Turning Over New Leaves

Cemetery Transcribed

by Judy Sander Cockrell

Fretwell Cemetery (a.k.a. Old Settlers Cemetery), Haltom City, Texas on the Northeast corner of North Beach Street and Northeast 28th Street as transcribed by Judy Sander Cockrell & Joyce Hendricks

The first known burial in this cemetery was of Reverend Greene Fretwell. When other members of his family were sold to a new owner in North Carolina, Rev. Greene swam the Ohio river to freedom.

Originally settling at Spears Grove, a black community between Keller and Watauga, Greene, in 1883, then moved his family to a farm on today's present 28th Street.

When Fretwell died in 1886, there was no cemetery for african americans in this area. His widow, Francis, traveled on horseback going to the neighboring farms, ranches and trustees of Trinity Chapel Methodist Church asking for any donation, large or small, and promising these families they would always have a place to be buried.

She collected $30 dollars and bought the two acres at 28th and Beach Street for a church and the graveyard to bury him in. The initial two-acre purchase was recorded on June 26, 1889. He was taken from his original burial plot in the woods on their property, and laid to rest in this small cemetery.

Many of the family members still gather today to give rememberances to a family gone, but hardly forgotten. I found a burial as recent as 1999 in the Fretwell Cemetery.

I had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Carl Fretwell, trustee of the cemetery, days prior to submitting this transcription. He would not, however, tell me where the Reverend Fretwell is buried today. His marker was destroyed by vandals some time ago, and the family would like to have the Historical Society buy a new one to replace it. Until then, this gravesite will remain a secret upon which time it can be restored and properly marked.

A proud man, a proud family, protecting each other for ever after and beyond.

Check out the Fretwell Cemetery transcription!

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