Oakwood Cemetery — View all Interments
By C. B. Trout
Honey Grove Signal-Citizen
07 Dec 1956
The name “Oakwood Cemetery” was chosen because of the large oak trees on the plot of 3 acres donated by B. S. Walcott for a public burial ground. It was doubtless called Walcott graveyard before it was named Oakwood.
The first grave of record is that of James G. Gilmer, who was born May 15, 1814, and who died April 5, 1846.
From the best information I can get, the cemetery was opened for public use about 1835. This would be a gap of about 11 years from the time it was opened until the first recorded grave. There must certainly have been some burials during this time and they would be older than the Gilmer grave.
Among the older graves, we find, Sarah Ann Pulliam, wife of P. E. Pulliam, who died Sept. 5, 1854; S. A. McDowell, died Sept. 30, 1855; Robert Tucker, died Dec. 27, 1857; Curtis Tucker, died Aug. 2, 1858; Betsy Walcott, died March 26, 1865; B. S. Walcott, died Nov. 22, 1878; Sinclair Stapp, died June 15, 1870; Sallie Denton, died Nov. 11, 1884.
There are many others who died and were buried in the original 3 acre tract between 1884 and 1891. This original tract is filled by 1891.
Ten Acres Added
An additional area of about ten acres just north of the original 3 acres was added. This purchase was made by the city of Honey Grove and according to records of the time, it appears that the city operated the cemetery approximately 20 years or until all lots had sold. The city secured the pay for the lots sold.
Lamaster Opens 2 Acre Tract
Seeing the need for additional room at the cemetery, L. C. Lamaster opened a 2 acre tract as a private enterprise. He sold this acreage in lots and he received the pay for same.
15 Acres Added
Further acreage being needed, L. C. Hill, C. B. Bryan, J. A. Underwood, E. E. Blocker and N. R. Miller opened a tract of about 15 acres west of the old cemetery as a private enterprise. This acreage was west of the old cemetery.
The Oakwood Cemetery Association was granted a charter of incorporation by the Secretary of State of Texas on February 13, 1923, for a term of 50 years.
When Hill, Bryan, Underwood, Blocker and Miller had sold about 2/3 of the tract of 15 acres they had purchased as a private enterprise, C. B. Trout, Secretary of the Association, purchased the remaining acreage for the tract for the association.
The first board of directors of the association was composed of H. B. Ballew, T. B. Spelce, Miss B. Davidson, T. G. Williamson, Alf Self, Mrs. Ida Rhodes, Mrs. Ella Russell, G. W. Gambill and G. W. McCleary.
Further room being needed, G. W. McCleary entered into an arrangement with H. C. Fewell by which he opened about a three acre tract north of the Hill addition and west of the city addition at the cemetery. Under the arrangement, the association was to sell these lots and pay Fewell 50% of the purchase price. When about half of the lots had been sold, C. B. Trout, Secretary-Manager, bought out the Fewell heirs for the association. Date of the transaction, April 15, 1935, the Fewell heirs gave the association sole ownership of the enclosed area of about 45 acres, plus about 30 feet on the north and east sides of the old cemetery. This 30 foot strip was a road abandoned when Highway 100 was opened. Since 1935, the association has received the entire price of all lots sold in all additions in every part of the cemetery. The association also owns about three acres on the east side of the cemetery not yet enclosed.
3,200 Burials Listed
I have made a book in which is listed the date of burials of 3,200 people, listed by years from 1891 to 1955. It has taken a lot of research work to make up this list, which is practically correct from 1900 to the present. I can usually give the exact date of burial when I can be supplied with the year of death.
I have another book in which is listed every lot owned and the location of the lot. It is my hope that these records will be kept up-to-date through the years as a matter of history.
Some time about 1913 a movement was started to do away with the old barbed wire fence and to erect an ornamental fence. T. W. Trout was appointed chairman of a committee to raise the funds and superintend construction. This project was completed in about 6 months.
The Honey Grove Cooking Club financed the erection of the beautiful and substantial main entrance gate in 1910.
Water Piped and Chapel Erected
Other pressing needs for the cemetery several years ago was water and a chapel. With the aid of the City and a group of citizens, water was piped to all parts of the cemetery.
In 1907 the 20th Century Club, seeing the need of a chapel as in those days undertakers did not provide chapels for funeral services as they do today, erected a beautiful 30 x 30 foot chapel.
This chapel is kept in good condition to this day, though seldom used for funeral services. It has been used mainly in recent years for protection of funeral parties in bad weather. [Note: this chapel was later demolished after a large tree fell on it after a snow storm.]
During the past two years, the Association has had constructed about two miles of rock base, gravel surfaced roads in the cemetery. This project was made possible largely by a donation of Mrs. A. N. Norwood of $500. (Many thanks to this good woman. – C. B. T.)