Historical marker dedication planned at Gordon Center

Whitehead Cemetery

Tarleton State University

Thursday, October 31, 2013

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—A Texas historical marker for the Whitehead Cemetery on the grounds of the W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas in Thurber will be dedicated at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10. Thurber once was a booming center of coal mining and brick manufacturing in the 19th and early 20th centuries that today is a ghost town.

The ceremony will feature a brief presentation on the history of the cemetery by LeAnna Schooley, former curator at the Gordon Center. It was Schooley who conducted the research for and prepared the formal application for the historical marker, which will become Thurber’s ninth Texas Historical Marker site.

The Whitehead Cemetery was established at least by the 1940s by members of the extended family of Albert Whitehead, one of the prominent black residents of Thurber. A handful of African Americans remained at the site of the town after it was abandoned in the mid-1930s. There they served as caretakers for property left behind by the coal company. As members of this group passed away, their survivors chose to bury them nearer to their homes rather than in the more distant already established Thurber Cemetery.

When the Tarleton State University Foundation acquired the site for the construction of the W.K. Gordon Center Museum in 2000, the small family burial ground was on the tract purchased. Today it stands at the south side of the parking lot on the landscaped grounds surrounded by a modern fence. Inside the burial grounds are several identified and unidentified graves as well as historic plants.

The 2 p.m. outdoor ceremony will be followed by a reception at the rear of the exhibit gallery at the W.K. Gordon Center. The museum will be open for free visitation by participants in the marker dedication. For more information, contact the museum at 254-968-1886.


Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Mary Adams

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Historical marker dedication planned at Gordon Center - Media Relations - Tarleton State University