Sunday, November 15, 2009

Family members attend dedication ceremony

This newspaper article is from the GAINESVILLE DAILY REGISTER, Cooke County's only daily newspaper, Gainesville Texas. October 26, 2009 03:26 pm

Great Hanging victim's family members attend dedication ceremony
NATALIA JONES Register Staff Writer

— A special dedication ceremony was held Saturday, Oct. 24 to honor the Clark Cemetery where Nathaniel Miles Clark, a Great Hanging victim, and his family are buried.

An official Texas Historical Marker was unveiled during the ceremony. The marker tells a brief summary of the historic cemetery which was established by the Hatcher family and others sometime in the 1850s.

During the Civil War, the cemetery became known as the Clark Cemetery named for a pioneering Cooke County family.

Great-grandson of Nathaniel Clark, author L.D. Clark was present to retell his family’s past.

“This cemetery has been hallowed ground to the Clark family for 147 years,” he said. “I’ve been around for 87 of those years, so I have had an opportunity to learn a great deal about the history of this place...There’s a great deal of sorrow in it and there’s a great deal of tragedy in it, but there’s also a great deal of thanksgiving just for having this place to share with the family.”

Nathaniel Clark was among the unionists who were lynched in the Great Hanging in Gainesville, in 1862. He was buried in the Clark Cemetery by his widow, Mahuldah Clark, and their 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.

Great-great granddaughter of Nathaniel and Mahuldah Clark, Colleen Clark Cari was also present to extend a warm welcome and introduction to guests.

Prior to the event, she said, over 125 members of the Clark family met at the Lone Oak Ranch and Retreat in Gainesville for a family reunion.

Special guests present for the dedication included Ron Melugin, chair of the Cooke County Historical Commission, Cooke County Judge John Roane and Commissioner Steve Key.

Boy Scouts Troop No. 668 of the First Baptist Church gave the presentation of colors, while Miles Nathaniel Shaffer, great-great-great-grandson of Nathaniel and Mahuldah Clark, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Music during the ceremony was provided by Dana Freeman, fourth great-granddaughter of Nathaniel and Mahuldah Clark; Larry Clark, great-great-grandson of Nathaniel and Mahuldah Clark; Pam Clark Boaz, third great-granddaughter of Nathaniel and Mahuldah Clark; and Mary Faye Jackson.

Nancy Blackwell, great-great-granddaughter of Nathaniel and Mahduldah Clark, also read a poem entitled “Dear Ancestor.”

Clark Cemetery is located at the intersection of Clark Road and County Road 220.

L.D. Clark also served as the guest speaker for the third annual Commemoration of the Great Hanging which took place Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. in Georgia Bass Park.

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