Oak Grove Cemetery History
Cooke County, Texas
Submitted by Jack Ware

Oak Grove Cemetery History

{From the ACTUAL Oak Grove cemetery record book}

Located about 2 miles west and 1/2 mile south of Woodbine, Texas.This Oak Grove Cemetery Record was made up in October 1975 by P.E.Glenn from a book of older records and by actual inspection of the cemetery and is more accurate. Blank spaces between names indicate a distance of 4 or 5 feet for each blank line. If there is are two blank lines between names, it means a distance of eight to 10 feet where no one is buried.

At this time (1975) there is an old wire fence around the cemetery. Row 1 in this book starts at the north end of the cemetery and runs south along a dirt road. Row 2 is the next row east of Row 1. All rows are from north to south. Gooden Branch Creek is a short distance south. A First Methodist Church, now gone, was once built just north of the cemetery. The graves are not numbered - no records exist. Mowing and upkeep is done from money donated and a small trust fund started in the
Gainesville National Bank.

I think in 1920 the donations started and Carroll Strong started being the caretaker either the first or second year. Mrs. Tom
Strong and Bess Simpson started the first book of the cemetery. A few years later the Strong family had to move away. H.S. Hickey or Forest Hickey kept the book then.

In 1940 or 1941, Robert Strong, his sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Archie Crissman moved back to the home place (of the Strongs). In 1948, Nina Strong Crissman asked Mrs. Rad McDaniel and Mrs. E. L. Cunningham to go with her asking for donations to take care of the cemetery (as the people had been meeting and cleaning the cemetery once or twice a year). Robert Strong was the caretaker then. Sometime in the 1950s W.R. Cunningham, Gene Springs, and Pat Ware started helping Nina Strong Crissman.

In 1962, W.R. Cunningham took care of the donations and book until May of 1967. Then Tura Cunningham took care of it until a meeting was called. At that time E.L. Cunningham (who took his fathers place), Pat Ware and wife, and Gene Srpings and wife worked an important part in keeping the cemetery. They aked Mrs. E.L. (Billie) Cunningham to take care of the donations and the cemetery book.

In 1976, At present time we have Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Frederick, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Cunningham, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Glenn, Mr. and Mrs. Dalton Proffer, Mr. and Mrs. Gene Springs, Mr. and Mrs. Pat Ware, Mr. and Mrs. E.L. Cunningham, and Mr. Alba Harrison on the committee. In 1977, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Click were added to the committee. 
In 1980, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Reeves became members.
In 1981, Mr. Rad McDaniel joined his wife on the committee.
In 1987, Billy Ward and Robbie Cunningham joined.
In 1988, Layton and Barbara Kitterman joined.
In 1992, Joe and Kay Eldredge joined.
In 1993, Joe and Sally Nichols joined.
In 1997, Joe and Pat Neal, Dean and Emma Moore, Lyndon, Nora and Lisa
Lee, and Chuck and Lorene Nelsen joined. Lots raised to $300 a space.

In a letter dated 16Feb1976, Carroll S. Strong wrote about Oak Grove:

"My grandfather, George Sanford Strong, brought his family from
southeast Missouri to this part of Texas in the 1860's. Soon after,
he bought 160 acres in the Haggerty Survey, seven miles east of
Gainesville. Let me just say "I remember these facts and dates only
well enough to discuss them, not well enough to argue them. If others
remember them differently, they may well be right."

As I recall, he came for my grandmother's health. She passed away in
1876. Whether he gave the first acre for the cemetery before death or
buried her there on the family place then gave the ground for the
cemetery, I won't guess at, but the abstract will give the date, no
doubt. At any rate the first burial was in 1876.
Grandfather, at the time, planted or reset the big cedar tree that
stands at the head of their graves and their son's, Sammy Norrid. So
the cedar is almost 100 years old this year, or should I say young.
It was a large tree to me almost 80 years ago.

Perhaps at that time or soon after, Mr. Haggerty, of the Haggerty
Survey, gave the ground in front of the cemetery for a Methodist
Church. This can be researched perhaps, but as I remember, it was the
first Methodist Church built in Cooke County, east of Gainesville.
They have been holding services and organized a Methodist group in the
Norrid home and had a curcuit rider that came on horseback to preach.
My grandfather led the singing and used a tuning fork. Those that were
there said he knew every song in the song book by memory and using an
old straight back chair, leaned back against the old log wall in the
home, close his eyes, and on a clear night you could hear his voice as
far away as Gooden Branch, to the south. This is only to tell how the
late Woodbine Methodist Church began.

They built the church building, at Oak Grove Cemetery, just outside and
west of the present gate, on the church grounds. I remember some of the
rock foundation still there years later.

The Katy railroad came through, Woodbine was started, or growing, and t he church was moved there and still some of the material still in it. I can never forget the allday graveyard workings that were held in those years.

Closely following World War One, Oak Grove, it was apparent, would need more ground. I will stand corrected if wrong, and the deed will correct it, but as I remember Mr. Rad Ware, Walter Wyatt, Gus Wyatt, and my father gave $25.00 each to pay for the acre that was added to it. I may be mistaken about Mr. Gus Wyatt but I believe it was he. If so that can be corrected by the records. I think the donations and payment to have the cemetery kept up started about 1920, for I took the job the first or second year. Miss Bess Simpson helped Mrs. Tom Strong make the first book of the cemetery. Carroll S. Strong 1324 Truelove Gainesville TX