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Old North Church, Map and Historical Marker Text

cemetery map
Cemetery Map drawn by Mr. Jesse Pettey, a descendant of the Petteys buried in the cemetery
contributed by Adrian Balch,

Texas Historical Commission
Old North Church

According to legend, the first burial in this cemetery was
that of a young girl whose family, traveling through the
area when she died, buried her here before continuing their
westward journey. Oral tradition also suggests that
William Whitaker was already interred in a brick vault by
the time Richard Sparks set aside land on this site for use as
a community graveyard in 1838. The Union Baptist Church
(later the Old North Church) was organized in the spring of
that year. The oldest marked grave is that of Saletha Easter
Whitaker (d. 1845). Dr. John M. Sparks and his wife formally
deeded ten acres including the original five acres set aside
by Richard Sparks to the Union Church in 1892.

The cemetery historically was divided into two sections.
The east side was used for the burial of local slaves, many
of whom were members of the church, and eventually
became a separate cemetery.

Other burials of interest include those of veterans of the
American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Texas
Revolution. Records indicate that some forty-seven
Confederate Civil War soldiers are buried in the southern
portion of the cemetery, and twenty-one Union soldiers are
interred in unmarked graves. Most of the Union veterans
were victims of an epidemic of dysentery during the
Reconstruction Era.

The Old North Church Cemetery Association was
organized in 1976. With more than 950 graves in 1998, the
graveyard continues to be used by descendants of early
church members. The burial ground is a chronicle of the
early days of Nacogdoches County.

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This page last updated: Tuesday, 25-May-2010 14:01:33 MDT