Oak Cliff Cemetery
Originally known as BEATY Cemetery
LOCATION: 1300 E. 8th Street (E. of I-35), Dallas, TX (Oak Cliff) - View on Google Maps
MAPSCO REFERENCE: 55B
CARETAKERS: Oak Cliff Cemetery Association, 10455 N. Central Expwy., #109-205, Dallas, Texas 75231
The Oak Cliff Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Dallas County, dating back to the 1830s when William Beaty settled here in a vast wilderness with the Trinity River flowing a short distance away. As we see the cemetery today we can only imagine what the area was like then compared to the development that has transpired since Mr. Beaty came here.
This cemetery had not been properly cared for and fell into disrepair in the 1940s and early 1950s. To remedy this situation the Oak Cliff Cemetery Association was formed in the late 1950s.
Reading over the notes of Mr. William Merrick Miller, Jr. it seems that a ledger was kept beginning around 1905 or so. We were able to determine that cards were also kept (perhaps for each lot) to record burial information. In the late 1950s Mr. Miller made a new ledger book, recording the inscriptions and making a new set of cards. The ledger book Mr. Miller compiled has survived, but we understand the rest of the records (the old book and cards) were destroyed by fire in the 1970s. For more detailed information about the records in Mr. Miller's own words, see the Appendix on page 236.
In the summer of 1993, the Dallas Genealogical Society embarked on this project intending to record all of the inscriptions on this ten acre site. As we recorded the approximately 2,500 marked graves, it became obvious that there were hundreds of unmarked graves. The project has taken several years and has been updated through March 1997.
The Oak Cliff Cemetery Association was kind enough to loan the ledger that Mr. Miller made, to these editors. We literally went through the ledger page by page and gathered all information that could be gleaned for individuals interred that did not have markers. By doing this, we accounted for approximately 2,500 to 3,000 additional interments for which there were no markers. Although the earliest burials in the cemetery date from the 1840s, the burial records did not start until the early part the twentieth century, therefore there are many individuals buried in this cemetery for which there is no record of interment. If it had not been for Mr. Millers efforts the interments of many individuals with unmarked graves would be lost forever.
After all the data was gathered, the editors arranged it order by sections and lots starting with the marked graves. At this stage we found many discrepancies between the actual and the recorded locations. There were also discrepancies in the spelling of many names, as well as, transposing of given and surname. With the sources available (Texas Death Certificate Index, etc.) we were able to identify and correct the data for many individuals.
Mr. Miller had drawn a rough draft of the layout of the cemetery. Using this as a guide, a new map was drawn correcting conflicting information. At the beginning of this book on page 2, we have used a map showing the location of the sections in the cemetery. There is a detailed map of each section at the beginning of the inventory of that section.
In the text it is indicated if there is a marker (MARKER) or if the grave has no marker (NO MARKER). For those having no marker, the information is from the Oak Cliff Cemetery Burial records (OCCB:) unless otherwise indicated. The date given is usually date of burial rather than date of death. For entries having a marker, the date of burial is added in brackets if recorded in the Oak Cliff Cemetery Burial records. Any additional information from the burial records is added in brackets to the entry.
We can ascertain that Mr. Miller was proud of the work he did and perhaps felt very rewarded as do the editors. This has been a major task and a most rewarding one.!
Many Dallas Genealogical Society volunteers spent countless hours searching and copying the inscription information for this volumne, while others helped proof read the typed version. A massive project such as this one could never be finished if it were not for volunteers working together as a team.
Dorothy Odom Bruce, Bernard M. Coffey, Leslie Collier, Pattie Perkins Darnell, Rubyann T. Darnel, Chan Edmondson, Nat Harris, Sue Harris, Nancy Wilson Humphrey, Adrienne Bird Jamieson, Sammie Townsend Lee, Francis A. Lindell, Helen Mason Lu, Jan McFarland, Joyce Martin Murray, Lillie S. Page, Margret H. Pearce, Harry Stevenson, Markaleeta Stevenson, Betty B. Street, Laurie G. Wharton
We also wish to thank the Oak Cliff Cemetery Association and its president, David O. Eisenlohr, for the use of their records and their continued support in our endeavor.
TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION MARKER TEXT:
Kentucky Native William S. BEATY came to Texas during its early days as a republic and received a grant of 640 acres of land. He and his brother, Josiah, who arrived in 1836, settled along the Trinity River in what is now Dallas County. The settlement that developed around their property first was called HORD'S RIDGE and became known as OAK CLIFF in 1887.
In 1846, William BEATY deeded 10 acres of his land for a public burial ground and indicated in the deed that his brother, Josiah, already had been interred on the site. The deed also specified that the cemetery should be subject to no one sect but should forever remain open to all. The oldest marked grave in the cemetery, that of Martha A. WRIGHT, is dated 1844.
