On Tuesday, April 29, 1856, the burgeoning settlement of Cedar Hill was struck by a violent tornado that claimed at least nine lives, damaged property, killed livestock and reportedly left only two structures standing. With a resolute pioneer spirit that is still evident today, survivors went about the daunting task of restoring order to their shattered community.
Cedar Hill will honor these early pioneers in a Graveyard Blessing Ceremony at 3:00 p.m., Friday, October 7, 2011, preceding the annual Old Settlers’ Reunion. The site is located just north of Pioneer Trail near North Cedar Hill Road. Parking will be available along the north side of Pioneer Trail and members of Cedar Hill Lion’s Club will be available to escort guests to the site for those in need of assistance.
In the aftermath of the tornado, nine victims were reported buried at this location on land donated by Robert Crawford, teacher and pastor of Cedar Mountain Church. They included John C. Hart, his wife and child, John Berry, his wife and child, John Dickson, Martha Lamar Allen and an unnamed Negro woman. The land was deeded a free and public graveyard in 1856 so it is possible others were buried here although no evidence or record of burials after the tornado exist.
The City will commemorate the blessing by placing an historic medallion and narrative plaque at the site. Application for designation as a Historic Texas Cemetery, prepared by Cedar Hill resident Wanda Stanton Pitt, was granted by the Texas Historical Commission in 2006.
For information, call Patty Bushart, Historical Downtown and Neighborhood Services at 972.291.5100 x1084