Moore's Chapel Cemetery
Prepared by William E. Floyd, Chair, Fannin County Historical Commission, August 19, 1994
The cemetery came into existence by the dream of two neighbors, the Moores and the Cashions. Thomas Jefferson Cashion, Sr., his wife, Martha and their son, Thomas Jefferson Cashion, Jr. came from Tennessee and located in the area in the 1850s adjacent to the Moores. They discussed many times the need for a burial ground in the area. In the mid 1870s, Alex Moore donated two acres of land for the cemetery to be named Moore's Chapel.
During the 1870s the Cashions were in the process of building a new home. Soon after the completion, Martha Cashion died and was buried March 11, 1876, the first burial for the cemetery. The dedication was prior to her burial.
The cemetery is located four miles southeast of Bonham on the west side of the Farm Road #271. As the time passed, a need existed for additional land for the cemetery. Mary Jane Moore, the widow of Alex Moore, deeded three acres to the Trustees of the cemetery on September 19, 1901, out of the J. J. Haynes Survey, Abstract $299, Volume 84, pages 379-380, Deed Records of Fannin County, Texas. After this new plot was added, the cemetery had give acres which is the size at the present time.
In the 1880s and 1890s there were numerous burials of infants due to typhoid fever. There is one area with six grave markers in a row to give notice to allthat visit the area. During these years the fever was prevalent county wide.
There are 427 marked graves and 22 unmarked graves. One gravestone has a unique statement which at the end states "killed with an unloaded gun." Another large family gravestone which has three different inscriptions is located there. One shows the place of birth as "Moore Chapel" and the other shows the place of death as "Moore Chapel" and the third one shows Bonham.
The cemetery has a history of being a good neighbor for churches and schools. In 1905 a building was constructed adjacent to and south of the cemetery. Over the years the schools and churches used and rotated as the times changed. In 1946 the building burned down. Within a year, the building was restored. On November 2, 1947 at 2:30 P.M. a dedication was presented for the Moore's Chapel Community Church. This presentation filled the room with past clergy, members and neighbors. The program was elegant and fulfilling. The church held services for several years and then ceased to hold services. Today, if you go to the church you will see a pretty structure well painted. Inside are 37 wooden pews, a piano and lecturn with a Bible. All is clean and in good order. It makes you feel as if the service will be commencing soon.
Moore's Chapel Cemetery
Fannin County, Texas
By Ann Powers
December 3, 1993
This information is submitted in support of an application for an Official Texas Historical marker for Moore's Chapel Cemetery, located in Fannin County, four miles south of Bonham, Texas. The cemetery is over one hundred years old, and was established by a respected pioneer family of Fannin County.
A description of the Harrison School Community by Mr. E. J. Hendricks, apparently prepared for the dedication of the present chapel in 1947, contains the following information:
"The district was densly [sic] population and there being no Cemetery near, a plot of ground was given off the Alex Moore farm for a burying place and it became known as Moore's Cemetery, the wife of Mr. T. L. Cashion being the first person to be buried in the new Cemetery ."
"After this the different Religious groups began to build houses in which to hold their services. The Baptist people were given a lot just North of the Cemetery on which they erected a building and called it Moore's Chaael honoring the Donar [sic] of the land, and the community then became generally known as the Moore's Chapel Community."
The cemetery continues in use today. A cemetery association has been formed and is seeking to establish an endowment for perpetual care of the grounds. It is the association which has been instrumental in raising donations to cover the cost of the historical marker.
Alexander Moore was born 20 December 1818 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Samuel and Anna Moore. He was the third of nine children, most of whom died at early ages.
Alex's father died in 1845, and Alex went to California in 1852 for four years, presumably in the Gold Rush. After returning to Missouri he married Mary "Jane" Jones in St. Genevieve, Missouri on 7 August 1956. They moved to Texas, probably to join his older brother James who was living with his wife and family near Sowells Bluff in Fannin County.
Judge W. A. Evans, in a newspaper article entitled "Fannin County 52 Years Ago" wrote of the arrival of Alex and Jane:
"In December 1856 an old fashioned wagon, loaded with household goods, a man and his wife, hailing from the State of Missouri, corssed Red River and found a stopping place in Fannin County. They came with strong arms and willing minds to toil and labor and ehlp to develop the resources of this then wilderness country . . . ."
"Alex Moore and Aunt Jane [Mary Jane Jones] in the early part of 1857 bought them a tract of land situated about five miles south-east of Bonham, and in 1858 they built a house in which they lived up to the time of Mr. Moore's death in 1896. The same house is still occupied by Mrs. Moore as her home. Alex Moore was a good man, a noble and useful citizen, and was always ready to act for what he believed to be the best interest of the people. No better neighbor, kinder husband and father every lived."
The obituary of "Aunt Jane" Jones describes the home which they built as a log house, and notes that one of the original log rooms was incorporated in the house she lived in at the time of her death. it also states that in 1874 the Moores moved to Bonham to give their daughters the benefit school at Carlton College. They remained there two years and then returned to the farm where they raised seven children and lived the rest of their lives.
