LOCATION: McDonald Cemetery is located in the southwest quadrant of the county. It is in Block 55 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993. DIRECTIONS: The cemetery is near Cherry Creek in the Broadway Junction community, about 1/2 mile from the intersection of State Highway 19 and 24 on Farm Market Road 1184. GPS COORDINATES: 33° 31' 18" N, -95° 36' 8" W
(33.5217737 Latitude and -95.6024577 Longitude)
OLDEST KNOWN BURIAL: The oldest inscribed grave is that of the Twin Babies of E. J. and Mae Shelton, who died 1 Mar 1847, buried next to Laura Irene Shelton. NUMBER OF GRAVES: There are 905 known graves in the cemetery. (July 2017) SIGNS/MARKERS: There is a state highway marker for the cemetery. LAST ENUMERATION: The cemetery was recorded by Patricia Ferguson, Ruth C. Renfro and Roberta J. Woods in April 1992. ADD'L INFORMATION: Lamar County Deed Records Book 604, p. 979: Warranty Deed, The State of Texas, County of Lamar: Know all men by These Presents, That We, Nellie M. Jones, Jack Coston, and Edward Tyree of Lamar County, TX; Alice Cooper and Mildred Colas of San Bernardino Co., Calif., Paula Parker of Wheeler Co., TX and Beatrice Ratliff of the County of Tarrant, State of Texas for and in consideration of the sum of Ten dollars cash, and other good and valuable consideration to us in hand paid by McDonald Cemetery Association, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged have granted, sold and conveyed, and by these presents do grant, sell and convey unto the said McDonald Cemetery Association of the County of Lamar, State of Texas all that certain tract or parcel of land situated about 12 miles South from the City of Paris and being a part of the H. G. McDonald H.R. Survey and a part of the same land conveyed by H. G. McDonald to W. B. Aikin and by W. B. Aikin to Charlie Hobbs. Being 2 acres, more or less, adjoining the McDonald Cemetery on the East side. To have and to hold the above described premises, together with all and singular the rights and appurtenances thereto in anywise belonging unto the said McDonald Cemetery Association, their successors and assigns forever we do hereby bind ourselves our heirs, executors and administrators, to Warrant and Forever Defend, all and singular the said premises unto the said McDonald Cemetery Association, their successors and assigns, against every person whomsoever lawfully claiming, or to claim the same, or any part thereof, witness our hands [not dated]. Filed 8 Aug 1978, Jean Brown County Clerk, Lamar Co., TX.
The following appears in The Paris News, Sunday, July 24, 1921: "Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County", by Ed H. McCuistion, pp. 94-96; "McDonald Graveyard-- If the McDonald Graveyard is not the oldest burial place in Lamar County as some of the old timers suggest, it is undoubtedly one of them. It is located about two miles, a little south of east from Howland and almost directly east of Old Pleasant Grove, it is situated upon the original headright survey of Dr. McDonald who was one of the pioneer physicians of the county. The earliest tombstones used in that locality were made from the limestone rock taken from the local quarries and was not as durable as those in later years made from granite and marble. In fact most of the old lime rock grave markers are almost entirely illegible and for this reason it is rather difficult to determine when the first pioneers were buried there. Uncle Gaines Biard-'Old Rock Axe' as he was called- was the stone cutter who marked most of the graves in the olden times. In recalling this fact not long since Hon. H. D. McDonald told me that the very first epitaph he ever saw was carved upon the tomb which marked the last resting place of Thomas Yates, in the McDonald graveyard and that it ran something like this- "Remember young man as you pass by, That as you are now, so once was I, But as I am, so you must be, Therefore prepare to follow me." It was quite the fashion in those days to make every epitaph a sort of call to duty or preparation for death and there is in all of them a plaintive and homely eloquence which beautifully depicted the spirit of the age and the pious cast of mind so characteristic of the Texas pioneers. This quaint old burying ground is beautifully situated on what we who live in a level country call a hill. It is well drained, and for a country graveyard is remarkably well kept. In the midst of the quiet and peaceful scenes of this hallowed ground sleep many of Lamar County's noblest an sturdiest frontiersmen. Here are to be found all that is mortal of the elder Brackeens, Sheltons, Yates, McDonalds, Lydays, Scotts, and others now recalled. Everyone of these were pioneers whose home was really a fort and outpost which served to protect in a Most effective way all of that larger number of settlers who lived in far greater security to the east and north of them, because their flintlock fowling pieces were always primed and the Indians had learned by bitter experience that they were always ready and courageous enough to fire. Therefore, the whole county owes them a debt of gratitude for the protection which their settlements, their strong arms, and courageous and patriotic hearts afforded. The writer ventures to express the hope that markers will be kept upon the graves of everyone of these old heroes and heroines who sleep in this quiet and peaceful old historic spot. Little is thought and less is said about our obligations to these old pathfinders now, but the day will come when the grave of each and everyone of them will be a patriotic shrine. In that great coming Centennial which will be celebrated a hundred years from now, the names of the pioneers whom we hardly recognize will be familiar to every child. Those who have kept up with the great Centennial observed in New England last year can have some conception of what our next will be. We who live today cannot recognize the heroic in our grandfathers; they are too near us. Our children and grandchildren will see them in their true historic and patriotic perspective, and they will pay them the deference and veneration which is theirs by right. And when that glad and fitting day of appreciation arrives then the old McDonald graveyard will indeed and in truth be a veritable shrine."
