Friday, May 12, 2017

History on Headstones

Headstone art
Dave plays golf at a number of clubs in near Keller and never likes to take the same route to them more than a couple of times. This means that he see some out-of-the-way places, discovers things of interest and gets lost a lot. Old cemeteries catch his attention because of the artwork on the monuments and the sometimes odd places they are located. One day neither of us was content to stay home, so we went to visit two of these graveyards that had aroused his curiosity.

Located on Ottinger Road in Westlake, Texas is the Roanoke (Westlake) Cemetery.  In the
Top L to R: Hanging tree, Julia A. Adams headstone
Bottom L to R: Ida Lee Cowan, Turtles
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery lie the remains of some of Denton County’s earliest residents: elected officials, veterans of wars including the Texas Revolution and the Civil War plus many members of the I.O.O.F.  First established in a secluded glen near a pond in 1860 it is now surrounded by housing, businesses, and an encroaching freeway system. The cemetery sits on about five and a half acres and has always been open to the public. The first person actually buried here was James DeWitt Pressley in 1897; however, Mrs. Calvin Abner Sams was buried on family property in 1882, but reinterred in in 1914. There is also a ‘Hanging Tree’ in the northeast section of the cemetery with an alleged horse thief buried beneath it – although we couldn’t find the actual grave and probably not the actual tree! Graves of many pioneer families are located here, as well. We saw several headstones that gave us pause or made us smile. One was for Julia A Adams whose inscription was Mother of 12. The other one said ‘Any mail today Miss Ida?’; we’re guessing that she was post mistress.

Not far away from this cemetery, and across the street from the Trophy Club Golf Course, is the Medlin Cemetery. In 1847 settlers from Missouri obtained land grants on Denton Creek. Charles and Matilda Medlin, along with his mother and brother were the first inhabitants.
Left: Mitty Ann
Center: Somebody's Sweetheart
Right T to B: Confederate soldier, World War I soldier
After the ‘Garden Valley’ settlement was flooded out, the community moved to what would be the town of Trophy Club. Sometime during the move the Medlin’s daughter, Mittie Ann, stood on top of a hill admiring the view and stated that she would like to be buried there. A very few years later, in 1850, she was the first occupant of the cemetery. Coming to this new area was difficult, and is reflected in the number of children’s graves that are located in and near the Medlin plot. Flu, smallpox, and pneumonia devastated the population at regular intervals. Other interesting engravings include ‘Somebody’s Sweetheart’. Since its inception the cemetery has been enlarged, providing burial sites for veterans of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The cemetery is still active; the day we were there, the tent was ready to shade mourners of another person who would always have a lovely view from the top of the hill.

Lichen on headstone
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