Postal Code: 76009
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Balch-Senterwood Cemetery is an old African-American cemetery named for the A.J. Senter, undertaker, who purchased and donated the land for a proper burial ground in 1912.
It is located on Parkway across the fence west of the Balch-Alvarado Cemetery where white families are buried off of Atchley and Cummings Street.
A little slave girl owed by the George Sigler family was spreading laundry to dry on the bushes and was killed by a black bear early one morning in 1856. Her screams echoed through the little creek valley. Men from all around the area raced vainly trying to help her. She was buried just across the fence from the community cemetery, making hers the first grave in the area to become the Senterwood Cemetery.
About 1992 while helping Beverly Short arrange for a clean-up for Balch-Alvarado Cemetery, Jeanine Tribble and Mildred R. Greenstein were trying to wade through the briars and bushes to make preliminary survey. It was at this point they spied tombstones buried in the leaves across the back fence. They feared the stones were vandalized and toss over the fence. After making a big effort to identify the stones, Mrs. Tribble and Mrs. Greenstein found them to be Africian- American citizens in Alvarado, TX. It was this find which started the efforts to properly care for this forgotten part of Alvarado history.
The Baker Funeral Home in Fort Worth purchased an additional acre of land and conducted services here for many years. They stopped burials here by 1980 because the cemetery was filled. Many attempts were made to secure the records from the Baker family, but it appears the records had been misplaced. Most of the graves are unmarked which gives the feeling of an empty field despite the many souls resting beneath the grass. The graves were arranged in semi-circles on either side of a central driveway. The twenty-two photos are the only visible stones in the cemetery as of November 2009.
An attempt was made to recreate a list of burials from numerous family records shared from the African- American community and newspaper obituaries. Our thanks to Mrs. Jeanine Forston Tribble and Mrs.Rubin Stevenson for their great work in contacting families for this list. Much of the information is strictly word of mouth from family members. There are many unknown.