The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 163
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The Old Dallas Burial Ground:
A Forgotten Cemetery
JAMES M. DAVIDSON*
THE FIRST CEMETERY, OR BURYING GROUND, TO BE ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE
confines of Dallas, Texas, is commonly believed to be the Masonic
and Odd Fellows Cemetery, now a part of what is known as Pioneer
Cemetery and located literally at the steps of the Dallas Convention Cen-
ter. This fraternal cemetery was dedicated in 1857 during the formative
years of Dallas, but it was not the first cemetery established within the
small town. There was an earlier burial ground, indeed the first the vil-
lage of Dallas ever knew; built upon and paved over many times since its
abandonment in the late 186os or early 1870s, it has now been com-
pletely forgotten. Since the term "old city cemetery" has been used his-
torically to describe the city section of Pioneer Cemetery, this earlier
"forgotten cemetery" will be referred to here as the Old Dallas Burial
Ground to avoid confusion. Moreover, although the Odd Fellows and
Masonic Cemeteries are separate entities, they are contiguous properties
simultaneously founded from a single deed; for the sake of easy refer-
ence, these cemeteries will be referred to as one.'
The rediscovery of Dallas's forgotten burial ground occurred during
an historical examination of another graveyard, Freedman's Cemetery
(41DL316), an historic African-American cemetery located in Dallas
and in active use from 1869 until 1907. Between 1991 and 1994, as the
result of the expansion of North Central Expressway (U.S. Highway 75),
* Born and raised in Odessa.Texas, James M. Davidson received his B.A. in Anthropology
from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990. From 1992 through 1995, he was one of the
principal archaeologists involved in the Freedman's Cemetery Project excavations. Mr. Davidson
is currently finishing his Master's degree in Anthropology at the University of Arkansas at Fayet-
teville. The author would like to thank Cindy and Keith Condon, for their encouragement and
help in researching this topic, Dr. Robert Mainfort for his notable assistance as editor, andJamie
C. Brandon, for his help in creating the illustrations.
' Dallas Mornmng News, Apr. 3o, 1994; Deed Records, Dallas County, Tex., Apr. 6, 1857, vol. F,
VOL. CII, NO. 2 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY OCTOBER, 1998
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/206/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.