Lewisville Leader > News
Confederate soldier’s grave is marked in ceremony here
BY DAN EAKIN, Staff Writer
A United Daughters of the Confederacy organization made a significant stride in preserving history at a cemetery in Lewisville Saturday afternoon.
Members of the Lacy Holcombe Pickens Chapter 2615 held a grave marking ceremony, with a new marker at the grave of Capt. Henry Hardin Smith, who served in the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Smith was born Jan. 23, 1817 and died Dec. 1, 1887. He is buried in the Smith Cemetery, which had been so named several years before his death after the family of Thomas Morgan and Elizabeth A. Smith,
Les Cole, great-great-great grandson of Capt. Smith, was on hand for the ceremony, as was his mother, Norma Jo Woodrum Cole, who is the great-great granddaughter of the captain.
Descendents of others buried in the cemetery were also on hand for the ceremony, including Willetta Stellmacher of Dallas, who was born in Lewisville and is a descendent of the Cobb and Sherrill families.
Carolyn Orlebeke, chapter president, presided over the ceremony which included a pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, led by Les Cole; a pledge to the Texas flag, led by Betty Bonds of the Lucy Chapter Sunshine Committee; a salute to the Confederate flag, led by Jeanne Fritz; and the retiring of the colors by an honor guard composed of descendants of Confederate veterans.
The Smith Cemetery, which is rich in Lewisville history, is one of the most obscure cemeteries in the county. It is located on the north side of Old Town, about 200 yards east of Kealy Avenue, just north of the railroad tracks. Although there is a historical marker at the entrance to the cemetery, there is no sign on Kealy pointing to its location.
Thomas Morgan Smith purchased 318 acres of land in 1859, only six years after Lewisville had been platted out of what had been known as Holford’s Prairie. The Smith’s sold two and a half acres of their farm land to the Lewisville Masonic Lodge in 1881 for the establishment of a community cemetery.
The site had been used as a burial ground since 1862 when the Smith’s 20-year-old son, James J. Smith, died was buried on the family farm. His is the earliest marked grave in the Smith Cemetery.
The historical marker at the cemetery states:
“Among the former Denton County family names that can be seen on gravestones here are Herod, Sherrill, Clayton, Skillern, Cobb, Jenkins, Temple, Bourland, Hamilton, Fenlaw, Oliver and Fox.
“John Moore (1834-1922) and Ann Eliza (1849-1923) Fox had the sad task of burying six children here between 1863 and 1882, a testament to the often harsh conditions of pioneer life. Local oral history records suggest that some of the unmarked graves in the Smith Cemetery are those of former slaves of the Julius Kane Fox Family.
“The Smith Cemetery Association, organized in 1950 to maintain the historic graveyard, purchased the site from the Masonic Lodge in 1972, currently containing more than 400 marked graves and an unknown number of unmarked ones. The cemetery remains in use by the community and by descendants of the pioneer families interred here.”