The Strange-Sutton Cemetery located in northeast Parker County recently received designation by the Texas Historical Commission as a Texas Historic Cemetery. The cemetery is now recognized in Parker County deed records.
This little cemetery which sits alongside a country road can be easily overlooked to the casual passerby. It has but three small graves, two of them children, and one of those consists only of a tiny square base. Fortunately, the cemetery was "read" in 1977 when the tombstone still existed. It is of 3-week old Manda Strange (b. 2/23/1872, d. 3/13/1872), child of Franklin Madison and Rosannah (Lane) Strange. Due to her short life on the Texas frontier, this is the only record of Manda’s existence.
The Strange family came from Roane County, Tennessee sometime after the 1870 US Census. The Census shows 6 children, the youngest, Eugena, being only 6 months old. It is probable that Mrs. Strange was pregnant with Manda during the arduous trip from Tennessee to Texas.
The Strange family moved to southwest Wise County where Mr. Strange became a successful farmer and rancher. He served as Justice of the Peace for the 1880-1882 term. He and his wife are buried in Wise County’s Boonsville Cemetery.
The other two graves are of Elvira S. Sutton (b. 4/18/1847, d. 1/31/1871), and her young son, Benjamin (b. 2/13/1869, d. 4/29/1871). Curiously, she has two identical tombstones.
James D. Sutton, along with Elvira and Benjamin, first appear in Smith County, Texas on the 1870 US Census. They were both from Kentucky, while Benjamin was born in Texas. The Census was taken August 10, 1870, and Elvira died January 31, 1871, so the family must have moved to Parker County between those dates.
Sadly, what became of Mr. Sutton after the deaths of his wife and only child is unknown. Although he was only 25 in 1870, he disappeared from any subsequent public record.
Designations are granted for cemeteries that have graves more than 50 years old. The cemetery can be active, or as is the case for Strange-Sutton, abandoned. Obtaining a designation is a prerequisite to file for a Texas Historical Marker. Anyone can file for a designation and marker. Visit the Texas Historical Commission website at thc.texas.gov and search for "cemetery designation".
The Abandoned Cemetery Association of Parker County (ACA) now cares for the cemetery. The ACA recently constructed a fence around the perimeter as shown on a plat map of a subdivision filed with Parker County. The little graves look forlorn and lost within the 50 square foot fence.
The ACA is a tax exempt organization which depends upon the generosity of individuals such as you to care for 76 abandoned cemeteries in Parker County. Your generous contribution will help us continue to preserve the legacy of those who built and developed Parker County, and to remember those who would otherwise be forgotten. Contributions may be sent to: ACA, PO Box 61, Weatherford, TX 76086.