This page was last updated: February 26, 2014
April 13, 2011
Dear Family Member:
As many of you might know I visited Bonham, Texas in Sept, 2010. During my visit I had occasion to visit Bethlehem Cemetery in Ivanhoe where many of our ancestors are buried. I found the cemetery in an alarming state of disrepair. I am afraid if something is not done to clean up the cemetery and it continues to go unclaimed and forgotten it can eventually be dug up and plowed over. (Revisit the history of the Gates Hill Cemetery.) Shortly after returning home in Sept I was notified that a headstone was found a short distance from the Bethlehem Cemetery that is believed to have been removed and placed on the side of the road. Can you image, someone removing you grandmother’s headstone? Someone at some point fenced in the cemetery to prevent the cows from running through it. In the 1980’s there was a gate in the front that has since been removed. It is overgrown and in a state of disrepair. I have posted pictures of the cemetery on www.tracingtheirfootsteps.com.
I asked my father if the cemetery had ever been cleaned up and he said he did not think so. When he was a child family members would clean it up but there are very few family members living in the area today. And to be quite frank, if you were to see it in it’s current state it would be too overwhelming to even consider starting a cleanup without help. It is also overwhelming to me, but I feel very deeply about preserving this part of our history and honoring our ancestors. As a result I am starting the conversation with all of you. Is anyone interested in taking on this endeavor? The goal will be to affect an overall cleanup, to raise funds and to start a cemetery association to ensure perpetual care. I have started researching the requirements of a cemetery association, tax exempt status, and fundraising ideas. I plan on filing a notice with Fannin County that designates the land as a cemetery. Hopefully, this will ensure that it cannot be treated as anything else. I realize we all have busy lives and other family committee, but I believe this is a worthwhile endeavor and worth carving out some time to do the work. The question that I must ask all of you is, can I count on your participation and support? If we don’t act, no one else will.
Debra D. Favors
152 25th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Directions to Bethlehem Cemetery
Where FM-2554 pavement ends in Elwood proceed west on FM-2554 approx 4/10s of a mile to a slight left bend in the road. The cemetery is located at that point south of FM-2554 in the edge of the wooded area.
Latitude: 33° 48′ 53.82″ N Longitude: 96° 04′ 45.96″ W
TRACING THEIR FOOTSTEPS
Our Texas Roots
Bethlehem Cemetery Association
"A cemetery is a history of people - a perpetual record of yesterday and sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering - always." Lest we forget..