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City Greenwood Cemetery
Weatherford, Texas

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Map of City Greenwood Cemetery

A Brief History of City Greenwood Cemetery

The plot of land, once known as "the Burial Grounds", has been in use since approximately 1852. This web site lists approximately 2,650 burials recorded through the latter part of 1969, although there are still occasional burials there today. (The exception being Mary Martin and her husband Richard Halliday).

No records exist of early burials. However, it is known that families who could not afford to pay either the cost of a burial or a headstone used the burial grounds to inter loved ones.

In 1863, the City Commission directed burial plots be laid out at the burial grounds even though the land had been so used for several years. Plots sold for $10.00 each or $.50 per foot. Plots were sold by the foot for the many families who lost children.

The oldest recorded grave dates from 1859. The inscription reads: "A.E. Johnson, wife of R.J. Shelton, Born in Yadkin County, North Carolina June 20, 1837, age 22 years."

Also in 1863, the mayor advertised to enclose the Cemetery with "a substantial post and rider fence". Despite that direction, by 1877, Henry Smythe, Parker County's earliest historian, noted: "The Cemetery is one of the most uninteresting spots about Weatherford. It is not enclosed. It is sadly neglected."

Soldiers from the War for Texas Independence, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both World Wars, Korea, and Viet Nam are buried at the Cemetery.  One soldier, Chester Bowen (1842-1905), was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for capturing the Confederate flag during the bloody Civil War battle at Winchester, West Virginia.

Several historic plaques mark the accomplishments of persons buried in the Cemetery. Among them are Oliver Loving, (1813-1867) dean of Texas cattle trails, and Bose Ikard, (1859-1928) whose life stories formed the inspiration for "Lonesome Dove".

Mr. Symthe's 1877 admonition fell on deaf ears, and the Cemetery continued to deteriorate. Then, in 1925, an energetic group of ladies formed the Civic League and Cemetery Association. This group cleaned out the Cemetery and removed all the wooden and piled stone grave markers. They built a fence "to keep the varmints out". Remnants of the fence can be seen today at the entrance to Cartwright Park, located northwest of downtown.

For the Texas Centennial in 1936, the State of Texas placed a marker at the grave of Samuel Redgate (1800-1893). Mr. Redgate was the last survivor of the "Original Three Hundred" settlers who came with Stephen F. Austin to begin the Anglo settlement of Texas. He also served in the Texas Legislature.

J. R. Couts, (1833-1904) founder of Citizens Bank on the historic Square (now Weatherford National Bank), supplied the bank's initial capital with his $50,000 proceeds from a cattle sale in California. Trusting no one, he traveled alone with his profits back to Weatherford from California in 1867.

S.W.T. Lanham (1846-1908) was the last Civil War veteran elected to the Texas governorship (1902-1906). Prior to being Governor, he served as a US Representative of the Texas "jumbo" 11th district for 10 years. He gained national fame for prosecuting Indian chiefs Santanta and Big Tree in Jacksboro, Texas. (His son, Fritz, (1880-1965) also buried in the family lot, served in that capacity for 24 years.) The Lanham home still stands on a large lot in the 600 block of South Alamo.

Englishman Douglas Chandor (1897-1953) was already a well-known portrait artist when he met a Weatherford girl, Ina Kuteman, who was attending finishing school "up East". He came to Weatherford to meet her family, and ended up staying. He created White Shadows, a magnificent garden that drew visitors from around the world. He painted Queen Elizabeth's coronation portrait, Winston Churchill, and President and Mrs. Roosevelt, among many others. Several of his paintings hang in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Mary Martin (1913-1990) always called Weatherford her home. This international star of stage and screen is probably best remembered for her portrayal of Peter Pan. She and her husband, producer Richard Halliday, are buried at the Cemetery.

By the early 1980's, the fence constructed by the Ladies Civic League was so deteriorated, that it was taken down. Since then, numerous monuments and tablets have been vandalized, broken, stolen, and destroyed. In 1994, the Parker County Heritage Society elected to raise funds to construct a wrought iron fence around the Cemetery to protect and preserve the tangible history offered by the Cemetery, and to restore its monuments. The fence, gates, and archway were completed in 1997.

Retired House Speaker Jim Wright spoke at the dedication ceremony. He was raised in Weatherford, and served as its youngest mayor. The family home stands at the corner of Oak and Waco. His parents are buried at the Cemetery. While he was mayor, the City purchased the Cemetery from the Ladies Civic League for $1.00.

Tours of the Cemetery can be arranged by calling the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce at 817-596-3801.

Return to Parker County Main Cemetery Page
This page provided by Wm. S. Warren of Weatherford, Texas.

 

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