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Odd Fellow Cemetery, Lamar County, Texas
LOCATION: Odd Fellow Cemetery is located in the NORtheast quadrant of the county inside the city of Paris. It is in Block 189 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993.
DIRECTIONS: The cemetery is at the corner of Pine Bluff and 17th St. NE.
GPS COORDINATES: 33° 39' 47.71 N, 95° 32' 18.93 W
(33.66325278 Latitude and -95.53859167 Longitude)
OLDEST KNOWN BURIAL: The oldest inscribed grave is that of Edgar Capell who died 8 Jun 1868.
NUMBER OF GRAVES: There are 243 known graves in the cemetery. (July 2017)
SIGNS/MARKERS: There is a state highway marker for the cemetery.

Historic Texas Cemetery: No    Texas Historical Commission Marker: No

LAST ENUMERATION: The cemetery was recorded by Ron Brothers in September 1990 and supplemented by records of John Clawson in December 1992.
ADD'L INFORMATION: The cemetery was not well kept and has been vandalized through the years.

The Paris Morning News, Thursday, Feb. 21, 1929: "IOOF Cemetery Here Improved- The Odd Fellows cemetery at the corner of Pine Bluff and Thirty-third streets, has undergone extensive improvement, under direction of the trustees of Widley lodge No. 21 I.O.O.F., and now presents a well kept and most attractive appearance. Two men were employed for a week, first giving a deep plowing and then harrowing the entire cemetery and finally hand-raking it. Drives and walks have been cleared and laid out again, and most of the monuments straightened. A hedge is to be planted as soon as the underbrush growth is entirely killed out, and later in the spring members of Paris Rebekah lodge will have charge of planting annuals. Over a year ago, the city was granted a six-foot strip of the property on the west side for widening 33rd street, and with the present improvement work the lodge has demonstrated an outstanding example of civic pride. The trustees who have charge of the lodge's property are F. C. Bramhall, A. S. Guthrie and A. L. Stephenson."

From THE GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF NORTHEAST TEXAS NEWSLETTER #2, dated 14 Aug 1981, p.3, an article titled "Silent Cities" by Elizabeth Booth: "When the Odd Fellows saw the need for land to be used as a cemetery the association bought, on June 1, 1871, a square of four lots from the Evergreen Cemetery Association. Realizing the space would soon be used, the lodge, in 1873, bought from K. L. Tudor, 1 1/2 acres plus 110 1/2 poles of ground. Later the city of Paris acquired a small piece of ground adjoining those of the Odd Fellows which was used for the burial of paupers."

The Rodgers and Wade Records established the first evidence of some sort of Jewish Burial ground but its location was not certain. It is believed it was part of Oddfellow Cemetery. According to Don Teter, President of the Texas Jewish Society, 5013 Glenhaven, Baytown, TX 77521, who submitted the following on 27 Aug 1994: "It has been reported to me by two sources that there were Jewish persons from Oklahoma buried in that cemetery because they couldn't or wouldn't be buried in Oklahoma, which was an Indian Territory at that time. A New York Jewish Burial Society, reportedly in 1906, disinterred some number of bodies and had them reburied in New York and elsewhere."

The Paris News, 3 Jun 1954, "Backward Glances," by A. W. Neville: "Shallow Graves Caused Protest- Many years ago the city had to bury persons who were classed as paupers, having no relatives to do that final service. East of the Odd Fellows Cemetery the city owned a small piece of ground that was used for that purpose. It had no care and was covered by grass, weeds and underbrush. In 1895 a citizen living east of this ground told the council that the county was burying paupers there, that the graves were so shallow as to be a threat to sanitation, and he asked that burials there be discontinued. Later that year a committee reported that 11 acres about two miles northeast of the public square could be bought from P. M. Chisum for $20 an acre, and that the county would pay for six acres if the city would pay for the other five acres, the ground to be used for pauper burials. The council decided to buy, but by a close vote, 4 to 3, one alderman being absent. The council at this same session had a petition signed by a number, of citizens, asking that future burials in the old cemetery on the hill in northwest Paris be prohibited, and the petition was 'received and filed,' meaning that no action was taken and that it was pigeonholed. The council did not forbid burials there because occasionally a descendant of some old-timer buried there died and the family wished the body to be laid beside those buried there in other years. The Old Cemetery, which had been given by George Wright to the city for a burial ground before Evergreen Cemetery was established, was at that time almost in the condition of the pauper burial ground. Some years later, while Ed McCuistion was mayor, the graveyard was made a part of the parks system, was cleared of undergrowth and has since [1954] been kept in fairly decent condition."

i>The Paris News, 22 Aug 1938, "Backward Glances," by A. W. Neville: "City Bought Five-Acre Burial Plot-- Cemetery Near Pine Bluff Street was Causing Complaint So Its Use was Abandoned-- Good many years ago the city had a plot of ground east of the Odd Fellows cemetery, in which persons whose burial had to be paid for by the city were laid to rest. There was no attempt made to keep it in any condition other than that provided by nature-- grass and weeds and undergrowth were rank and graves were dug haphazard with no regard to regularity in spacing or conserving of room for future burials. In April 1895, E. P. Scott better known as (Red) because of his flaming hair, a lawyer, addressed the city council and asked that two practices be stopped-- that persons for whose burial the county was liable were being buried in the comparatively small plot, and that some burials were being made in graves so shallow that it created a nuisance. Scott's home was east of this burial ground. At a later meeting the city marshal was instructed to notify the county that no burials were to be made in that place except those ordered by the city. I do not know where county burials were made previous to that time, but the county had been having to bury paupers ever since its organization as a county. Apparently the alderman, or some of them, concluded the burying ground was about filled and was too near some private property to continue its use. A report was made to the city council in September, 1895, that an option had been secured on 11 acres of land northeast of Paris, about two miles from the public square, for $20 an acre and that Lamar county had agreed to take six acres of the tract at that price if the city would take the balance. The council decided to do this though by a narrow margin, the vote being 4 to 3. At this same meeting there was presented to the council a petition from a number of residents, asking that no more burials be permitted in what was known as the Old Grave Yard on North Robinson (Sixteenth) street. This was read and the record says, 'received and filed.' October 28 the council ordered a warrant drawn in favor of P. M. Chisum for $100 to pay for the city's five acres, and from that time it was used as a burying place for persons who had no none to provide for them. I presume the county also paid its part for the remaining six acres. The burials in Old Grave Yard were not prohibited, because many pioneers are buried there and occasionally one of their descendants passes and the family wishes the body to be laid near the older members of the clan. So burials are still made here though they are infrequent, and the place is tended and kept slightly by the city's park department."

PICTURE(S):

Odd Fellow Cemetery looking east

Odd Fellow Cemetery looking east

Odd Fellow Cemetery looking northeast

Odd Fellow Cemetery looking northeast


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