You are cordially invited to a cemetery.
The Greenwood Cemetery Association is
holding its annual meeting at 10 a.m. today at the historic
graveyard located just south of Longview's Good Shepherd Medical
To be honest, some folks wouldn't be caught
dead in a cemetery. But Greenwood, which the association has
beautifully restored, is a welcomed oasis despite being only a
couple of blocks from downtown Longview.
Greenwood, at 705 Magrill St., is one of
three city-owned cemeteries. The others are Grace Hill Cemetery on
Marshall Avenue and White Cemetery on Brentwood Street.
The names on the tombstones at Greenwood
read like a history of the city: Birdsong, Bodenheim, Kelly, Lacy,
Markham, Mobberly, Northcutt, Oliver, Teague, Turner, Ware, Whaley.
The memorials range from the elaborate Rembert mausoleum to simple
stone markers worn by time.
It was in 1877 when Andrew S. Taylor and
J. M. Cornes bought 4 acres and established what they called Longview
Cemetery. By 1884 the men had bought additional land for the growing
Interestingly, you'll fine some graves with
death dates that predate the opening of the cemetery. That's because
many folks buried at the older Boring and Leake Cemetery were
reinterred in Longview Cemetery. (Boring and Leake graveyard was off
College Street near what today is Foster Middle School.)
In 1905, the Longview Cemetery acreage was
annexed into the city limits and renamed Greenwood Cemetery. That
year, Longview's Times-Clarion newspaper noted that Mayor G. A.
Bodenheim was suggesting that "the ladies of Longview get together
and form a cemetery association for the object of maintaining and
beautifying the city cemetery."
The mayor said the city would "cooperate
with them and give them all the financial aid necessary to
accomplish something. Now someone start the good work."
So they did. Today the cemetery is covered
by majestic oak, cedar, sycamore, mimosa and persimmon trees, crepe
myrtles and ligustrum shrubs. However, by the time the Greenwood
Cemetery Association was organized in 1974, the cemetery was in such
disrepair that the gates were only unlocked for funerals.
That has changed thanks to the association,
which has added a beautiful iron-and-brick fence and visitors'
kiosk, among other improvements. A new retaining wall is being
built, but additional funds are needed to complete that project.
There are at least 37 Confederate veterans
buried in Greenwood. Then there is John B. Levy, a veteran of the
War of 1812. Greenwood also holds the graves of Wortham and Eoline
Levy and their two children, all victims of the 1900 Galveston
On the cemetery's east side, near Fifth
Street, is the final resting place of Reese De Graffenreid
(1859-1902) and his wife, Annie.
The stone mentions nothing about De
Graffenreid having been a United States congressman from 1897 until
his untimely death. With a big handlebar mustache and a gift for
oratory, he was called the "Black Eagle of the Piney Woods." When De
Graffenreid was buried at Greenwood, 6,000 people showed up.
Resting in Peace at Greenwood is O.H.
Methvin (1815-1882), the "Father of Longview," as well as William
Thomas Tardy (1872-1919), founder of Marshall's East Texas Baptist
University. Here also are four people who died in the 1894 Dalton
gang bank robbery.
Anyway, you're invited to today's meeting
at Greenwood Cemetery. (Just look for the white tent). Association
dues are $20 a year.