Last week when I was in the Dallas/ Fort Worth metropolitan area I had the chance to do some urban exploring with a local friend. Virginia had a 2 day conference to attend and we were staying up by the Texas Motor Speedway. Using Google maps, I spotted two little cemeteries that were really close to our hotel. On the last full day there, I again headed out with a friend to see what was to see:
View Elizabeth and Chapel Cemeteries in a larger map
Our first stop was Elizabeth Cemetery. It’s all that remains of Elizabethtown because like many small towns, once the railroad passes you, its time to turn out the light. While nothing may be left of the village the cemetery is still quite active with burials as of this year.
The cemetery is well maintained and under the watchful eye of a remote security camera. The march of progress has put a modern neighborhood right behind it but one can imagine that this was once out all by itself. One of the more notable features was the presence of these interesting seals on some of the gravestones:
We walked around were kind of amazed at the range of dates buried there. Infant mortality was pretty high in the 1800’s and it shows here. As artists who had to suffer through some graphic design classes we noted one amusing example of the importance of laying out your text before committing to the final design:
You almost have to read it in a Chandler Bing voice. Even though suburbia encroaches nearby, this area is still very much ranch or farm land. Down the road is well house with the remains of a windmill.
This plot of land is a cow pasture and probably has been since it was first homesteaded. The skeleton of the windmill is completely dwarfed by the tree. Upon closer inspection you can see that in this instance nature is triumphing over industry:
The tree has completely engulfed one of the legs of the windmill. No worries though, the windmill most likely hasn’t been used since power lines were pulled to the well house some time in the 20’s. Continuing on down the dirt roads toward Chapel Cemetery, we passed the remains of a house.
Burned Down House
The fire here looked like it burned with some serious intensity. All that remained was the firebrick from the chimney and metal scraps. The rest was ash. In locating this site on Google maps their satellite map shows it burned down but the 3/4 view yields this:
It shows only the back garage as being burned out. From this image the house looks well maintained so one can only wonder what circumstances lead to the structure fire. Continuing on down old Denton road and passing an orchard we stopped at Chapel Cemetery.
Chapel Cemetery was smaller than Elizabeth. It didn’t have the fancy gated entrance or camera setup but was well maintained. The nearby orchard and other industrial activity may have kept vandalism down. Chapel seems to be dominated by a couple of families, Francisco and Raibourn. The Raibourn plots were pretty extensive but right in the middle was this one spelling oddity:
Did Mitchell want to be different? Was he randomly inserted here? Simple coincidence? My money in on the “Lazy Stone Mason” from Elizabethtown who likes to hy-phen words, misunderstanding which Rayburn he needed to use. The last two prominent features here were these odd tree looking gravestones:
They carry a “Woodmen of the Word” seal which I hadn’t noticed before in any of the other cemetery hops I’ve done. A quick Google search turns up that the Woodmen were a fraternal benefit society which has grown into a financial services organization. I would have never known. I’m so glad Al Gore invented the internet.
In all it took us about an hour and half to see the 4 stops on the map and made for a nice
mourning morning trip. The full Flickr set can be viewed here: Elizabeth and Chapel Cemetery