Pioneer Cemetery Historical Marker
Submitted by Elaine Nall Bay and Patricia Nall
This graveyard was part of the
Peters Colony land grant of Joseph Klepper (d 1884). He immigrated to Collin
County from Illinois about 1845. The burial site contains graves of five Peters
colonists, their families, and other early settlers. Through the years many
prominent Plano citizens, both white and black, were interred here. Later it
served as the only Black burial ground for the community. The cemetery has a
strong association with the First Methodist Church. It was adjacent to the
graveyard for several years on property deeded by Klepper. (1980)
Old City Cemetery (1881 – present)
Joseph Klepper obtained his Peters Colony land grant and designated a portion of the property as a cemetery prior to 1848. Later Klepper and his wife, Nancy< deeded a portion of their land adjacent to the cemetery to the Methodist Episcopal Church, the earliest Methodist church in Plano, which existed from 1874 to 1894.
After the Methodist church moved, the area in which this cemetery is located evolved into an African American neighborhood and the African American community has utilized the cemetery since the 1920s.
Many early Plano pioneers and their descendants are buried in the Old City Cemetery. The earliest death date on gravestones of individuals is 1881. Five Peters Colony settlers are interred here, as are several other early settlers. In addition, Black pioneers – including Andy Drake (died 1934), the first free African American to reside in Plano – and several African American community leaders are buried in the cemetery.
Although some burials have been relocated to other cemeteries, Old City Cemetery still contains approximately 200 burials. Grave markers include both professional manufactured marble and granite monuments, as well as homemade markers. Rows of unmarked burial depressions are also evident. Concrete or wood curbs distinguish a few family lots. Older European American burials occupy the northeast portion of the cemetery while the more recent African American burials occupy the northwest and southern sections of the cemetery.