300 Front Street
The plot of the land, once known as “the Burial Grounds”, has been in use for about 150 years. There are still occasional burials there today.
In 1863, the City Commission directed burial plots be laid out, although the land had been so used for several years. Plots sold for $10.00 each or $.50 per foot.
The oldest recovered 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, H. Smythe, Parker County’s earliest historian, noted: “The Cemetery is one of the most uninteresting facts 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 of them, Chester Bowen (1842-1905), was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during a particularly bloody Civil War battle in West Virginia.
Several historic plaques mark the accomplishments of persons buried in the Cemetery. Among them Oliver Loving, (1813-1867) dean of Texas cattle trails, and Bose Ikard, (1859-1928) whose stories are immortalized in “Lonesome Dove”.
Mr. Smythe’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 northeast of downtown.
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