Woodmen of the World
Tioga is located on the eastern edge of the East Cross Timbers. In November 1881, settlers established the community of Tioga and incorporated it as a city in 1906. For many years Tioga residents buried their loved ones on private land and in family cemeteries.
In 1906 when the town incorporated, William Robert and Sally Jane Gillespie deeded five acres of their farmland to the local Woodmen of the World Chapter in February of that year for use as a burial ground. William Robert Gillespie was the son of James William Gillespie and Sarah Margaret Alice Bickley. William was born September 24, 1857 in Bedford County Tennessee and died August 3, 1937 in Pilot Point, Denton County, Texas and is buried in the cemetery at Pilot Point in the Masonic part of the cemetery; he was a Mason and a Sheriff in Pilot Point. Sarah Jane "Sallie" McClure Gillespie was born November 4, 1861 in Marshall, Tennessee, the daughter of William Houston McClure and Alciee Emeline Wison and was the mother of 5 children.
Most of the early headstones are Woodmen of the World markers and the earliest dates back to the year the cemetery opened. Tioga continued using and improving the cemetery over the years and in 1924 a pavilion was built for funeral services.
Today, the cemetery is the connection between generations of Tioga area residents. The Tioga Cemetery is the final resting place for veterans of military conflicts that date back to the Civil War, including both Union and Confederate soldiers. Other notable persons interred in the Tioga Cemetery are Texas Senator Olin. R. Van Zandt and the Rev. H.G. Ball, a primitive Baptist preacher who presided over the funeral service for U.S. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. Long time Tioga resident George Riddle donated a flag pole and flag to the cemetery . The Tioga Cemetery Association maintains the cemetery for future generations and has recently purchased another five acres across the road from the existing five acres and have built an identical pavilion there to the one on the original five acre cemetery.
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