Many prominent Dallas County pioneers and citizens have been buried here, including Judge William HORD, for whom Hord's Ridge was named. Two former Dallas Mayors, George SERGEANT and George SPRAGUE, and a son of Gen. Sam. HOUSTON, Col. William Rogers HOUSTON, are buried here.
Oak Cliff Cemetery remains a valuable and historic link to the early settlement of Dallas. (Dedicated 1985)
The following notes, made by Mr. William Merrick Miller, Jr., in the late 1950s, were copied in their entirety from the Oak Cliff Cemetery Burial ledger. For history's sake we are including these. In these notes he gives his observations and explains how the cemetery was laid out. The "Old Book", mentioned in Mr. Millers notes, is no longer in existance and is said to have burned when Mr. Conley's house burned in the 1970s. Apparently the new cards that were made also burned since we have no knowledge of their existence.
MR. MILLER'S NOTES LOCATED IN FRONT OF THE LEDGER PREPARED IN THE 1950s:
"The Beatty Cemetery - commonly known as The Old Oak Cliff Cemetery, on East 8th St., is composed of three integral parts, 'viz' The Original or The Beatty Cemetery, The New Addition, and The North Addition thereto, the latter of which was dedicated in March 1913. The part designated as The Old Cemetery is South of the extension of 9th Street; and like wise is divided into three integral parts, 'viz' Sections 1, 2 and 3.
Section 1: is composed of the part South of the extension of 9 st. and West of the projection of the 8th street entrance street, being the Southwest part of the cemetery.
Section 2: is composed of that part South of the extension of 9th street and East of the projection of the 8th entrance street, being the south intermediate part of the cemetery.
Section 3: is composed of that part East of section 2, separated there from by a street which is parallel to the 8th street entrance street, being the South-East part of the Cemetery, containing three separated, designated, divisions, 'viz' Sec 3, Strangers Rest, and Potters Field.
Before there were any additions, annexed to the Original Beatty Cemetery, each of the three above mentioned sections, was compassed by a service street making a driveway around the outskirts of the entire cemetery; the driveway south of Sections 1 - 2- 3 was designated the South Drive-way and the one Ease of Sec. 3 was designated The East Drive-way. At the time of this arrangement there still remained an excess of ground, with-in the corporate limits of the cemetery; this excess was utilized and designated as tiers and grave spaces and additional lots. The part West of Sec. 1 was divided into 30 lots, lot 1 in the South-West corner of Sec. 1, and lot 30 in the North-West corner just south of the original 9[th] street entrance. In order to avoid confusion, to each of these 30 lots was appended the suffix W.P. <West Part>, each one of which fronted the Old West Drive-way.
The part south of sections 1, 2, and 3 was divided into tiers and grave spaces 'E.G.' Tier 1, Gr 1, etc.
The part East of The East Driveway was divided into tiers and grave spaces and designated Section 4. In addition to the above, 15 new lots were added to Section 2 Old Cem, on the West Side, that is on the East side of Driveway Lot No. 1, being in the Northwest corner of Section 2 and lot no. 15 being in the South West corner. In order to avoid confusion, to each of these 15 lots was appended the suffix D.W. <Drive Way>. This system of nomenclature, was continued in the New Addition, 20 lots in the New Add[ition] Sec. 1, 16 of which were on the West Fence line, leaving 4 lots to be formed from the abandoned old North Driveway, at least a part of the old North Drive Way, each one of which bore the suffix W. P. <West Part>.
In addition to the previous additions, here to fore mentioned, there still remained an additional addition; on the West side of Sec. 2, designated at West Drive Way Addition, which contains 15 lots located on the East side of the 8th Street entrance drive, and boarding there-on. Lot 1, Sec. 2 D.Way, being in the South W. corner of Section 2 New Addition., and Lot 15, Sec. 2 D.W., being in the North West corner of Sec. 2 New Addition which is the Keith Lot, described as D.W. Lot 15, Sec. 2.
Old Cem Sec 1 Lot 1 W.P. being the Flemming lot.
Old Cem Sec 1 Lot 30 W.P. being the Donnell lot.
Old Cem Sec 2 Lot 1 D.W. included in the Briggs Lot 55.
Old Cem Sec 2 Lot 15 D.W. being the Simmons lot.
Old Cem Sections 1-2-3 South Drive Way.
Old Cem Sec 1 Additional Space - Tiers and Graves
New Add Sec 1 Lot 1 S.P. being the London lot.
New Add Sec 1 Lot 20 W.P. being the Fallon lot.