Records show that during the Civil War Alex Moore joined the Stanley Light Horse Brigade which was organized at Bonham on 6 July 1861. It was composed of volunteers and attached to the fourteenth Brigade, Texas Militia.
Alex died on 9 February 1896, and Mary Jane on 6 September 1915. Both are buried in the Moore's Chapel Cemetery.
Mary "Jane" Jones Moore
Mary "Jane" Jones was born in Charlottesville, Virginia on 1 January 1833. Her parents were Anslem G. Jones and Martha A. Goodman. They moved to Missouri when she was one year old. There, her obituary states, she was "educated in the school of that day." It further recounts that:
"One event of her girlhood which she never forgot, and which gives an insight into her courage and hardihood occurred when she was sixteen years of age. An uncle came from Kentucky to visit her father's family, and he was very anxious to have her accompany him back home for a visit. But he had made the long trip from Kentucky to Missouri on horseback, much of the distance being through country that was little more than a wilderness. The only way for the young girl to go with him was to mount another horse and make the long journey on his back. Nothing daunted by such an undertaking, she packed what clothing she needed and strapped it on her saddle and started for the home of her uncle. She never forgot incidents of the trip and often recounted them to her children and friends."
Mary Jane Jones father, Anslem G. Jones came to live with them sometime before 1880, and died there in 1888. He is buried next to his daughter in Moore's Chapel Cemetery. Her mother Martha apparently died in Missouri. Mary Jane had at least two siblings, sisters Ann and Mildred."
Mary "Jane" Jones' Family
We have not found any record of Anslem Jones prior to his marriage to Martha; her background, by contrast, is well documented. She was the third child of Jeremiah Augustus Goodman and Mary "Polly" Clarkson. Jeremiah was a farm south of Charlottesville. He was also an overseer at Thomas Jefferson's plantation "Poplar Forest" in Bedford County, VA from 1812 until 1814.
Alex and Mary "Jane's" children
Alex Moore and Mary Jane Jones had seven children, several of whom became prominent figures in the BOnham community. The children are:
Mildred Ann (Millie) -- b. 24 Oct. 1859; d. 19 Dec. 1931 (m. Virgil Henderson; 7 children: Mabel C. (Mae) Horton, Emmett Jackson, Bernice Witcher, Neoma Bayless, Avis, Minnie Wheeler Bauth, Irene (Sally) Jones).
Mary Elan (Molly) -- ; d. 10 Feb. 1918 (m. Joe Roberts)
Samuel E. -- b. 7 Feb. 1863; d. 31 Oct. 1913 (unmarried)
Anslem J. (Anse) -- b. 7 Oct. 1865; d. 23 Jan 1919 (m. Minnie M. White; no children)
John Burnside (Jack) b. 20 Oct. 1867; d. ____ (m. Lucy Andrews; two children: Mary Jane Cloyd Savage, Caroline Broadstone)
James Alexander -- b. 1873; d. 7 May 1939 (m. Caroline Paralee Davis; 3 children: Frankie, Edith Morrow, Mary Elizabeth Powers, Sam)
Frank Leavenworth -- b. 8 June 1875; d. 30 Oct. 1895 (unmarried)
Anse Moore was a prominent businessman in Bonham, and the co-founder of Smith, Moore and Williams hardware stone, which still exists today. He is buried at Moore's Chapel, as are Mildred Hendricks, Samuel, and Frank.
Moore's Chapel Cemetery is not only closely linked to the community's history, bur continues to play an important role today. Each June the cemetery serves as the focal point for a reunion which brings together both people from the loca community and others from afar who join together in kinship and friendship. All of them look forward to the day they can share in the installation of a historical marker as a memorial to the spirit and vision of the early pioneers of Fannin County.
Missouri native Alexander Moore married Virginia native Mary Jane Jones in St. Genevieve, Missouri, in 1856. They moved to Texas and purchased land in this area in 1857. The Moores donated two acres here to a rapidly growing community for cemetery purposes in the mid-1870s. The first recorded burial was that of Martha Cashion, early pioneer settler and a friend and neighbor of the Moores, on March 11, 1876.
Area Baptists erected a sanctuary just north of the cemetery on land donated by the Moores that became known as Moore's Chapel Church. The community and this cemetery also became known as Moore's Chapel.
An unusually high number of infant burials during the 1990s and 1890s reflect an outbreak of typhoid fever. Alexander Moore was buried here in 1915.
Moore's Chapel Cemetery and adjacent church and school buildings made up the community center. The cemetery contains the burials of many of the area's pioneer settlers and their descendants and veterans of wars ranging from the Civil War to World War II. The cemetery is maintained by an association and continues to serve the community.
Directions: From Bonham, take FM 271 southeast for 4 miles.
Information on Moore's Chapel Cemetery is on the Fannin County GenWeb site.
The photo above, taken in 1913, is from the collection of the Fannin County Museum of History
A larger version of the photo can be seen here.
This photo shows the Church which no longer stands.