Stephen F. Austin State University

Oak Grove Cemetery

To view or print a brochure please click the following link Oak Grove Cemetery Brochure, or for more information about the history of Oak Grove, please continue reading. For information about cemetery cleaning, please select the following link Cemetery Cleaning.

Oak Grove Cemetery

Oak Grove Cemetery Entrance Gate

Oak Grove Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city of Nacogdoches. The cemetery is the final resting place for individuals who represent each phase of the city's history: Spanish and Mexican rule, the Republic era, antebellum statehood, Civil War and Reconstruction, Spanish American War, World War I, the Great Depression and New Deal, World War II, and post war growth. In order to interpret Oak Grove Cemetery itself and utilize it as a heritage tourism site, it is necessary to know about the history of the cemetery itself.[1]

Oak Grove Cemetery, established around 1837, was originally called the American Cemetery because the Spanish residents and American immigrants in Nacogdoches were buried in separate cemeteries.[2] It is uncertain whether the separate burial places for Spanish and Americans was due to preference or religious practices since the Spanish Cemetery possibly dated back to the eighteenth century mission. Prior to the Texas Revolution, Americans who lived in Nacogdoches claimed the Catholic faith, as was required by their oath of allegiance to Spain, though not all faithfully practiced that religion.

Oak Grove Cemetery

Oak Grove Cemetery take from the back of the cemetery

The cemetery is located northeast of the square on North Lanana Street, a location that was once empressario and Fredonian Rebellion leader Hayden Edwards's land grant.[3] The oldest section of the cemetery lies north of the main gate and was set aside for a cemetery from Hayden Edwards original land grant from the Mexican government.[4] The earliest marked burial in Oak Grove Cemetery is that of Franklin J. Starr who died in 1837.[5] Additional land for Oak Grove Cemetery was purchased in sections. In 1858, Bishop Odin purchased a piece of land for twenty-five dollars from Hayden Edwards and this area was cared for by the Catholic Church.[6] Doctor F.C. Ford deeded the back section of land, which he had acquired from Peyton Edwards, to the City of Nacogdoches. Ford deeded another section of land to the cemetery association in 1902.

Oak Grove Cemetery did not receive its current name until 1900 when a group of "civic minded women" formed the cemetery association.[7] The cemetery association lasted fifty years when in 1950 the association deeded the cemetery over to the City of Nacogdoches. After the association disbanded, all of its records were lost. There are no written records of burials prior to when the city took ownership of the cemetery in 1950. The only information that can be gleaned about burials in the early years of the cemetery comes from the grave markers. However, a study of the history of cemeteries in American society allows one to place the early founding and subsequent changes of Oak Grove in their historic context.


  1. Oak Grove Cemetery Entrance Gate, North Lanana St.
  2. Oak Grove Cemetery taken from the back of the cemetery


[1] Heritage Tourism - tourism that involves visiting an historic or cultural site and participating in activities, which allow the tourist to experience that culture as it was in the past and how it is today. Examples of heritage tourism activities include visiting a museum or historic home, eating the local food, or taking part in a festival.
[2] McKinney, "Oak Grove Cemetery," Texas Historical Marker application, 1997, 1; Aaron Schoenewolf, "Oak Grove Cemetery: An Historic Treasure," Daily Sentinel, August 16, 1998, Vertical File, Nacogodches County, CA-CE, Cemeteries-Oak Grove, East Texas Research Center, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
[3] City of Nacogdoches, "Cemeteries," City of Nacogdoches,, (accessed February 11, 2012).
[4] Lucy McBee, "Historic Cemeteries Discussed by D.R.T.," Daily Sentinel, April 9, 1958, Vertical File, Nacogdoches County, CA-CE, Cemeteries, East Texas Research Center, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
[5] McKinney, "Oak Grove Cemetery Historical Marker," 1.
[6] Lucy McBee, "Historic Cemeteries Discussed by D.R.T."
[7] Lucille Fain, "Dan Crossmire's project proves a contribution to Nacogdoches County," Daily Sentinel, February 23, 1992, Vertical File, Nacogdoches County, CA-CE, Cemeteries General, East Texas Research Center, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas; Lucy McBee, "Historic Cemeteries Discussed by D.R.T."