Tarrant County TXGenWeb

History of NW Tarrant Cemeteries
(Published Oct. 31, 2002, NW Times-Record)

Contributed by Kenneth Klein
Staff Writer, NW Times-Record

 

The history of our local cemeteries

Our Corner of the County is rich in historical information, and we are privy to have five cemeteries in our area that can yield some information about the past settlers in the area.

The Saginaw Cemetery is the "newest cemetery in our area - that is, the one with the most recent burial being Caroline Muse, who died in 1899. The cemetery is located on West McLeroy Blvd and has about 290 graves.

The Dido Cemetery is next in line for old cemeteries. The earliest marked grave is that of Amanda Thurmond, (1878-1879). The Dido Cemetery has been one of the best kept cemeteries in Tarrant County, considering how long it has been in service, how well the grounds are kept up, and most importantly, the documentation of it's history. For you local history buffs, I urge you to read the book "Dido 1840-1972: One hundred thirty-two years of community involvement" by the Dido Cemetery Association. The Dido cemetery is host to many of the area's pioneers, such as the Thurmond family, as well as the movers and shakers, such as the Hicks Family. Dempsey H. Holt originally donated 3 acres for a school, church and cemetery in 1887. Then in 1894, Dr. Isaac Van Zandt, a pioneer physician and confederate veteran, deeded additional land. It is located on the west side of FM 1220. The town of Dido may have disappeared, but the Dido community still lives on; an picnic is still held annually at the Cemetery in April. It received an official Texas Historical marker in 1977.

The Dozier Cemetery (also known as Harmon Cemetery) goes back a little further. It still exists today, with about 29 graves, some marked with rocks. It is unknown if any of the Dozier family was actually ever buried here, because the remaining 21 legible markers that have been identified to not include their name. The oldest marker is that of Abigail Harmon (1806-1865). Besides the Harmon family, the Simmons and Reeds were large families that tried to settle here. It is located off of Boat Club Road, just south of the power plant. It has regrettably been left to the forces of nature.

But another cemetery yields even earlier information about the pre-Dido settlers. It is called the Jefferson Cemetery and one marker shows "son....died October 27, 1860. It is located near the Copeland Ministry Compound. The five Jefferson graves bear broken markers with the earliest inscription: son......died Oct. 27th, 1860, aged 38 years.

Not to be beat, one last cemetery called Indian Creek claims an even older marker that has inscripted "John Hudson, infant, died September 1856. This cemetery of 150 graves has received a State Historical Marker. It is located (not surprisingly) near Indian Creek, a couple miles north of Dido Cemetery. Although it is on public land, you must cross the private property of the Walsh Ranch to get to it. Then to find it, you must know where it is. So I found an expert, Mr. Godfrey Pegues of Newark to help. He drove me there and gave us the "grand tour" of the Cemetery,as well as local history. The Hudson, Dewees and McCanne families were the movers and shakers in this area. It received an official Texas Historical Landmark in 1985.

Last but not least is the Hodgkins Cemetery. Little is known about this cemetery allegedly located in Lake Worth Village (Indian Oaks). The graves may have been moved to make way for development.

These cemeteries have revealed a lot about our community. We know that in the past, the people in the towns of Newark, Briar, Dido, Peden, Ashland, Avondale, Hicks and yes - Saginaw - knew each other quite well. People in some of these towns would "migrate" between the towns freely, maybe to attend a popular church. In fact, intermarriage between the towns was even more common. Possibly the earliest marriage and the most fruitful occurred in 1856 when W.D. Hudson of Newark married Mary Francis Thurmond (The Thurmonds gave Saginaw it's name). Only the Trinity River separated the area back then, as Eagle Mountain Lake would not be built until 1934). The cemeteries also tell us of how hard life was in those days; families were large, but the tombstones reveal how many infants were lost due to diseases which are almost unknown to our generation.

Bibliography:
Book: Dido, one hundred eight-four years of community development, Dido Cemetery Association
Online: Gage, Duane, Cemeteries in Tarrant County; All known Burial Sites, http://web2.iadfw.net
Tarrant County TxGenWeb - Harmon Cemetery, www.rootsweb.com/~txtarran
www.censusdiggins.com, Vanished Town and Communities of Tarrant County, Texas
Interviews: Shirley Hill, Dido Cemetery Association
Godfrey Pegues, Indian Creek Cemetery


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