First Known Burial was in 1875. The Cottonwood Cemetery is located at 2920 Whitely Road, in the northeastern corner of unincorporated Dallas County. The east end of the cemetery abuts Cotton-wood Creek.
This cemetery is part of the J. C. Johnson Survey and the land was originally located in Mercers Colony. The first known burial at Cottonwood was in December of 1875 with John L. Sims, the twenty-four old son of Elisha and Elizabeth Turner Sims, being the first recorded interment. Both parents, one brother and one sister were also buried here.
There is no known documentation indicating the name of the person that donated the original land for Cottonwood Cemetery, but it is thought that Elisha Sims set aside this land since it was later conveyed by Emma Adalade Sims Spence, daughter of Elisha Sims. The first known documentation recording conveyance of the surrounding property was dated August 19, 1948, and specifically states “Save and Except that portion of said property used as cemetery.”
The original land contained approximately 3/4 acre and consisted of all property directly in front of and north of the entrance gate. The newer section consist of all property east of the entrance gate. This section is slightly less than ½ acre and was donated by William E. and Jessie Rhea Hunter in 1973. Total acreage is now recorded at 1.19 acres.
There are approximately thirty unmarked graves in the old section. Many of the older unnamed graves were marked with bois d’arc stobs and almost all of those stobs have disappeared over the years. There are 201 marked graves in the combined sections. Many of the graves in the older section contain the remains of the first pioneers and early settlers of the Cottonwood Community.
All of the early graves were dug by members of the nearby communities. Fred Spainhouer, Clyde Raney, Hubert Raney, and Oscar Merritt were some of the frequent volunteers. George Nelson even made a special tool in his Liberty Grove blacksmith shop for evening up the sides.
Veterans from the Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean Ware are buried in this historic cemetery.
There was no established program for the care and upkeep of the cemetery until 1958 when the Cottonwood Cemetery Foundation was formed. Carl Foster served as first president with Judge Dee Brown Walker as vice-president and Agnes Eaves served as secretary/treasurer.
Cottonwood Cemetery received its Texas Historical Cemetery designation in 2003.
For a list of Dallas County, TX cemeteries click here.
Photo courtesy Darla Foster Clemmons. Article by Jim Foster.