LOCATION: Brackeen Cemetery is located in the southwest quadrant of the county. It is on County Road 22860 in Block 47 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993. DIRECTIONS: The cemetery is about 6 miles south of the square in Paris. Turn west on CR 22850 and go about 1/2 mile. The road forks and 22850 turns back to the north (right). Cemetery is on the right. GPS COORDINATES: GPS coordinates are 33° 32' 05.63 N, 95° 29' 58.70 W.
(33.5812173 Latitude and -95.5938468 Longitude)
OLDEST KNOWN BURIAL: The oldest inscribed grave is that of Mary A. Perkins who died 23 May 1862. NUMBER OF GRAVES: There are 202 known graves in the cemetery. (July 2017) SIGNS/MARKERS: There is a state highway sign on Hwy 19/24. LAST ENUMERATION: Brackeen Cemetery was first recorded by Tony and Elizabeth Booth on March 27, 1970 and again in September 1991 by Ron Brothers. ADD'L INFORMATION: Brackeen Cemetery is sometimes called Doyle and/or Wooldridge Cemetery. There is no record of burial of the oldest Brackeen, the Rev. Wm. Brackeen, to arrive in Lamar County about 23 Dec 1839. He is found in the 1850 Census Family #136, as being born about 1786 in N.C. He could have been buried here also. He was a Primitive Baptist Preacher and first settled along the Red River according to Ed H. McCuistion's LOOSE LEAVES OF THE HISTORY OF LAMAR COUNTY. Mrs. Cecil R. Tubles, a great granddaughter, says he held the first Baptist convention at his home on the river, where he fed the delegates and their stock. Both sources agree he moved his family to the area near Atlas. His children were Frankie, James M., Letha, Sallie, Thomas, Mary, and William Brackeen.
THE PARIS NEWS, Tuesday, August 11, 1998, page 1B, 3B:
Passage of Youth - Brackeen Cemetery reveals tragedies of early settlers
By Bob Merriman - News Staff Writer
'W. G. Brackeen was born April 12, 1816, in Pulaski County Tennessee. His family moved to Missouri in 1817. Brackeen married Harriet Winter on Dec. 6, 1837. Six years later, he moved to Texas. He died Aug. 9, 1887, at age 71.
Brackeen was a relatively early settler to this part of Texas, arriving seven years after establishment of the Republic, two years before Annexation by the United States.
Brackeen is buried in a cemetery about three miles south of Paris. The cemetery bears his name.
The cemetery is narrow and long. A chain link fence marks the front, near a graveled county road. Side fences and the back fence are wire, rusting with age, fence posts green with algae or lichen growth and rotting in places. Woods are thick on three sides.
Nine century plants are spaced equal distance apart just inside the front fence. There are dozens of cedar trees and a few oaks. The trees shade almost every square foot of the cemetery; only the southwest corner is without trees.
There were locusts in the trees, and birds, the grating sounds and short chirps contrasting with the whine of rubber tires on pavement a mile or so east.
Inside and left of the gate is a small area bordered with concrete. A long marker with the name 'Speir' at the top tells a visitor that buried there are Betty Margrete (Dec. 7 - Dec. 9, 1924) and Natha Alene (Aug. 14, 1915 - April 9, 1918).
That first marker sets the tone of the entire cemetery, for of the total graves there, more than half, perhaps as many as two thirds, are children, some dying the day of birth, others living 15 or 17 years.
Across the bottom of that first stone is an inscription common to the times: 'They were the sunshine of our home.' On other stones, 'He was' or 'She was' replaces 'They were,' but the same could be said for all the children.
A small distance from the grave of Betty Margrete and Natha Alene is a marker for Cliffie Elmer Raper, Jan. 11, 1900 - Nov. 16, 1909.
Beneath a stone green with moss lies Gertrude, daughter of W. and Ella Stringer, Sept. 28, 1887 - Nov. 12, 1889. Then is a heart made of concrete to mark Edwin Verner, son of Cisro and Bertha Nelson, Oct. 19 - Nov. 28, 1910.
Then is Johnnie Cleo, son of W. A. and D. E. McGee, born and died April 25, 1915. And Harve Elmore, Feb. 23, 1912 - Jan. 10, 1918. And W. N. Cope Jr., March 1 - March 10, 1930.
Traveling from area to area, footsteps silenced by cedar needles thick on the ground and wet from the day's surprising rain, a visitor wonders if the cemetery ever is hardened by sun and heat. Green moss grows everywhere.
Not all the burials are children; only most of them. In a concrete-bordered area, approximately 10 feet by 20 feet, are six small concrete pieces, unmarked, and noting areas of graves. Centered in the area is a marker for George W. Cass, March 16, 1835 - Aug. 10, 1907. Right of that marker is one for Lewis Cass, two months past his 15th birth day when he died Feb. 2, 1903.
There are oddities. J. W. C. Stinson was born Dec. 18, 1812 and died April 10, 1879. On his stone is engraved: 'Missouri Stinson' and 'Born May 4, 1820' and 'Died.' There is no date.
Henrietta Kent, July 5, 1905 - Sept. 5, 1910, is buried near a brother or sister (the name is not readable) who was born Nov. 9, 1922, and died Oct. 5, 1923. A distance away, almost out of the family area, is the grave of Johnnie Kent, 15 years and five days old when he died Sept. 23, 1905.
And there is this: 'Mrs. M. O. Holland, Jan. 10, 1887 - May 20, 1901.'
After a time, the fact of age and death seem to run together. Oscer Hopper, 5; Harry Hopper, 1; Minnie A. Hopper, 14. R. L. King, 17. J. Earl Walters, 4. Infant Son Brady, 3 days; T. Brady, 1 day; M.E. Brady, 1 day. John J. Walraven, 3; Sammie J. Blakenet, 4 months. Sidney McFarling, 15 months; Alice McFarling, 15; Infant McFarling, 1 day; Johnnie McFarling 1 year and 1 day. Fanney Williams, 6 years and 3 months old when she died in July 1878. Her mother, Mary J., died July 5, 1875, at age 34.
On and on go names and dates, until the ages become meaningless. (Attributed to different people throughout history: 'One hundred thousand deaths is a tragedy; 1 million is a statistic.')
There was one more stone to check, one final name and set of dates to write down. And that one was: J. C. Clark. Born March 26, 1836. Died April 24, 1941. That's 105 years.'
This cemetery photo is used with permission from Betsy Mills.
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