I braved the heat today and went on a bike ride up at the Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano – riding down to Bob Woodruff park and out west along Plano’s Santa Fe trail (every city here has one of these). It’s a fun little route I rode last year and it’s a vaired one – some wooded creek bottoms, some open prairie, and a couple of nice hills.
About halfway out the Santa Fe trail branch of my route, along Oak Grove road, I had noticed a sign that said, “Santa Fe Park and Bowman Cemetery.” Looking up the hill I saw an open stretch of grass with some old monuments peeking over the crest. On the way back, I pumped up an alley and found the old cemetery – took a break to look at the stones and snap a few pictures.
The cemetery sits right in the middle of a middle class suburb, but you can picture it on a knob of a hill with wilderness all around without much trouble. There is a historical marker – but the plastic is faded and crazed and I couldn’t read it.
From a historical website (they seemed to have trouble reading it too – thus the ellipses):
John D. Bowman established Bowman Cemetery with the burial of his daughter, Julia Ann Bowman Russell, who died on September 5 1858. The cemetery contains two fenced family lots. The large, more elaborate lot with wrought iron fencing, contains the burial of several members of John D. Bowman family, and their immediate in-laws. Among these are Joseph Russell, a Peters Colony (Republic of Texas land grant given to investors led by William S. Peters) settler, and Dr. Henry Dye, an early…..physician. The smaller, wire-fenced lot contains members of the Brown family, who were related to the Bowman and Russell families through marriage. Several marked and unmarked burials of both early African Americans and European American residents of Plano surround these fenced lots. A variety of gravestone types are represented in Bowman Cemetery. These range from the prominent marble tablet stones and a few….modern granite markers. Many of these stones are adorned with symbols and fancy….such as fraternal organizations….and religious or philosophical beliefs typical of the time period. The most recent marked burial in the cemetery is for John D. Bowman’s son, George W. Bowman, who died in June of 1921.
Whenever I see an old cemetery like this I can’t help but be reminded of how many folks died young. Half the graves are of children, half of the rest are less than thirty years old. When you find yourself down and worrying about the latest “crises” or feel the world is going to hell in a handbasket, think of these pioneers and how tough their life used to be.