The Old North Church Cemetery in Historic Nacogdoches
According to Legend, the first burial in this cemetery was that of a young girl, whose family,
traveleling through the area when she died, buried her here before continuing their westward journey.
Oral tradition also suggests that William Whitaker was already interred in a brick vault by the time
Richard Sparks set aside land on this site for use as a community graveyard in 1838. The Union Baptist
Church (later Old North Church) was organized in the Spring of that year. The oldest marked grave is
that of Saletha Easter Whitaker (d.1845). Dr. John M. Sparks and his wife formally deeded ten acres
including the original five acres set aside by Richard Sparks to the Union Church in 1892.
The cemetery historically was divided into two sections. The East side was used for the burials
of local slaves, many of whom were members of the church, and eventually became a separate cemetery.
Other burials of interest include those of veterans of the American Revolution,, the War of 1812,
and the Texas Revolution. Records indicate that some forty-seven Confederate Civil War soldiers are buried
in the Southern portion of the cemetery, and twenty-one Union Soldiers are interred in unmarked graves.
Most of the Union veterans were victims of an epidemic of dysentery during the Reconstruction Era.
The Old North Church Cemetery Association was organized in 1976. With more than
950 graves in 1998, the graveyard continues to be used by descendants of early church members.
The burial ground is a chronicle of the early days of Nacogdoches County.
(Text from the Texas Historical Commission Plaque at the historical site.)
(Next Picture: Millard's Crossing)