History of the Biggerstaff Cemetery
Fannin County, Texas
From the Application for the Historical Marker
In the early 1830's, several Jackson and Biggerstaff families moved from Monroe County, Kentucky, to land near Plattsburg, Missouri. There they received some of the first land grants in Clinton County, Missouri, from the U.S. Government. President Andrew Jackson, who signed some of these grants, was a cousin of the Jacksons who had moved west from Kentucky.
In 1854, two families immigrated from Clinton County, Missouri, to Fannin County, Texas. They were Oliver Ivins Jackson and his wife Mary Ann Livingston; and George Washington Biggerstaff, his wife Didama Melissa Jackson, and their infant son Aaron. Didama Melissa was the oldest daughter of Oliver Ivins Jackson and Mary Ann Livingston.
Joe Jackson, brother of Oliver who had gone to the California Gold Rush, preceded these two families to Texas in 1852 and purchased land in Fannin County. He influenced the two families to follow him to Texas. In fact, he gave 160 acres of land to Didama Melissa and George Washington Biggerstaff to help them get started. The Jacksons and the Biggerstaffs settled on adjoining farms west of Hale, Texas, and northeast of Gober, Texas. Soon after arriving in Fannin County in 1854, a cemetery was started on the Biggerstaff property, thereby establishing the cemetery name.
Oliver Ivins Jackson hauled lumber by ox cart from Jefferson, Texas, with which to build the family homes. On the Jackson farm a school building was erected which was also used for Sunday worship. Several descendants recalled sitting at Sunday worship on split log "pews". Church services were later moved into the village of Gober, to the site that is now the Gober Church of Christ, one of the older churches in Fannin County.
These settlers, their wives, some of their parents, some of their children, along with other relatives, friends, and neighbors are buried in this cemetery. The oldest legible marker is that of Grant Clutter who died in 1864. The last burial was of Russell McCarmack in 1935. The surnames of the individuals resting in the Biggerstaff Cemetery are as follows: Andrada, Aubrey, Barr, Bedford, Biggerstaff, Clutter, Daniel, Davis, Duncan, Feggett, Garrett, Gatlin, Jackson,McCarmack, Nevill, Parsons, Reaves, Smith, Southard, Tarver, Thomas, Twitty, Veach.
Didama and George Washington Biggerstaff lived all of their lives near her parents, the Oliver Ivins Jacksons, and reared a large family. All of their children except Aaron were born in Fannin County. Some were born in the Jackson house and some were born in the Biggerstaff house. Their children are listed below:
1. Aaron Biggerstaff - born in Missouri
2. Oliver Madison (Matt) Biggerstaff
3. Susan Jane Biggerstaff
4. Harvey Biggerstaff
5. Joseph (Grant) Biggerstaff
6. Robert Collins (Pomp) Biggerstaff
7. Mary Retta Biggerstaff
8. Samuel Houston Biggerstaff
9. Amanda Biggerstaff
10. William Eli Biggerstaff
11. Simon Pickins (Pick) Biggerstaff
12. Alice Elizabeth Biggerstaff
13. George Woodson (Pete) Biggerstaff
14. Aubrey Biggerstaff - died at less than one month of age.
The children of the original Jackson and Biggerstaff families became landowners, farmers, merchants, and traders and with few exceptions remained in Fannin County throughout their lives.
Of the 50 readable markers still remaining, 20 are for infants or young children. Many others are buried without headstones - their graves marked only with a small bois d'arc stake. The oldest birth date is that of Joe Jackson - born in 1797 and ided in 1875.
In 1919 a Mexican by the name of Ragul Andrada lived and worked in the Gober, Texas area for several of the local farmers. On July 3, he was driving a fully loaded wagon pulled by a team of fine gray horses down a county road when the horses were spooked by a large snake. The horses bolted and ran. Ragul's reputed expert horsemanship was insufficient to stop the runaway team. The wagon careened down a draw and nearby creek and overturned. Ragul was thrown from the wagon, fell under the horses and was crushed to death. He was provided with a proper tribute and burial in the Biggerstaff Cemetery. His small but beautiful marker stands today and is inscribed not only with his name and date of his death but also words of love in Spanish.
The Oliver Jacksons had 12 children, but only the last three were born in Fannin County:
1. Didama Melissa Jackson Biggerstaff
2. Thomas Collins Jackson
3. Carlton Jackson
4. John J. Jackson
5. William Riley Jackson
6. Duke Young Jackson
7. Susan Jane Jackson
8. James Oliver Jackson
9. Delila Ann Jackson
10. Robert Andrew Jackson
11. Sarah Elizabeth Jackson
12. Permelia Frances Jackson
The last three children were born on the Jackson farm in Fannin County. Upon the death of Oliver Ivins Jackson, Robert Andrew Jackson inherited the home place, married, lived and died in the same Jackson house where he was born. Robert Andrew Jackson's firstborn son Oliver Ivins Jackson II, and Robert Andrew Jackson's first born grandson Robert, were also born in the same Jackson house. During his life, Robert Andrew Jackson was called Andrew.
The families of Oliver (1812-1872) and Mary (Livingston) Jaackson (181-1890) and George (1823-1906) and Didama (Jackson) Biggerstaff (1835-1902) moved here from Missouri and settled on adjoining farms in 1854. The Jacksons erected a schoolhouse on their property and this cemetery was established on the Biggerstaff farm. The first recorded burial here was that of Grant Clutter in 1864. The cemetery, which contains about 50 burials, served as the graveyard for the Jack and Biggerstaff families and their descendants. The last recorded burial was that of Russell McCormack in 1935.
Location: From Dodd City, take FM 2077 south approx. 5.2 miles to RM 1550; then go .6 miles east on FM 1550.
More information is on the Fannin County GenWeb site.