Historic Mysteries: Efforts Underway to Identify Unmarked Graves at Historic Plano Cemeteries

RESTORATION WORK- Jeff Campbell, Director of the Plano Conservancy,  works with others to help restore and preserve Old City and Davis Cemeteries

 

By Carla Charter

PLANO, TX. –  In the Douglass Community of Plano are Old City and Davis Cemeteries, two adjacent historic cemeteries, where the graves of the first pioneers of the city can be found.

” These two cemeteries are where you find the original settlers.  Plano has really grown (since then), it was originally the size of a postage stamp.” said Jeff Campbell, Director of the Plano Conservancy, among whose responsibilities are to preserve and maintain the city’s historic cemeteries.

“Old City Cemetery, designated in 1848, was started by the Peters colonists, white pioneers who immigrated mainly from Kentucky and Tennessee to Texas.  This graveyard is traditionally known as the white cemetery.  However as the neighborhood began to change the cemetery began to become integrated and it is believed to be one of the first integrated cemeteries in Texas.  Davis Cemetery designated in 1945 has been traditionally known as the African American Cemetery,” Campbell said.

Plano Conservancy have been working to repair these cemeteries for five years.  “We replaced rot iron fences with a new fence, cleaned and leveled and repaired stones and placed wayside markers at the cemeteries, Campbell said.

Among the work the conservancy is currently completing are efforts to try to identify 29 unmarked graves.  “Some markers over the years were lost or destroyed,” Campbell said.   The conservancy used ground penetrating radar to determine the location and number of these unmarked graves at the two cemeteries.

The conservancy is working with the Plano Friends of the Old City Cemetery and the Haggard Library to identify those unmarked graves. “Both the library and the friends group have developed a list of people buried at the cemeteries,” Campbell said.

The Conservancy is planning to honor those in the unmarked graves with either individual site markers or a granite stone marker memorializing the graves.

More information on the Plano Conservancy can be found at www.planoconservancy.org. Campbell is still looking for information on the  unmarked graves.  Anyone who knows of a family member who may be buried in these cemeteries can contact Campbell at jcampbell@planoconservancy.org