Tarrant County TXGenWeb
contributed by Rob G. Yoder
Mitchell Cemetery is located behind the Fort Worth Grain Exchange, 2707 Decatur Avenue at its intersection with N.E. 28th Street. This first known burial here is of the 18 month old son of John B. York who died in 1848. Only one other cemetery in Tarrant County (Watson) is known by me to have an earlier burial. Other burials here include: John B. York, Seaborne Gilmore and Mrs. E. O. Anderson who died in 1867. Only one readable headstone exists:
Seaborne Gilmore, 1801 - 1867, Sgt Co. B 4 ILL Inf. Mexican War
Gilmore served as Tarrant County's first elected County Judge shortly after the county government was organized in 1850.
John B. York served as County Sheriff for several years. He was ambushed by A.Y. Fowler and died in the line of duty as a result of 22 stab wounds, but not before he got to his gun and took his assailant's life. All of this was over a drought in the Spring of 1863. York had stopped Fowler from cutting in line to get water at the Cold Springs, north of the bluff.
This cemetery is destined for restoration after the widening of 28th Street, which is scheduled for 2007. The two sets of railroad tracks, that the cemetery sits between, are to each be moved 25 to 30 to the west to align with two new bridges to be built over 28th Street. While one track will be moved further away the other will be coming very close to the cemetery's eastern edge. The Texas Department of Transportation did some archeological scraping a couple of years ago and determined that this would not encroach upon the graves. The DOT has also indicated that they may have funds available to erect a fence around the cemetery making the restoration feasible. The Tarrant County Historical Commission has funds available to replace the stolen historical marker and may even be able to erect a security light to discourage transients from camping beside the tracks.
The 1850 census shows that John B. York was a 25 year old farmer who was born in Tennessee. His wife is shown as Julia Ann [daughter of Seaborn Gilmore], age 23, also born in Tennessee. One child is listed; a 10 month old [b. 1 Jul 1849] son, Wm. J., who was born in Texas. [Their first son died at the age of 18 months prior to Christmas of 1848.]
This 1850 census shows Gilmore family as follows: Seburn [sic] Gillmore [sic], a 50 year old male farmer who was born in Georgia; Celia [his wife], a female age 45 years, born Tennessee; son Henry W., age 12, born Illinois; son Francis D., age 8, born Illinois; daughter Caroline M., age 5, born Illinois; and daughter Martha E. [Ellen], age 9 mo., born Texas.
John D. York from Atlanta, Georgia visited this cemetery in 1961. He states that he never noticed Seaborn Gilmore's headstone, but "came upon a single tombstone, lying flat in grass and weeds (no trees then!): Mrs. E. O. Anderson 9-25-1849 - 8-1-1867."
Mike Patterson [Tarrant County Historical Commission] states that Mr. York didn't see Gilmore's stone in 1961 because he didn't obtain it from the Veterans Administration until sometime in the late '70's or early '80's.
Dallas Morning News, March 5, 1890, Page 3
The old graveyard across the river on the Mitchell place, through which runs the extension of the Denver from Hodge into the city, is one of the oldest graveyards in Tarrant County. All that was mortal of J. B. York, the first sheriff of Tarrant Co., and S. Gilmore, the first county judge, was buried there; and citizens whose vigor and nerve laid the foundation for Fort Worth's greatness have slept undisturbed in this spot for a third of a century. The railroad company offered to furnish metallic cases and pay all expenses of removing the bodies to the place where the living may wish them buried. It is very probable that some heavy damage suits will result from the running of the road through the graveyard.
[Someone handed this abstract to me at a meeting of the Fort Worth Genealogical Society two or three years ago and I stuck it in the back of my notebook ,only to be rediscovered a few weeks ago. I would like to give credit to the rightful person, but I just cannot remember.]
See also the 1923 Fort Worth
Star-Telegram article where Martha Ellen (Gilmore) Mitchell makes
the claim that she is the first white child born in Tarrant County.
My interest goes back to when my Mom read the articles in the Star Telegram (1999-2000) about the Mitchell Cemetery and some other cemeteries that were in bad shape. She told me that as a kid her grand-uncle and father told her that her ancestors once owned most of Diamond Hill and she was related to Seaborne Gilmore and his family was one of the pioneers of Tarrant County. I went to visit Mitchell Cemetery when it was a hobo jungle in 1999. I made a rubbing of Seaborne's tombstone and took it to her, she had been sick and was on oxygen and a walker, so she could not make the walk to see it in person.
I did a lot of research and got back to the mid 1800s, but never to Seaborne, last week I made the connection. My Mom is Seaborne's first cousin 6 generations removed. Her mom was a Gilmore descended from Humphrey Gilmore. Seaborne's father was Euriah, which was Humphrey's brother. Too late to tell Mom, she passed last November, but her childhood recollections were right. Now I feel a personal connection and want to help with the cemetery's restoration.
I also discovered that my Mom's great-aunt, great-great-grandparents are the Gilmore's in Pioneer's Rest Cemetery. The other Gilmore's buried amongst my ancestors are from Zach Gilmore's family. He was a barber in downtown in the "Hell's Half Acre" era in the late 1800s. He was born in Illinois which was where Seaborne's father died and Seaborne lived for a while, there is a connection, haven't found that link yet.
I visited Mitchell Cemetery last week and the brush and trees were removed and there was some orange construction fence laid out as to possibly define the boundaries. It was rainy and muddy and I did not venture beyond the first set of railroad tracks. I will return this weekend. Any info would be helpful. Thanks for the response to my email. R.L. Hauk
North of the River by J. Nell Pate
This page was last modified 12 April 2009.
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