Major Ripley Allen Arnold is just one of many soldiers buried in Pioneers Rest Cemetery (see Part 1). Volume 1 of our outdoor history books contains veterans of every war from the War of 1812 to World War II. There is even a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). Among those soldiers who are given fuller treatment elsewhere in Hometown by Handlebar are:
• Major Ripley Allen Arnold, who established the Army’s Fort Worth. By 1905 the Telegram lamented the sad condition of Major Arnold’s grave. Clip is from March 15.
• General Edward H. Tarrant, for whom the county is named.
• General J. J. Byrne, who had a premonition of his own death.
• Captain Charles Turner, who was among the soldiers who scouted the location for the fort in 1849, later operated one of Fort Worth’s first dry goods stores with Ephraim Merrell Daggett.
• Abe Harris, buried not far from Arnold, Tarrant, and Byrne, fought in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and was serving under Major Arnold when Fort Worth was established in 1849. According to Harris’s obituary in 1915, he commanded the squad of men who cut down trees to make logs for the first building in the fort. Early in the twentieth century (1905) Harris was one of the first to urge a monument to honor Major Arnold. It took us 109 years, but finally, on June 6, 2014 Major Arnold got his monument. When Harris died he was thought to be the last of the original soldiers of Fort Worth. (Clips are from the December 12, 1909 Star-Telegram and February 22, 1905 Telegram.)
The Fort Worth Genealogical Society says the cemetery contains the graves of more than 140 Confederate veterans. On this Iron Cross of Honor, “Deo Vindice” (“Under God, [Our] Vindicator”) was the motto of the Confederacy.
The cemetery also contains the graves of eleven soldiers who died while serving at Fort Worth in 1851 and 1852.
Volume 1 of Fort Worth’s Outdoor History Books (Part 3): Civilians
(September 2022: Pioneers Rest Cemetery Association seeks volunteers to support Fort Worth’s oldest cemetery. Contact Melanie Smith at (817) 332-8515 or email@example.com. Pioneers Rest Cemetery Association has a Facebook page.)
Our family moved to Rock Island in 1951, two blocks from Pioneers Rest Cemetery. All the neighborhood kids played in the cemetery and the local elementary school would have picnics at the cemetery during their annual field day trip. At that time, the trees were not fully developed and the Angel headstone near the front of the cemetery on Samuels Avenue could be seen from both directions. At night, kids would hide behind the angel headstone and scare the kids as they walked by. I left for military service in 1968 but continued to visit my parents in Rock Island until the last one passed away in 2008. The old neighborhood had been replaced by condos but the cemetery is the only reminder of the old days.
Been there to both Pioneers Rest Cemetery and Greenwood. My mother’s family is related to Charles Turner. Family is still there.
Wonderful information! I’ve long meant to explore Pioneers Rest Cemetery… and this is a powerful incentive to get over there and do it. Thank you, Mike, for yet another excellent post!
Thanks, Kris. If you have never been to the Samuels Avenue area, look at a map to see how to get there. For a place so centrally located, it’s not easily accessible because of the river, railroads, one-way streets, etc.