The old cemetery covers only seven or eight acres. But, even without a
church to support it, it is one of the best kept in this part of Texas.
Surrounded by a steel fence, it is landscaped with evergreens and other
trees and shrubs and has a solid stand of grass that's kept well mowed.
KEEPING THE GRAVES in good order is the task of the nonprofit Furneaux
Cemetery Association, which meets in a tent on the site on the first Sunday
in each May. Gray-thatched
Will C. Furneaux
headed this group for many years. Now his nephew, William H. Furneaux is
president and George Jackson is secretary.
After a devotional ser vice to open at 2 p.m. Sunday, members of the
association will contribute funds needed for the cemetery and will renew
ties that stem from pioneer days. They are determined to keep the
resting place of their ancestors a spot of which even a visitor from
Devonshire would be proud.
Greeted from all sides will be the patriarch
Will C. Furneaux,
whose memory reaches farthest back. He recalls the days when Steel Dust was
the talk of horsemen, when herds of Longhorns tramped up the Chisholm Trail
and when stories of Sam Bass kept youngsters on the lookout for his
brigands. The new land has been good to him.
The Dallas Morning News - April 28, 1954
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