Union Grove Cemetery, Lamar County, TX

Union Grove Cemetery is located in the northeast quadrant of the county on US Highway 82, 2 miles east of Loop 286, in Reno. Or from the traffic signal on Hwy 82 in Reno, proceed west for 7/10 of a mile. The cemetery is on the left or north side. It is in Block 33 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993.

GPS coordinates are 33° 39' 49.2474 N, 95° 28' 27.8034 W (33.66368 Latitude and Longitude -95.47439).

The cemetery was recorded in February 1993 by Debbie Anderson, Carmen Burks, Betsy Mills, Patricia Ferguson, Ruth Renfro, Roberta Woods and Ron Brothers. Mary Justis Ferguson supplied information on the oldest known grave which is the unmarked grave of S. P. M. E. Williamson Evans, who died in 1866.

From an unknown newspaper clipping submitted by Marjorie Abbott Gillispie; 1915 10th St., Wichita Falls, TX, 76301: '... History of the cemetery... In the early eighteen forties O. J. Evans came to Lamar County from Arkansas. He had a number of slaves. He got from the state several acres of land and settled about four miles east of Paris. This land was all in timber. He cut logs and built his house out of logs about 1/2 mile south of the now Union Grove Cemetery. The following is a report given by some of his descendants in the middle or late fifties. One of Mr. Evan's slaves died; it was his favorite cook. He buried her in a grove of big oak trees about 1/2 mile north of his house. Some years later one of Mr. Evans' family died and he buried them near this grave. He later set apart about one acre of land for a community cemetery. As time passed, he divided a portion of his land among his children. His oldest son, Rance, got the part the cemetery was on. Book U.2 page 221 of the deeds and records of Lamar County show that about another acre was added to the cemetery on the west and about 1/2 acre on the east side. This was for school and church. All denominations to have use of it, but the Mormons. A house was built on the east side on this ground. As it was to several denominations (but Mormons) and was in a grove of big oak trees, it was named Union Grove. We failed to find where O. J. Evans ever made any kind of a court record of the first part of this cemetery. But in Book U.2 deed and records of Lamar County, page 221 shows that Rance Evans made a deed to all of his land to C. A. Dewitt, Alford Evans and A. J. Ritchey, Trustees, for $10.00. More land was added to the cemetery in 1919. Book 178, page 138 shows where Mrs. Martha Beckham made a deed to A. O. Easton, C. C. Bills, and Leonard Ewer for $150.00. This addition is on the north side of (church and school) parking lot. The earliest burial recorded we have in the first part of this is that of C. R. Hamilton, died 10 Aug 1867, located in Row 8, lot no. 62 west side. First burial in the addition north of parking lot is Mrs. W. A. (Ona Bevill) Nash, died January 8, 1920. In August 1930 at a meeting at the cemetery it was voted to form an association and try to raise money and have the cemetery worked with hired labor. H. B. Crow, Clifford Secrest and Bob Nash were elected to operate the association. In early 1931 we got this book and started the work, could get labor for 7 1/2 and 10 cents per hour, then we also started to gathering the history and who and where they were buried as this was the first book that was ever to be used to keep a record on the cemetery. R. T. Nash acting secretary and treasurer. This book will show what we have done on down through the years. In August 1946 a new association was organized to be known as the Union Grove Cemetery Association; J. W. Blackburn, president; Haden Easton, vice president and R. T. Nash, secretary and treasurer, A. C. Arnold, C. C. Bills and R. T. Nash, Trustees. In 1962 a new book was got and the cemetery was checked for lost and unmarked graves and all found, a marker was put up. The new book shows all rows numbered and each lot numbered 4 1/2 feet to each lot they are numbered from south to north. Rows in old part are numbered from east to west, in new part from west to east.' There are 1206 graves.

Cemetery photo courtesy of Lawrence and Sue Dale.

 

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