LOCATION: Red Oak Cemetery is located in the northeast quadrant of the county near the county line on Farm Market Road 1502. It is in Block 35 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993. DIRECTIONS: From the traffic signal on Hwy 82 in Blossom, proceed easterly for 1.3 miles to the intersection with FM 1502. Take FM 1502 northeasterly for 3.2 miles and the cemetery is on the right at the intersection with CR 45900. GPS COORDINATES: 33° 40' 47 N, -95° 19' 17 W
(33.67926 Latitude and Longitude -95.32078)
OLDEST KNOWN BURIAL: The oldest inscribed grave is that of W. B. Harrison who died about 1870 NUMBER OF GRAVES: There are 312 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 October 1990. ADD'L INFORMATION: THE PARIS NEWS, Wednesday, August 19, 1998, p. 1B, 3B.:
Aging tabernacle adds sanctity to Red Oak Cemetery
By Bob Merriman - News Staff Writer.
RED OAK - In 'Southern Folk Cemeteries in Texas,' University of North Texas cultural geographer Terry G. Jordan labels as 'tabernacles' those open-sided buildings often found near graveyards.
'These structures,' Jordan wrote in Southwestern Historical Quarterly, January 1980, 'lend some measure of sanctity to cemeteries that are not adjacent to chapels and probably reflect the traditional western European custom of churchyard burial.' Those structures, Jordan hints, are faux church buildings - incomplete because the structures are not meant to replace an actual church building, yet similar enough to a church that quasi-services may be held.
The pavilion at Red Oak Cemetery, northeast of Blossom, meets Jordan's definition of 'tabernacle' - a church-like building that gives religious legality to the nearby burial ground. In most cases, though, specific pieces of land were in use as cemeteries long before construction of pavilions or 'tabenacles.' Red Oak pavilion is a pyramidal shape, and like most others is more a roof suspended above the ground by wooden timbers than a true open structure. Stacked on long plywood tables with fence post legs are wooden bench seats with backs, having the appearance of church pews. Wooden columns inside the pavilion are planed on the edges and painted white to about six feet from the ground. On one column a grasshopper inspected the visitor inspecting the column. A few dirt dauber nests cling to boards and columns. In other places, pale smudges of dirt show where other nests were.
Just inside the cemetery fence is a long concrete bordered plot for the Baxley family. There are seven small stones with first and last names only, and one that notes: 'Baby Baxley.' A large stone in the plot is for J.A. Baxley, June 13, 1842 - Nov. 17, 1906. Near that plot grow two tall cedars, with one complete marker standing. Several other markers lie on the ground, broken, or leaned against the trees. The standing marker notes that George Miers was born June 7, 1799, and died Nov. 11, 1884. Another stone of similar design is for Elizabeth Wiers, Dec. 29,1805 - May 3, 1883.
Those who visit cemeteries sometimes do not take initial readings of names and dates at first glance, but study the stones, tracing with fingers when necessary. So it was with George Miers and Elizabeth Wiers. And with the marker for M. R. Hanison, whose grave marker is so wom that his birth date is unreadable. The date of his death seems to be the 24th day of an unreadable month in 1816.
Marked graves at Red Oak are in groups and far apart, as though families wished to keep distance from each other. Most of the oldest graves are beneath cedar trees, evergreens and, Jordan says in his article, a pagan symbol of perpetual life. In one area are seven cedars in two rows, one of four and one of three. Buried within that area is, Margret Price, Feb. 28, 1791 Dec. 28, 1880. Also within the cedar area is a fallen obelisk with yellow silk roses scattered around. Nearby is a wife who died young - Junie Tippit, wife of W. L. Tippit, Aug. 12, 1890 - Nov. 12, 1915. There is a veteran of World War I - Dumas H. Heath cook with Support Co., 133rd Field Artillery, 36th Division. On a small hump of earth is the marker for Ella Mae Darden Smith, Aug. 9, 1890-Jan. 3, 1965. No other markers are within dozens of yards. Broken stones and cedar bark also occupy the small hill. There are Civil War veterans William H. Speegle, Co. C, 23rd Texas Cavalry, 1836-1906; and Richard E. Carter, Co. C, 5th Alabama Cavalry. In the southwest is a large marble stone set within a plot marked by marble bordering. Buried there are Barney P. Roark, 1845-1927, and Mira C. Roark, 1847-1905.
At the base of three oaks formed from the same root system, broken stones lie within an area formed by sturdy wire and fence posts between the trees. One marker is partly readable and says 'Robertson' and '1818' and has a Masonic symbol. In an open area is a stone formed like a scroll unrolled. 'Uncle Peter Robertson,' the stone reads. There is other writing, but age and cemetery moss have obscured the letters.
Cemetery photos below courtesy of Lawrence and Sue Dale.
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