Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wyatt's Chapel Cemetary

This is one of the pioneer cemeteries in our neck of the woods... in it's modern incarnation. Most people, if they notice at all, just think of it as a green space in the middle of a shopping center. Quite frankly, most modern built shopping centers and office complexes have these places in them... utterly useless. It's too hot to sit out on the stone benches, and if people do decide to rest for a minute at them, security guards often start circling. So most people ignore them. This one however is what's left of the Wyatt's Chapel Cemetery.

At one point in the history of Texas, families were divided by acres of land connected only by dirt trails through the Mesquite. There were small 'Hubs' where families from several farms and plantations would gather, and these places usually had a schoolhouse, church and graveyard. Wyatt's Chapel was one of these places. Most of these small communities did not survive the Great Depression.
The above plaque gives the names of the 20 known individuals buried here. Other plaques on the below pylon give some other information...

A basic summary: Wyatt's Chapel consisted of 3 acres. 2 acres were dedicated to the church and school, (the plaque doesn't say, but usually the church and school were the same building) while 1 acre was dedicated to cemetery, although only 1/4 acre was used for burials. The stones from the abandoned cemetery were removed in the 1950's. ( I have no idea why) In 1976, one family put a stone commemorating their ancestors who were buried here, and another original stone ( the gray one in the 3rd pic, at the base of the pylon) was replaced.
It was unknown how many persons were actually buried here until an archaeological excavation in 1980 found 44 graves, 15 of which were children. There are also 2 civil war veterans buried here, 1 Union and 1 Confederate. This memorial park was built in remembrance of the pioneers, both known and unknown, who rest here.
Actually, this is a rather nice solution to the problem of a small cemetery in a developing landscape. There are at least 2 shopping centers in Dallas that I know of which have built 9 foot high brick walls around small graveyards, then erected locked steel gates. I guess they figure people don't want to shop when they're reminded that they're gonna die some day... What you can see of them is full of weeds and plastic bottles.


  1. It is a nice solution. Very interesting-I'm going to check on a cemetery in a field nearby-let you know what I find.

  2. This seems so odd to find cemetaries smack dab in the midst of a modern shopping area! Weird! But kinda neat too!

    Why am I getting interested in cemetaries lately now with your posts about them??? LOL!

    As soon as things calm back down here I will investigate some of my local ones for you!!!

    Can't wait to see what Pudgeduck discovers!!!

  3. Very interesting. I think graveyards are so cool. I grew up near one and spent many hours exploring there.