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Elm Grove

In the Willow Springs cemetery, located about 7 1/2 miles east of the Parker County Courthouse, is the following stone:

"Martha Sherman, wife of Ezra Sherman, Killed by the Indians in 1860, Buried here because there was a church nearby"

Martha Sherman lived in the northwest part of Parker County when she was attacked and terribly wounded in late November 1860. She was brought to Weatherford and died soon after. Her request to be buried near a church indicates that what is today Willow Springs cemetery was the nearest cemetery with a church next to it. Mrs. Mary Jane Fox Robertson Pritchard (1843-1936) who lived in the area at the time also told this story and until Mrs. Pritchard's death and burial at Willow Springs, made Mrs. Sherman's grave site part of a regular up-keep.

The preceding page of information from the Rev. Pleasant Tackitt supports info from Henry Smythe's Historical Sketch of Parker County. On pages 31 - 33: '' The first Methodist church organized in the territory of which Parker County is a part, was on the Clear Fork in May, 1854. . . . Simeon Wright and Rev. B. A. Kemp, with Rev. J. W. Chalk, took charge of the first meeting and established the pioneer church in this, then, almost wilderness county, in eight miles east of the present county town.... In 1855, Rev. Lewis J. Wright was pastor of the first organization on Clear Fork, and Rev. Benjamin A. Kemp, (now deceased,) assistant. Rev. James A. J. Smith was pastor in 1856 and 1857, and Rev. James G. Johnson , the presiding elder until 1861.''

The names: When Mrs. Tempy Carr Blackwell died in August 1890, her obit says she was buried at Alum Springs. Her stone is at Willow Springs as is her parents and siblings. Elm Grove/Elm Springs- many of the old-timers here pronounced Elm as Alum and Ellum. John Godfrey lived ca 8 miles up the Clear Fork. Families that settled near the Willow Springs/Clear Fork area before 1860 were Fox, Tinsley, Rider, Carr, McCarver, Bond, Yeary, Froman, Headly, Williams, Drum, Ray, Huffman, and several more. The settlers chose to be near the river with it's fertile farm land, trees, and range land nearby.

There is reason to believe that there are many unmarked graves at Willow Springs. Info shows deaths for quite a few pioneers in the area but no stones can be found today anywhere. During these early days many markers would have been home-made or just native rocks. How long a church building was there. What happen to it, has not been documented. No one questioned ever remembers a church there, the Willow Springs school was located south of the area a couple of miles.

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