Sowers Cemetery

Photo added by RC H

Sowers Cemetery

Also known as Sunset Memorial Park

Location
3101 W. Pioneer Dr
Irving, Dallas County, Texas, 75061 USA
Website
Memorials 1,297 added (89% photographed)

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Edmund D. Sowers came from Illinois in 1856 and claimed 32 acres of land in the Parsons headright near what is now Pioneer Dr. and Beltline roads in Irving, which is just to the west of the Sowers cemetery.
Sowers was the owner of the first store in the Sowers community and the town was sometimes called Sowers Store. Along with the store, it had a school, and two physicians.
Before the civil war began in 1861, there was a once per week mail stop at the Sowers store on the Dallas to Birdville route. It was discontinued for several years during the war.
In 1868 it’s believed that the first interments at the cemetery were on the Parsons land grant, marked only with stones and on a section of the cemetery that years later would be known as Beulahland Memorial Park. According to folklore and documented on the Historical marker, these graves were believed to be unmarked graves of a woman and her daughter who befell an unknown tragic death.
To challenge the folklore of the first interments of 1868, and to add a level of complication, 1867 is the oldest death date in the cemetery on a modern-day stone of Catherine Caster Hawes Worthington who is also buried on this same northernmost section of the cemetery.
On August 14, 1874 Mr. Sowers honored existing gravesites by providing a plot of land for school, church and cemetery purposes on his property south and adjacent to the earliest gravesites. This is the southwest portion of today’s cemetery.
County land records reveal that the owner of the original burial property was probably SS Connor and not Sevier Smalley as indicated on the historical marker.
County records further reveal that Sevier Smalley did not purchase the property until 1891 from Pete and Lidia Faucher.
With 1868 being the unofficial date of the establishment of Sowers Cemetery, as to historical perspective, the founders of Irving would not arrive to the area for another 30+ years.
A school occupied the west half of the property of Sowers’ 1874 donation, which was eventually destroyed by fire in 1960. This land, just west of the current cemetery, is now owned by Irving Independent School District which took over the Sowers School District in 1956. A church was never built. But it was common for the school to be used by church groups.
By 1884 the town had a population of seventy-five and several businesses including a church, school, doctor, blacksmith, druggist and two steam gristmill-cotton gins.
In 1899, For $1, Edmund Sowers donates a second piece of adjacent property east of the first dedicated property to increase the cemetery size.
In 1926, one of the founders of Irving, Otis Brown, donates the eastern most portion of the cemetery which operated as a separate cemetery under the name Sunset Memorial Park. The operation of Sunset Memorial Park was turned over to the Sowers Association in 1966.
A corporation called Beulahland Memorial Park purchased a 5.556 acre piece of property in 1934 that included the original burial property. The intention may have been to commercially expand the cemetery which never materialized. Regardless, the small original burial area became land-locked between the Sowers Cemetery, a 1950’s housing development to the north and IISD property acquisition on the west.
As of 2018, the 150th year of the cemetery, Sowers has about 1300 interments on 4.6 acres of property.
Documents indicate that the Sowers Cemetery Association was formed in 1961. After a prolific and active 20 years, the Association was all but disbanded in 1980 and was almost dormant until early in the first decade of the 21st century when a few involved realized financial sustainability was severely eroded along with deteriorating conditions at the cemetery.
Though it is certain there are many unoccupied graves, the Cemetery Association has incomplete records of grave site sales and is seeking any information from the public that may have cemetery records.
Sowers is the oldest, largest and most visible Community Cemetery in Irving, Texas.

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GPS Coordinates: 32.8289400, -96.9885300

  • Added: 8 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #249289