Cresson, Community Crossroad

By: Shirley Robert Smith

The Cresson Cemetery

Mr. ALBERT L. CRENSHAW by deed dated July 1, 1895, and recorded
in Vol. 92, page 523, Deed Records of Johnson County Texas,
Conveyed the hereinafter described land to the people of the
Town of Cresson, Texas, and Country Tributary thereto for cemetery
purposes for the sum of $10.00.

In 1934 Cresson formed a CRESSON CEMETERY ASSOCIATION, which was
organized for the purpose of maintaining the said Cemetery at Cresson,
Texas, and operating and maintaining the cemetery located upon said
land, which association is operating and will operate without profit
but having a definite corporate identity:

Now, Therefore, Know All Men By These Presents, that I, the said
A. L. Crenshaw of Johnson County, Texas, in consideration of the
sum of $1.00 to me in hand paid by said Cresson Cemetery Association,
a corporation, receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, and in further
consideration of the correction of said original deed and for the
purpose of making the grantee therein definite and fixed, and for the
purpose of enabling the said grantee herein of operating and maintain-
ing said property as a cemetery and burial ground, have granted, sold
and conveyed, and by these present do grant, sell and convey unto
the said Cresson Cemetery Association, a corporation, of the County
of Johnson and State of Texas all that certain tract or parcel of land,

Being a part of the Johnson County School Land known as survey No.5
deeded to me by Fred T. Vickers by virtue of authority in him vested
by the Commissioners Court of Johnson County Texas, by its order
dated February 10, 1891, Record Book 46, Page 570, to all of which
reference is hereby made.

Beginning at a stake 316 2/3 feet east of the N.W. corner of the above
described land; Thence E. 408 feet to a stake for corner; Thence
S. 419 feet to a stake for corner; Thence W. 408 feet t-o a stake for
corner; Thence N. 419 feet to the beginning, containing 4 acres
rights and appurtenances thereto and in anywise belonging unto the
said Cresson Cemetery Association, a corporation, its successors
and assigns forever.

And I do hereby bind myself, my heirs, executors, and administrators
to warrant and forever defend all and singular the said premises
unto the said Cresson Cemetery Association, a corporation, its
successors and assign, against every person whomsoever lawfully
claiming or to claim the same or any part thereof provided never-
theless, that the above described property shall i.e., perpetually
used as a cemetery or burying ground.

WITNESS my hand this 28th day of April, A. D. 1934.

                    A. L. Crenshaw
Vol. 293, pages 365-366-Deed Records of Johnson County, Texas.

Like the naming of Cresson is uncertain, so is the exact date of
the first burial in the Cresson Cemetery. The original deed is
dated July 1, 1895. There are at least 11 people buried in our
cemetery with graves ones dated prior to 1895. There are two
markers with 1885 as death dates. The first Crenshaw buried here
carries a death date of February 15, 1895, a few months before deed

Some of the first burials in our area were made on property later
enclosed by the Slocum ranch. These few remains were removed and
reburied in our Cresson Cemetery. Perhaps some of these are the
earlier dates just mentioned. Dr. W. H. Jones was the first person
buried here after the cemetery was deeded. He died July 20, 1895.

My memory of our cemetery started when my little sister Charlene
was buried there October 26, 1932. She died of diphtheria at a
few days past the age of two. I was eight years old at this time.
My family's grief, especially my Mother's crying and screaming over
her loss has never left my memory. There were at least two other
small children who passed away at about the same time my sister died.

The cemetery originally was enclosed with cedar posts and a sheep-
proof fence with barbed wire on top. There were many big cedar trees
growing in it and a mixture of smaller trees and vines growing along
the fence row, scattered there by birds.

In early years when someone passed away, their grave was dug by
volunteers from Cresson and surrounding areas. The time for dig-
ging was spread, and many responded to the call. I also remember
we had an outdoor toilet and a tool shed beside it. The tools for
digging were kept in this shed. These two buildings were old and
soon fell prey to vandals and thieves. It was decided to tear them
down .

Mr. I. B. Price then kept the tools in his barn and would bring them
to the cemetery with his team of mules and wagon when they were
needed. He also usually hauled off the excess dirt or deposited it
in places where needed on other graves.

Many times the only way we knew someone had died was to see a tent
up in the cemetery. It was furnished by the Crosier Funeral Home
of Godley.

It was considered to be bad luck to count the number of cars in a
funeral procession in my early years.

"Uncle" Charlie Strain is the only black person I know of to be
buried in our cemetery. He had been a houseboy for the Thomas
family all his life and was the only family he had. His dying re-
quest in 1933 was to be buried by or close to the people he loved.
If this could not be done, then he wanted to be buried under a
tree on the Thomas ranch. The cemetery board granted his request,
and he is buried in the last grave on the right side of the center
road that runs through the cemetery - next to the Thomas family plot.

Through the efforts of the Cresson Cemetery Association, formed
in 1934, a cemetery fence fund was organized. Enough money was
raised to tear the old fence down and erect a new cyclone fence
in 1958. Also a new double gate was installed with an arched sign
over the entrance which reads, CRESSON CEMETERY. Another double
gate was put in on the east side of the front for easier access
to the older section of the cemetery. The cemetery was reworked
by volunteers and became a place of beauty

The Cresson Cemetery is located one mile from the town itself,
on the old highway 171, now bypassed by the new road. It is
located on high ground and affords a view so pretty that you have
to see it to believe it. Cresson is in clear view, and so is the
blue-colored Comanche Peak to the west. You can see many of the
ranches, with cattle grazing on the hillsides, from whence came
many of the people who are buried here.

Many improvements have been made to our cemetery. Perpetual care
is now available. Once a year, as has been done for as long: as I
can remember, a cemetery work day has been set aside the first Sat-
urday in June. A lot of concerned people attend and clean their
lots, as well as other people's lots who cannot attend or have no
descendants. They bring food and share it together. Afterwards
a short business meeting is held. People visit for awhile, then
walk through the cemetery paying respect again to our loved ones
who have passed on. Many new flowers are placed in the cemetery
as expressions of love.

There are several Civil War Veterans buried in our cemetery, at
least one Spanish American War Veteran, several World War I and
World War II Veterans, and one Vietnam Veteran.

Myrtle Price said her husband, J. D. Price, went with an undertaker
in 1924 to Fort Worth and brought back the remains of John Kirkendall
who was killed in France in 1918 during World War I. He was buried
in our cemetery in 1924.

More recently the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Granbury donated a
flag pole and flag to our cemetery. It is greatly appreciated,
adds color, and is a tribute to all our veterans. Mildred Milburn,
Dawn Scarbrough, Helen Long, and others placed flags on the graves
of 38 veterans buried in our cemetery for Memorial Day, 1987.
The flags were removed at sunset.

You never visit and leave without having a feeling of pride and
love for our Cresson Cemetery.