New Add Sec 2 Lot 1 D.W. Sub-divided into tiers.
New Add Sec 2 Lot 15 D.W. being the Keith lot.
In 1913 the adjoining North Addition was dedicated and a different system of nomenclature was inaugurated; being divided into to sections, separated by the 8th Street entrance street, subdivided into 36 Blocks, 7 of which border on 8th Street, each one of which contains 6 lots; the other 29 Blocks contain only 4 lots each. Probably at this time the Old Out-skirt D. Way was abandoned and the former road-way was utilized for additional graves.
The 1st Burial Service held in the Old Beatty Cemetery was in 1844 over 125 years ago; being that of infant Martha Wright, daughter of James and Sarah Wright, who was born in 1844 and died in 1844, buried on lot 7 Sec 1 Old Cemetery, one of whose relatives: Mrs. Jefferson Davis Wright is still living at the age of 102 years. [Editor's note: This is the earliest marked grave in the cemetery, however, it is believed earlier interments had taken place.]
During this lapse of time the maintenance of an accurate and concise record of the over 6000 decedents, now buried there has been regrettably and inadequately handled resulting in a conglomerated record of individual grave locations. In making an effort to revamp this make-shift record, you are confronted with the chaotic factors that cause confusion and inaccuracy, such as illegible penmanship, phonetic incorrect spelling, juxta position of the first and last names, omissions, ambiguous and obscure field-notes, etc., coupled with lack of perception the part of the recorder vendors a perfect record out of question; however a poor record is better than no record and accordingly the following one is dedicated to the deceased in mates of the Old Oak Cliff Cemetery at large.
It is to be regretted that the care and upkeep of said cemetery has been such during the last decade, that it has become a mortification to the descendants of some of the prime pioneers of Dallas and Oak Cliff, who are buried there. <Note> The preceding treatise, regarding the cemetery was based entirely, on logical deductions, rather than on personal knowledge of recorder."
MR. MILLER'S NOTE LOCATED ON THE LAST PAGE OF THE LEDGER PREPARED IN THE 1950s:
"Mr. Conley: Am sorry that I did not live to finish the book and the card system. The unchecked names in the old book signify that they are not recorded in the new book. After the unfinished listing of all names not already listed in the new book, but are listed in the Old Book, it will be necessary to make an alphabetical chronological index. The numeral in front of the name listed is the no. of the card on which the listed name will appear.
I thought that I would die last night but was ready. Had the assurance of a 'mansion not built with hands.'
Be sure and pick up the three extra cigar boxes of cards so that someone can make new correct cards."
MR. MILLER'S NOTE FOUND NEAR THE END OF THE 1917 BURIAL LISTING:
"'Note' Unable to find original death record for the period from Nov. 16th 1916 to Jan. 1, 1918, consequently this 1917 record is not complete."
Additional Notes and Comments:
The North Addition, Section 1 and Section 2
Developed for use and dedicated in 1913. Inventory begins in the southwest corner of Tier 3. Each of the three tiers was inventoried from south to north. The North Addition was laid out in blocks and numbered beginning in Section 1 and continued into Section 2. It is important to note that the block numbers are only for those in this section. These are not consecutive since some of the block numbers fall in Section 2.
New Addition Section 1
Inventory is arranged by lot number. In this section, the lots made from the west and north driveways are distinguished from other lots having the same number by the addition of 'aa' or 'a'.
New Section 2 Driveway
Inventory is arranged by lot number. Driveway lots 1 through 15 were made from the east part of the present west driveway and are numbered from south to north.
New Section 3 Driveway
The old driveway at the north end of this section was made into five lots numbered 1 through 5. These lots are numbered from the east fence to the present driveway.
New Section 3 Tiers
New Section 4 Tiers
This Section was made from property east of the old east driveway in the lower east portion of Section III and is called Section IV. Only two markers are in evidence in this section, although there are signs of graves and quite a few interments are recorded in the burial records. Inventory is arranged by tier number beginning next to the east fence to the west. The graves are numbered from south to north.
African American Section
This sectionis located at the far south end of the cemetery. There are a large number of unmarked graves and a number of old funeral home markers visible but illegible. Markers are very scattered and some parts of this area are heavily overgrown by vines, but well kept. This inventory was made in August 1992 by the Dallas Genealogical Society. In 1972 Ms Laura Overturf made an inventory of this section which was published in "Texas Kin", Historical & Genealogical Society, Vol. 2, No. 4, Balch Springs, TX, 1972. Any additional information that could be gleaned from Ms Overturf's inventory list is added in brackets [Overturf].
Since this section is not laid out in lots, this inventory is arranged in the order it was surveyed.
