De Leon Cemetery
Tradition has long been that in 1883 as Rev. Cyrus Campbell and his wife Minerva were walking on the hill on which the cemetery is now located, he told his wife that he wanted to be buried at its crest overlooking the very small, two year old community of De Leon. He died only a few weeks later and was buried there as he requested. That same tradition has been that his wife Minerva was the second person buried in the cemetery, passing away only eighteen days after her husband.
The story was told in the the June 28, 1929 Free Press by A.J. “Uncle Jackie” Holmes (1835-1931) then 94 years of age. He indicated that he had helped bury both. Over the years several other individuals have told a similar story.
However, tradition may not be exactly correct. There are at least two burials in between the dates of the Campbell’s deaths. Claude Gorman, the nine month old son of early De Leon merchant John Gorman died the day following Cyrus Campbell and P.F. Crawford seven days later. Both are buried in the same section of the cemetery as the Campbells.Cyrus Campbell——Born: Oct. 11, 1810 Died: Sept. 12, 1883 Claude Gorman——Born: Dec. 16, 1882 Died: Sept. 13, 1883 P.F. Crawford——–Born: July 30, 1860 Died: Sept. 20, 1883 Minerva Campbell–Born: Nov. 21, 1824 Died: Sept 30, 1883
Several individuals have questioned whether or not an epidemic of some type was the cause of the short interval between the deaths of the Cambells. The question can not be answered with certainty but it appears not to be the case as the existing gravestones of this cemetery reflect only these four burials in 1883. The “Old De Leon Cemetery” has only three gravestones indicating an 1883 burial and two of those marker appear to be for twins born on December 31, 1882. One died the following day and the other two days later. Of course there are numerous unmarked graves or graves with only a natural stone as the marker in both cemeteries which may not be reflected in records of readable gravestones.