The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 164
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
archaeologists working for the Texas Department of Transportation ex-
humed 1,157 graves from approximately one acre of the four-acre
While researching the history of Freedman's Cemetery, and particu-
larly its origin, it became obvious that contrary to popular belief, the
cemetery could not have been in existence prior to Emancipation and
therefore did not contain slave burials. Freedman's Cemetery was found-
ed on April 29, 1869, when Samuel Eakins, acting as trustee for the "col-
ored people of the town of Dallas," purchased one acre from William H.
Boales for the sum of twenty-five dollars. This cemetery is located ap-
proximately two miles northeast of the county courthouse, or one and a
half miles outside the Dallas city limits, as originally defined by the state
legislature when the town was incorporated on February 2, 1856.E
In the 185os, the acreage that would later become Freedman's Ceme-
tery would have seemed decidedly remote and totally unremarkable in
relationship to the small town. Indeed, Dallas County land deeds clearly
record that this tract was the private property of William H. Boales, part
of a sixty-acre tract purchased from James W. Smith and James M. Patter-
son when Boales and his family immigrated to Texas from Kentucky in
1854. There is absolutely no documentary evidence even suggestive of
Freedman's Cemetery's existence in 1854 when Boales acquired the
land, nor is there any cause to suspect that Boales established the ceme-
tery after its purchase. At the time of the 1860 Federal Census and Slave
Schedule, Boales owned two slaves, both of whom were young women
and probably regarded more as members of the family than as property,
as five years after Emancipation one of Boales's former slaves, Jane
Boales (along with her two children) was still living with the W. H.
The belief in Freedman's Cemetery's slave origins is a commonly, if
not universally held one, as reflected in some recent histories of Dallas,
such as William McDonald's Dallas Rediscovered and Dr. Robert Prince's
A History of Dallas, from a Different Perspective. One likely source of confu-
sion regarding its origin can be traced to erroneous founding and clos-
ing dates inscribed on the memorial marker, placed in the cemetery by
the Dallas Parks Department in the late 196os. The marker reads in
2 Texas Antiquities Committee Archaeology Permit No. 991, issued Mar. 27, 1991.
' Deed Records, Dallas County, Tex., Apr. 29, 1869, vol. L., pp. 240-241 (quotation); John
Henry Brown, History of Dallas County, Texas From 1837 to 1887 (1887; reprint, Dallas: Aldridge
Book Store, 1966), 51.
* Deed Records, Dallas County, Tex., Jan. 27, 1854, vol. D, pp. 137-138; ibid., Dec. 18, 1854,
vol. D, pp. 511-512; United States Eighth Census (1860), Dallas County, Texas, Slave Schedules,
Schedule 2, Precinct 1, p. 13, lines 15-16; United States Ninth Census (1870), Dallas County,
Texas, Population Schedules, Precinct 1, p. 248, lines 20-27.
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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/m1/207/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.