SHADY GROVE CEMETERY
Wood County, Winnsboro, Texas
Shady Grove was an early Texas settlement. The first permanent settler was Reuben Elledge, who came to Texas in 1845. Wood County's first school was established at Shady Grove in 1850. In the 1850s, a Methodist organization was established, followed by the cemetery in 1855. At one time, Shady Grove had a gin, a church, and an eight grade school. Little evidence remains of this small, thriving 19th century farming community, as only descendants of early settlers, the cemetery, and an historic marker remain to tell the story of Shady Grove.
The earliest known gravesite in Shady Grove Cemetery, unmarked except for a tree for many years, was for young Bobby Scoggins, who drowned in 1855. Also buried here are Elledge as well as three-term Wood County Sheriff, John Boyd, and many veterans of military conflicts dating to the Civil War.
Expanded throughout the years, Shady Grove Cemetery is a reminder of early settlement in the area. Features include rock cairns, decorative fencing, ornate stone carvings, old curbed plots, obelisks, and Woodmen of the World monuments. The Methodist Church, later having become a United Methodist Church, was disbanded in 1993, and it is now used for funerals and for annual events such as Memorial Day and the old-time Pie & Box Supper.
"The Christian cemetery is a memorial and a record. It is not a mere field in which the dead are stowed away unknown; it is a touching and beautiful history, written in family burial plots, in mounded graves, in sculptured and inscribed monuments. It tells the story of the past, not of its institutions, or its wars, or its ideas, but of its individual lives,--of its men and women and children, and of its household. It is silent, but eloquent; it is common, but it is unique. We find no such history elsewhere; there are no records in all the wide world in which we can discover so much that is suggestive, so much that is pathetic and impressive."
~Joseph Anderson, Late 18th Century US Senator from Tennessee
"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
~Thich Nhat Hanh, 1960s Vietnamese poet and peace & human rights activist
1. To preserve an historic cemetery in a natural, country setting.
2. To preserve traditional old-time church events such as the Pie & Box Supper annual fund-raising event for the cemetery, held at 7:00 p.m.on the last Friday night of April each year. (For those of you who may be new to the “Box Supper” event, this is an old-time social and fund-raising custom of past generations that has been perpetuated throughout the years. It is commonly referred to as a “Pie Supper.” The object is to bring a covered or decorated box or basket or dish filled with food items such as pies, specialty breads, cakes, fried chicken or BBQ and the trimmings, sandwiches and chips, homemade fried pies, peanut brittle, cookies, etc. You may also bring any kind of craft item to auction, in addition to or instead of a food item. The original custom was to bring a box or basket or dish of food items which would be auctioned to the highest bidder who in turn would share with the person who prepared it. The event has now evolved into spreading a big meal after the auction, consisting of everyone’s food items, for all to share and enjoy. Quilt tickets are also sold for a special drawing to win a handmade quilt.) Historical FYI: The first Box Supper at Shady Grove was held in April 1915, as was confirmed by the minutes of the August 14, 1989, business meeting which referred to a planned celebration scheduled for April 27, 1990, in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Box Supper. On April 24, 2015, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of this annual old-time social and fund-raising tradition.
3. To honor the deceased and preserve the annual Memorial Day event, including a potluck lunch on the grounds, held at 10:30 a.m. on the second Sunday of August each year. (Historical FYI: The Memorial Day event has continued continuously for at least approximately ninety years, based upon reports of past attendees. Years ago, it was customary to spend the entire day at this event to have a dedication to the deceased and sermon in the morning, lunch at noon, singing in the afternoon, with more preaching in the evening. In recent years, we have a morning program from 10:30-noon and then potluck lunch immediately following. If anyone can substantiate the actual first year of the Memorial Day event, please let me know.)