The Paris News, Oct. 29, 1944, [page # missing]- "Uncle Billy Brackeen Was an Early Settler of Pleasant Grove-Howland Community.- by Joe Caldwell- (Information given by Mrs. Mary Hobbs, W. R. Justiss, Mrs. Lizzie McFadden, Mrs. Jim Brackeen and others; also access to Mr. Ed H. McCuistion's historical data is gratefully acknowledged.) [the story begins with a tale of William Brackeen which is not necessarily related to the cemetery] '...This great old preacher [Brackeen] carried the gospel from the Trinity to Red River, smiting the devil hip and thigh wherever he found him. At his home just south of where the town of Atlas now stands, Uncle Billy entertained the associations of his church and provided food as well as feed for the livestock, for as many as 50 delegates. Not only was this hospitality absolutely free, but 'Uncle Billy' Brackeen built a log church near his home of his congregation, and when he went on his long evangelistic trips, he refused remuneration for his services. Although Uncle Billy was a Primitive Baptist, two of his sons together with Sheb Williams, the Perkins and Jones families are credited with building the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church, which was located about two miles east of the present town of Howland. The Pleasant Grove Church, established during the Civil War, is said to antedate other churches in the Howland-Pleasant Grove-Broadway communities, and great meetings were held by such porthy preachers as the Reverends Gardner, Billips, Harrison, Cornish and James, who preached to large crowds from the surrounding areas. It is noteworthy that Rev. Buckner held a protracted meeting at Pleasant Grove before he established his world famous Buckner's Orphans Home near Dallas. The McDonald Cemetery near Pleasant Grove was the burying ground for the community, although some of the Brackeens and others were buried in a little cemetery east of Atlas and in another cemetery, now almost obliterated, just south of Atlas. Many grave stones in the Brackeen Cemetery mentioned above are dated in the 1830's but time and erosion have practically obliterated the engraving on the stones. Everybody who reads this article should read the following list of names carefully, then read is a second time; it only takes a minute. These names are taken at random from the stones in the McDonald Cemetery, and contain many good old American names that have made history, not only in Lamar County, but throughout the nation: Jones, Moore, Viles, Patterson, Babb, Parker, Derrick, Huley, McCool, Gatlin, Estes, Scott, Shelton, Yates, Wickersham, McDonald, Coston, Justiss, DeWitt, Hudson, Jenkins, Street, Broughton, Jordan, Allen, Hagood, Crabb, Permon, Freeman, Duvall, Burke, Wright, Smith, Maddox, Adams, Golden, Mathews, Heflin, Brackeen, Perkins, Glenn, Barnett, Tharp, Williams, Vaughn, Mitchell, Jetton, Harris, Strickland. It is of course impossible to give a complete list of all the old families who have loved ones there, as stones are not all readable and other graves are not marked. The above list will give you an idea of the great American families represented in this district. Ground for the cemetery was given by the McDonald family and the cemetery antedates the establishing of the church. Several cemeteries in Lamar County were used before any Protestant churches were established, doe to the fact that prior to 1836, and for some time thereafter, Mexico claimed the district, and Mexico was under such rigid control of the Catholic Church that Protestant churches were not allowed. With the United States in full control of the district, religious tolerance was soon established and very soon thereafter all of the Protestant churches moved in. With the coming of other churches into nearby communities, Pleasant grove was abandoned, its membership combining with the Howland Baptist Church. Sunday School services are conducted at present in the Howland Church and an occasional preaching service is held. The old church at Pleasant Grove has in recent years been converted into a barn and many of the fine old trees of the grove have been destroyed. But the memory of those good Christian pioneers who established the Pleasant Grove church lives on the value of their influence for good is exemplified in the lives of many fine Christian fold, their offspring, throughout Lamar County and the Nation."
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