Tombstone Tuesday: Evergreen Negro Cemetery

Historic Evergreen Negro Cemetery
Photo Credit: WhisperToMe

One of the most difficult cemetery visits I’ve had to make has been to the historic Evergreen Negro Cemetery that’s located south of Interstate-10 at Lockwood Drive and Market Street in Houston, TX. My difficulty is not so much due to its neglect, or the vandalism that has taken place there for years. Make no mistake about it, the condition of this cemetery is heartbreaking too. No my difficulty comes from learning that many of my ancestors who were buried there from 1890 – 1930 are probably no longer there!

According to Rice University’s news article, “Unearthing the past: Rice group plots historical Houston graveyard,” published 30 November 2006 – [1]

In Houston’s earliest days, a cotton plantation stood where modern-day Lockwood Drive and Market Street intersect. In the late 1800s, acreage from this plantation was converted into one of the city’s first Negro cemeteries. Named Evergreen Negro Cemetery, this land served as a final resting place for former slaves, Buffalo Soldiers and World War I veterans until the 1940s.

So what exactly happened to this resting place for former slaves, Buffalo Soldiers and World War I veterans? According to Lisa Gray, reporter for the Houston Press, [2]

490 graves were removed by the City of Houston for the development and expansion of Lockwood Drive in 1960!

Below is a plat map I accessed from cemetery researcher George E. Wolf, Jr.’s website, Cemeteries of Harris Co., Texas, that shows how Lockwood Drive, a major thoroughfare of the Fifth Ward community, splits this cemetery down the middle creating the eastern and western halves that exist today! [3]

Evergreen Negro Cemetery Plat Map

Where did they move all the graves?! The Rice news article goes on to say,

When the city decided to expand Lockwood Drive in 1960, hundreds of graves at Evergreen were moved to three other Houston cemeteries, but no records exist for the graves that were not moved.”

It was at FindAGrave.com, where I learned that Johnson Funeral Home which was located on Lyons Avenue at that time, was awarded the contract for the removal and re-burial of the bodies. They were to be interred at Eternity Park Cemetery, Oak Park Cemetery, and Paradise Cemetery. BUT what is so unsettling about where the bodies were supposed to be interred —

[t]here are no records . . . regarding the remains and relocation as there were no cemetery lot/plot records and many of the graves were unmarked and/or unknown individuals. At the time of the removal, very few family members were located who could connect names with burial location.” [4]

That last line above — “… very few family members were located who could connect names with burial location” — leaves me absolutely speechless!

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Source Citation:

1.   Wiederhoeft, H. M. (2006, November 30). Rice group plots historical Houston graveyard.Rice University News & Media. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from http://news.rice.edu/2006/11/30/rice-group-plots-historical-houston-graveyard/

2.   Gray, L. (2000, September 28). Grave Importance: Old cemeteries rarely die. They just get buried under weeds, development and indifference. Houston Press. Retrieved May 25, 2013, from http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-09-28/news/grave-importance/2/

3.   Wolf, G. E., Jr. (2008). Cemeteries of Harris Co.,Tx. Bookofdead.Webs.com. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from http://www.freewebs.com/bookofdead/evergreennegrocemetery.htm

4.   Evergreen Negro Cemetery. (n.d.). Find A Grave: Millions of Cemetery Records. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr

Tombstone Tuesday: Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery

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Visit Cemetery!

Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery
A Virtual Cemetery created by Liv
Description: The Chapple Family virtual cemetery was established Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, 2012, to link the interments of collateral & lineal family members and their ancestors. Majority, if not all, of these family members are native Texans!

Chapple, Lewis Blanton – b. Oct. 19, 1910 d. Dec. 8, 1910

Chappell, Carrie Blanton – b. Feb. 28, 1883 d. Dec. 16, 1944

Chappell, Dorothey J – b. Sep. 10, 1921 d. Nov. 13, 1921

Chapple, Estella Smith – b. 1903 d. Jul. 3, 1930

Chapple, Joseph – b. Jun. 2, 1902 d. Aug. 23, 1966

Chapple, Joseph Lee – b. Dec. 26, 1924 d. Jul. 5, 1994

Chapple, Josephine E, “Josie” – b. Jan. 11, 1927 d. Apr. 24, 1928

Chapple, Richard Mary – b. May 9, 1930 d. Jun. 3, 1930

Marshall, Ella Louise Chapple – b. Sep. 18, 1923 d. Apr. 2, 1969

Thomas, Estella Chapple – b. Aug. 24, 1926 d. Aug. 30, 1954

Chapple, Ethel Abram – b. Mar 28, 1902 d. Aug. 28, 1983

Tombstone Tuesday: John Willie Taylor (1927-2010)

Golden Gate Cemetery, Houston, TX

 John Willie Taylor
SGT US Army
Feb 22, 1927 ~ Feb 7, 2010
In Loving Memory

Tomorrow (Wed., Feb. 22, ) would have been the 85th birthday of the first man I fell in love with — my father — John Willie Taylor!

Daddy . . .

I thought of you with love today –
but that is nothing new
I thought about you yesterday –
and days before that too
I think of you in silence,
I often speak your name
Now all I have are memories –
and your picture in a frame
Your memory is my keepsake –
with which I’ll never part
God has you in his keeping –
while I’ll always have you in my heart.

(Poet Unknown)

Tombstone Tuesday: Joseph & Ethel Chapple

It’s Tombstone Tuesday and today’s feature is the burial site of Joseph and Ethel (Abram) Chapple in Golden Gate Cemetery in Houston, Texas.

Joseph & Ethel Chapple Gravesite

My maternal grandfather, Joseph Chapple, was born 2 Jun 1902 and died 23 Aug 1966. After the death of his wife, Estella Smith Chapple on 30 Jul 1930, he married Ethel Abrams Thompson nine years later on 19 Jan 1939. Ethel was born 28 Mar 1902 and died 28 Apr 1983.

Golden Gate Cemetery. Photo by Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson, 8/24/2005

The Chapple grave site is located in the privately-owned Golden Gate Cemetery, located east of Highway 59 North between Laura Koppe and Weaver in the Oak Park area. The older section of this cemetery was formerly known as Oak Park Cemetery. Today, it is a part of the Paradise Cemetery Group.