A record of the cemeteries in this county
would not be complete without mention of this well known burial located
on a high hill overlooking Palo Pinto Creek as "Million Dollar
View" on the old Johnson Ranch.
The mausoleum was built in 1923 according to instructions in the will of
Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1922. It is built of native stone with
walls two and one half inches thick, is 18 X 18 feet square and surrounded by a
An inscription reads simply: "Residents of Palo Pinto County from
the year 1880. Pioneers in the development of our natural recourses. Leaders in all matters of material and moral
progress. Their works do follow them."
However, the story behind the building of this mausoleum is quite an
unusual one, and was well told by Mary Whatley Clarke in The Palo
Pinto Story. She relates that the Johnsons both had a fear of
being buried, and when their three year old daughter died, they had her
embalmed and kept her upstairs in their home until a small brick house
was built in the yard. Her casket was placed there, and when their
seven year old son died a few years later, he was dressed in a little
costume he had worn in a school play, and was placed beside his sister
in the little house. The parents visited the burial every day.
In 1905 they moved from Strawn to a ranch they purchased on Palo Pinto
Creek, and took the small coffins with them. Here they built a
second mausoleum which was almost washed away in a 1908 storm.
Mrs. Clarke says, "They forgot their cattle, sheep and goats in the
flooded field, having no thought for anything else until the mausoleum
was safely anchored. Uncle John, the colored caretaker and
carpenter of the death house, waded through the waters and tied the house
safely to an elm tree. He found the coffins in the water and
hoisted them on trestles."
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are with their children now in the newer tomb after
her death. On the door the inscriptions is:
William Whipple Johnson died 19 October 1914
Anna Fatzinger Johnson his wife, died 22 June 1922
Marion Johnson, daughter, died 07 November 1885 age 3 years
William Harvey Johnson, son died 24 June 1894 age 7 years.