It’s time to begin our mummy-like shuffle toward Y’all Hallows’ Eve on Sunday night. So, splash on some wolfsbane cologne, clip on your best garlic-clove earrings, slip a silver bullet, a wooden stake, and a crucifix into your pocket, open the zombie alert app on your iPhone, and let’s take a tour of the Poe parts of town.
Dem bones, dem bones: At Pioneers Rest Cemetery, a weathered skull and crossbones on an old tombstone.
Corner stone: The grave of Martha Daniel sits alone in the northeast corner of Pioneers Rest near the railroad tracks, as if Martha Daniel has been placed in eternal time-out.
a homemade concrete tombstone of Maxi-Jean Dixon at New Trinity Cemetery (People’s Burial Park) in Haltom City.
A griffin stands guard at Greenwood Cemetery (1908).
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And Santa is buried in an unmarked grave in Mount Olivet Cemetery’s Davy Crockett section. Well, Santa sorta. Bank robber Marshall Ratliff was the man in the Santa suit in 1927.
At Pioneers Rest and Oakwood, consort is a term rarely seen in local cemeteries. A consort is a spouse who died before his wife or her husband died. Conversely, an even rarer term is relict—a spouse who died after his wife or her husband died.
At Oakwood, the passage of time has not been kind to complexions.
In fact, being cemetery statuary is hazardous duty.
The “boo!” in “booze”: At Oakwood Cemetery, these are the graves of early Cowtown bartenders. Burial in Oakwood was one benefit of membership in the Bartenders’ International League (BIL) union.
One of those BIL members was saloonkeeper Tom McHam, who in 1914 fired three shots at a former district judge. Note that the arresting officer was patrolman Poe.
Last call for Tom McHam came in 1918. He would pour (and fire) shots nevermore.
At Oakwood Cemetery, a rarity: a wooden headstone. Hmmm. Is it still a “headstone” if it’s not made of stone?
Similarly, is it still a “tombstone” if it’s made of Thomas Kemp Gaines’s patented “artificial stone”? This “sement tombstone” at Oakwood Cemetery is an eternal advertisement for “the cheapest & best grave marker on Earth.”
Gaines patented his “artificial stone” in 1903.
You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave: Tiny Ayres Cemetery on the East Side is in the middle of a motel parking lot.
At Oakwood, a sad inscription. But not every tombstone is a gloom stone. Let’s end Part 1 with an upbeat inscription seen at Greenwood Cemetery: