Clean Up Efforts of St. John's Cemetery

There have been several attempts over the past three decades to clean and restore St. John’s Cemetery and to honor the people interred there. Local people began a clean-up effort in 1993 that lasted for months but remained unfinished when they abandoned it in 1994. Again in 1997 and again in 1998, residents of Denton County organized clean-up efforts, repairing headstones, clearing brush, and pulling out weeds.

In recent years St. John’s Cemetery has again received attention from those who wish to preserve its legacy and show respect to the African Americans buried there. Willie Hudspeth led a group of volunteers every weekend for months to clean up and clear out the underbrush that was infesting the cemetery. During this same time in 2016, Denton County set aside thousands of dollars to help restore the cemetery and maintain it in a manner that shows respect for those buried within.

St. John's Clean Up Efforts

Willie Hudspeth and Community Members Cleaning St. John's Cemetery in 2016

Coverage of Restoration Efforts

  • St. John Cemetery of Pilot Point, Texas - Restoration Project

    A short video made by Media 13 Studios documenting the restoration efforts in the St. John's Cemetery.
  • Long Buried

    A long piece written in March 2016 in the Denton Record-Chronicle. Written prior to Denton County’s funding for the renovation of the cemetery, it documents the experiences and efforts of volunteers, Willie Hudspeth, and Dr. John White to remember those interred.
  • Denton County Plans to Restore a Slave Cemetery

    This 2016 Sherman Fox affiliate article briefly documents the efforts undertaken by Willie Hudspeth and the Denton County Commissioners court to restore the St. John's Cemetery.
  • Denton County to Restore Old Slave Cemetery

    NBC 5 in the DFW area created a short video documenting Willie Hudspeth's efforts to clean the cemetery, as well as showing some of the headstones and unmarked graves within.
  • Long-hidden cemetery held Pilot Point man’s ancestors

    This September 2016 Denton Record-Chronicle article contains details of Willie Hudspeth's labor to revitalize the cemetery, and mentions Dr. John White, a pastor native to Pilot Point, who has ancestors buried within the St. John's Cemetery, as well as provides several pictures of the county restoration efforts.
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Citations:

McGee, Mike. "Old Slave Cemetery Holds Denton's History" The Dallas Examiner, November 13, 2016, http://dallasexaminer.com/news/2016/nov/13/old-slave-cemetery-holds-denton-history/ (Last date accessed May 17, 2018). Scott, Brian. "Denton County Restores, Reclaims 'Old Slave Cemetery'." NBCDFW.com, October 9, 2016, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Denton-County-Restores-Reclaims-Old-Slave-Cemetery-396449671.html (Last date accessed May 17, 2018). Dominguez, Alexis. "Denton County Plans to Restore a Slave Cemetery." kxii.com, June 21, 2016, http://www.kxii.com/content/news/Denton-County-plans-to-restore-cemetery-for-slaves-383895221.html (Last date accessed May 17, 2018). "Denton County Invests $20K to Keep Slave Cemetery Clean." wfaa.com, August, 31, 2016, https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/denton-county/denton-county-invests-20k-to-keep-slave-cemetery-clean/311984775 (Last date accessed May 17, 2018).