Hurrah for Morgan Mill!
There are three cemeteries that are located around Morgan Mill; Hightower Cemetery, Morton Chapel Cemetery and Morgan Mill.
The Hightower Cemetery is located on the east side of FM Road 1189 about three miles east of Morgan Mill. According to Gene Williams’ book, Hurrah for Morgan Mill, there were approximately 254 graves with legible inscriptions and 89 graves marked with old funeral markers or rocks without names or dates in 1996 when the book was written. The cemetery had its beginning when Reuben Phillips was killed and scalped by Indians two miles southeast of the cemetery. When found, his body was brought to John B. Hightower’s house and a grave was dug near Hightower’s home.
There is some controversy as to the exact date when Phillips was buried but it was probably in the late 1860s. No deed to the cemetery land is known to exist and Gene states that he did not find a deed in the Erath County deed records. The Hightower Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in the Morgan Mill area.
The Hightower Cemetery working, homecoming and business meeting is held the first Saturday in May at the Morgan Mill Community Center.
The Morton Chapel Cemetery is located 1.5 miles south of Morgan Mill along U.S. Highway 281. There are approximately 42 graves with legible inscriptions on the monuments and about 29 graves marked only by rocks. The earliest burial date on the monument is 1876.
The cemetery is named for the Morton’s Chapel Methodist Church that was built a short distance north of the cemetery and organized by Reverend Marshall J. Morton.
The land for the cemetery was donated by Reverend Morton. Most of those buried in the Morton Chapel Cemetery are early pioneers of the Center Grove community and are related to each other.
The cemetery was maintained by Wesley Slimp of Lipan for many years. Now it is maintained by Floyd (F. H.) Croft, a Morgan Mill and Erath County Fireman.
Amanda Counts, wife of Joel H. Counts, was the first person buried on the land that eventually became Morgan Mill Cemetery. The inscription on her monument is dated Jan 11, 1853 – Mar. 6, 1880. However, according to local legend a young girl died at Morgan Mill while her family was traveling west and she was buried near the road, across from the school house, in the late 1870s.
One of the most enduring and long standing traditions in the Morgan Mill community has been the annual cemetery working day that may have started as early as the turn of the century. The event is held on the second Saturday in May. A business meeting is conducted at noon followed by a barbecue lunch served under the tabernacle.
Thanks again to Gene Williams for his history of the cemeteries. Gene is living at Oakwood Retirement in Stephenville.
He loves visitors so stop by and say “hello.”