Woodard Cemetery, Lamar County, TX

Woodard Cemetery is located in the southeast quadrant of the county .4 miles off Farm Market 1503 on County Road 16120 and 16140. It is in Block 64 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993. Deed for the cemetery was filed 26 Aug 1880 (Deed Book K2, p. 111, dated 21 Aug 1879) by J. W. Woodard who gave the land for "burying ground and education of children, given 27 Aug 1879."

GPS Coordinates are 33° 27' 39.3480'' N, 95° 21' 59.7960'' W. (33.46093 Latitude and -95.3666172 Longitude)

There was once a church and a school at this location. The cemetery contains 234 known graves. The oldest inscribed grave in the cemetery is that of Amanda E. Van Matre Woodard who died 10 May 1872. It is said that the first person buried in the cemetery was a Woodard wife in 1856. The cemetery was recorded by Betsy Mills and Elizabeth House on December 1, 1992.

THE PARIS NEWS, Friday, May 14, 1999, page 1B: "In the Spirit - Cemetery grounds has Pentecostal heritage - (Picture) One of the larger and more detailed tombstones at Woodard Cemetery is topped by this statue. The cemetery is on Lamar County Road 16120, off Farm to Market 1503 southwest of Deport. - By Bob Merriman / Staff. MINTER - Just inside Woodard Cemetery is a large piece of granite, rough on the sides and smooth front and back. On the front are the words 'Our Bethel' in big letters. 'Bethel' means 'House of God.' During the time of the judges and after, Bethel was a place of worship by the Israelites. The stone at Woodard Cemetery is not an ebenezer in a high place, but a notation of what occurred there 72 years ago. Engraved on the stone is information that the 'first great Holy Ghost revival' was preached there in July 1921. 'I was a little girl then, 12 or 13,' Mrs. J. W. Devlin said. 'A Pentecostal preacher came to Lamar County, and he was the first on record to preach in the county. His name was Kilgore, and he had a revival there for about three weeks.' The marker says Elder Claude P. Kilgore and his wife, Ella Lee, held the revival. 'A prophet of God,' the stone reads, 'came here to this spot of ground and preached the old time Holy Ghost message.' From that revival, began many churches, the message says. The first recorded burial was in 1856, Mrs. Devlin said, adding she believes the funeral was for the mother of Jack Woodard. 'I have the deed from Jack Woodard giving land for larning. That's what it says on the deed, 'larning.' He gave two acres, and they built a little school house and had church in the school.' Study and services were held there until sometime in the 1920s. Later that decade, people in the area formed a cemetery organization. 'John Roach was president, Jack Bell was vice president and Willie Reed was secretary, that's me,' Mrs. Devlin said. In 1926, Glenna Bell Norrell became secretary. 'She was secretary from 1926 until she died last year. She did a big part in restoring the cemetery. She had a bigger hand than any of us.' Every cemetery has its unique aspects and questions. Woodard has a few of those. A grave marker for B. F. Hart shows he was 73 years old when he died in 1932. That was a good age for then. Next to that tombstone, though, is one for Ella Jane Hart. She was born Feb. 28, 1874, and died Aug. 13, 1978. Below the dates is the inscription, 'Living Legend.' One area has several tombstones in a bordered family plot. Three of the stones are about the same size. One is for Elizabeth Denison, wife of J. R. Petty, and who lived from 1848-1889. Next is a stone for Lavina Lawler, wife of J. R. Petty and who lived from 1851-1892. Next is a stone for L. J. Watson, wife of J. R. Petty and who lived from 1865-1903. Next to those upright markers is a pile of broken stone, neatly stacked; perhaps the tombstone for J. R. Petty. Right of a stone for W. M. Woodard are seven small stones, two with names - J. W. and Hannah. There are large tombstones for Mary M. Woodard (1841-1920), Amanda E. Woodard (1847-1872) and James Tillman Woodard (1844-1926). For Mrs. Nannie LeMaster (1840-1916), those who placed the tombstone had engraved, 'Peace, Perfect Peace."

Photograph courtesy of Lawrence and Sue Dale.


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