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Grave concerns raised about new development next to historic Fort Worth cemetery

May 10,2022

See full CBS News article by Nick Starling here.

The Pioneer's Rest Cemetery just north of downtown Fort Worth was built in the mid-1800s. 

Buried there are several of Fort Worth's early settlers.

"General Tarrant for whom Tarrant county is named is buried there," said Melanie Smith, Secretary of the Pioneer's Rest Cemetery Association.

But Smith said her association is concerned about an apartment complex being built right next to the cemetery.

"When people started dying, they needed a place to bury them and someone decided that this no man's land was the place and that really speaks to why there could be unmarked graves on the southeastern section," said Smith. 

That portion, Smith said, could house unmarked graves where many underserved populations such as Native Americans and African Americans could be buried. 

"No one was keeping recorded well at all for the first 30 years and people were just plopped in the ground as they died," added Smith. 

While the developer, Urban Genesis never responded back to a request for comment to CBS 11, the City of Fort Worth sent this statement:

"On our end, the developer did cover its bases –they reached out to the Texas historical commission and had someone on-site monitoring the soil. Additionally, they had a plan in place to halt work and notify the authorities if anything was discovered, however there were no unmarked graves or remains found."

Smith thinks they should have went a step further. "But they should have had an archaeologist there, because if there are graves there and once these are covered there we are not showing any respect to anyone who may be buried there."