Old Section 1 Tiers
Sixteen tiers were made from the Old South Driveway. The tiers begin at the east driveway and are numbered from east to west and the graves are numbered from north to south.
Old Section 2 Driveway
Fifteen lots were made along the west driveway, east of and included in Old Cemetery, Section and are numbered from north to south.
Old Cemetery, Section 3
South half and DOES NOT include 9th Street Extension, Potter's Field or Strangers Rest which is located in the north half.
Stranger's Rest consisted of unreserved lots so that persons needing one or two spaces could select from this area without committing to a full portion of a regular lot as found in other areas of this cemetery. Possibly relatives may be buried near to each other, however, others may be buried some distance apart subject to lot availability at the time of interment. There are many unmarked graves in this portion of the section and since the tiers are not straight, the location given may vary slightly.
Tiers "0" and "1" were made from a strip of land along the east driveway and recorded as Driveway Lots with the lot numbers running from north to south. Tier "2" begins in the southeast corner of Stranger's Rest. The tiers are numbered from east to west and the lots are numbered from south to north. There seems to be some confusion in the way the tiers were recorded in the Oak Cliff Cemetery Burial Ledger. Although Tier 2 is the first row west of the east fence, it appears that some recorders thought this was Tier 1 and counted the tiers as if it were Tier 1. Therefore, it seems that some were recorded in the tier east of where they are actually interred, thus this is possibly why so many are recorded with the same lot number. We could not be sure which tier they were in unless there was a marker.
Abbreviations used in the inventory:
? or __(?) unsure of reading
* Joint marker (look for additional name/names)
a or aa designation used to distinguish lots having same #
A-A African American section
A2C Airman 2nd Class
AAF Army Air Force
AC Air Corps
ACMM Aviation Chief Machinist's Mate
AF & AM Ancient Free & Accepted Masons
b/d born & died
b/o brother of
BM & PIU Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers Independent Union
BOM Base Operation Manager
BSA Boy Scouts of America
BSM Bronze Star Medal
c/o child of
CAC Coast Artillery Corps
CEM Chief Electrician's Mate
ch child or children
Co Company or County
CRT Children of the Republic of Texas
CSA Confederate States of America
CWO Chief Warrant Officer
d/o daughter of
DAR Daughters of the American Revolution
DFC Distinguished Flying Cross
DGS Dallas Genealogical Society
DWL Driveway lot
ES or OES Order of Eastern Star
f/o father of
FA (Navy) Fireman Apprentice
FA Field Artillery
FCB abbreviation not identified
FLT abbreviation not identified
h/o husband of
HA Hospital Apprentice
IBEW International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
inf/o infant of
IOF Independent Order of Foresters
IOOF Independent Order of Odd Fellows
K of P Knights of Pythias
KOTM abbreviation not identified
LA Light Artillery
LU Local Union
M/M Mr. & Mrs.
Mason Masonic emblem
MM Machinist's Mate
m/o mother of
MSGT Master Sergeant
MTD Rifles Mounted Rifles
MWA Modern Woodman of the World
N1 North Addition, Section 1
N2 North Addition, Section 2
N Add'n North Addition
NCM Navy Commendation Medal
NCUCV abbreviation not identified
New 1 New Addition, Section 1
New 2 New Addition, Section 2
New 3 New Addition, Section 3
New 4 New Addition, Section 4
NG National Guard
NO MARKER All information from Oak Cliff Cemetery burial records
NPL abbreviation not identified
NSUSD National Society United States Daughters War of 1812
OCCB Oak Cliff Cemetery burial records
OES Order of Eastern Star
OLC Oak Leaf Cluster(s)
Old 1 Old Cemetery, Section 1
Old 2 Old Cemetery, Section 2
Old 3 Old Cemetery, Section 3
P.I. Philippine Insurrection
PFC/Pfc Private First Class
PH Purple Heart
QM/QMC Quartermasters Corps
RDM (Navy WW2) Unidentified
s/o son of
S1 Seaman First Class
S2 Seaman Second Class
SA Spanish American War
SFW Supreme Forest Woodman
SP4 Specialist 4th Class
SSGT/SSgt Staff Sergeant
TSGT/TSgt Technical Sergeant
UBW abbreviation not identified
UCV United Confederate Veteran
UDC United Daughters of the Confederacy
U of NA abbreviation not identified
US Army United States Army
USAAF United States Army Air Force
USAF United States Air Force
USCG United States Coast Guard
USMC United States Marine Corps
USMCR United States Marine Corps Reserve
USN United States Navy
USNR United States Naval Reserve
USV United States Volunteer
w/o wife of WAGR Wagoner
WOW Woodman of the World
WOWC Woodman of the World Circle
WW World War