Sure, y’all, tonight is only the eve of the eve of All Hallows’ Eve. But it’s not too early to begin our mummy-like shuffle toward Wednesday 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 tombstone of Maxi-Jean Dixon at New Trinity Cemetery (People’s Burial Park) in Haltom City.
A griffin stands guard at Greenwood Cemetery (1909).
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he’s buried in an unmarked grave in Mount Olivet Cemetery’s Davy Crockett section. Well, Santa sorta. Marshall Ratliff was the man in the Santa suit in 1927.
At Oakwood, a sad inscription and . . .
at Greenwood, an upbeat inscription.
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 at 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 . . . is it still a “headstone” if it’s not made of stone? “Headwood” just doesn’t sound right. “Deadwood”? James Butler Hickok would probably endorse that term.
Similarly, is it still a “tombstone” if it’s made of Thomas Kemp Gaines’s patented “artificial stone”? This “cement 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 6 parking lot.
And finally, the (Vincent) price is right: At Greenwood Cemetery, as Halloween creeps ever nearer, what could be scarier than the late Rod Roddy inviting us all to “come on down”?
Want to know where the undertakers were taken under? When Those Who Bury the Dead Are Dead (Part 1)