There are many notable persons buried in the Athens Cemetery who contributed greatly to Athens, to Texas, and in some cases, to the nation. Several of the most noted have been recognized by the State of Texas with the placement of historic markers. As of November 2017, there are seven such markers located on cemetery grounds. Six identify gravesites and the seventh recognizes the cemetery’s historic contribution.
Marker Text: (1834-1920) A native of Athens, Georgia, Dulcinea Ann Holland came to Henderson County with her family in 1847. She married E. J. Thompson in 1851. According to local tradition, she named the town of Athens after her birthplace. Following the death of her first husband in the 1860’s, Dulcinea married James Avriett in 1867. They were the parents of two sons. She was a founding member of the local Methodist church and a dedicated civic leader.
Marker Text: Son of Henry Clay and Dana (Moss) Craig, was born on November 17, 1889, in Shiloh, Kentucky. He began setting type in a print shop at the age of 10 and at the age of 16 became the youngest licensed printer in Kentucky. He worked as a printer for several major U. S. newspapers before coming to work for the "Athens Review" in 1907. He purchased the "Kemp News," a small town newspaper, and became its publisher at the age of 18. Craig married Kentuckian Clara E. Rhodes in 1911 and in 1912 they moved to Chandler, Texas, where he owned the "Chandler Times" newspaper. He purchased the "Athens Review" in 1916. The "Athens Review" became a successful daily newspaper. Craig's distinctive editorials on politics and local events earned him the respect of area citizens and prominent state and national politicians. He served as regent at Texas Woman's University, and was a member of the Texas Economic Commission, the Texas Centennial Commission, and the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee. The Southern Journalism Congress named him "Country Editor of the South" in 1938. Craig sold the "Athens Review" in 1941 after 25 years as publisher. He died in Athens on February 15, 1968; a U. S. Senator attended his funeral. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845 - 1995
Marker Text: (Nov. 18, 1864 - Feb. 13, 1930) Alderman on Athens' first city council (1901). La Rue (town 13 mi. SE) was named for him. Educator, merchant, civic leader, banker, humanitarian, prohibitionist, democrat, historian. Married March 16, 1892, Stella Elvira Parsons. They had seven children.
STELLA E. PARSONS LARUE Known as first white child born in Terrell; Daughter of Confederate Army surgeon, Dr. Homer Lee Parsons, M.D. (Yale University), and wife, Margaret C.R.R. Parsons. In role of wife and mother, 'Mammy La Rue' was beloved of family and community."
Marker Text: Athens Cemetery. After citizens petitioned for its closure, an unofficial burial ground in this area (Large Lot 13)* closed in 1857. That same year, local residents buried prominent planter, Mason and school superintendent William J. Brantley here on one acre donated by Pleasant Tannehill to Masonic Lodge No. 165. Adjoining land was set aside for the interment of a girl, named Ward, who could not be buried in the Masons' Cemetery. The two adjacent burial grounds eventually joined, and further donations of land by Nathaniel Pope Coleman (1823-1888), Joseph Marion la Rue (1825-1887) and Joseph Thomas la Rue (1864-1930) added to what is now known as the pioneer section of this cemetery. An association established in 1922 bought an additional 12 acres from Matthias E. Richardson, Jr. (1850-1919), designating the front portion as a park. A trust initiated in 1959 by Sid Williams Richardson (1891-1959) continues to help fund the site's upkeep. Chronicled here are the generations that forged the rich heritage of the City of Athens, along with veterans of the Indian wars, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Historic Texas Cemetery – 2002
* NOTE: The Large Lot 13 referred to above was located at the corner of Old Town Alley and Royal Street in Athens and the thirteen persons buried there were moved to the Athens Cemetery in 1857.
Marker Text: North Carolina-born John Matthews McDonald (1827-1883) came to Texas in 1848 and lived first at Larissa, Cherokee Co. and then Mound Prairie, Anderson Co., where his brother Murdoch earlier settled. Two years later, he moved to the young town of Athens and became a teacher and a lawyer. He also served as the town's first mayor. He wed Mary Ann Elizabeth Pinson (1842-1931) in 1858, and the couple had ten children. During the Civil War, McDonald fought with the Confederate Army as part of Hood's Texas Brigade. Active in public service, he held the offices of justice of the peace, county judge and state representative. His pioneer leadership proved vital to the early development of his adopted home. (2005)
Marker Text: Clint W. Murchison, Sr. was born April 11, 1895, in Tyler to John W. and Clara (Williams) Murchison. His grandfather, T.F. Murchison, was one of the earliest settlers to arrive in Athens and established the first bank in Henderson County in 1890. Following the death of T.F. Murchison, control of the bank passed to his sons. After a short stint at Trinity University in Waxahachie, Clint returned to Athens to assist with the family bank. Clint enlisted in the army and served stateside as a lieutenant during World War I. Discharged in 1919, Clint accepted an invitation from his friend and fellow Athenian Sid Richardson to join him as a lease trader in the booming Burkburnett oilfield near Wichita Falls. In 1920, Clint married Anne Morris from Tyler and they started a family, having three sons. After the tragic death of Anne in 1926, Clint decided to move to Dallas to continue wheeling and dealing. Nationally recognized companies that he founded included American Liberty Oil, Southern Union Gas, Delhi-Taylor, Florida gas and Trans-Canada pipelines. In 1943, Murchison married Virginia Long. They often returned to Athens and their beloved Glad Oaks Estate. He diversified his holdings into life insurance, banking, publishing, real estate, ranching and railroads. When his health began to deteriorate in the early 1960s, he retired to Glad Oaks, frequenting local cattle sales and inspecting his ranches in the area. He passed away in 1969. Clint Murchison, Sr. was one of the most significant oil magnates of the Texas oil boom. His influence reached not only the oil industry, but many other areas of business and commerce.
Marker Text: Born in Athens on April 25, 1891, Sid Williams Richardson became known as the "Billionaire Bachelor." When he was 16, Sid traveled to Louisiana, to purchase cattle with money he saved. A natural trader and negotiator, Richardson sold the calves once he returned to Athens and tripled his money, making $3,500. Following high school, Sid briefly attended Baylor University in Waco and Simmons (now Hardin-Simmons) University in Abilene. In 1909, Sid's brother-in-law helped him get a job with an oil well supply company in Wichita Falls where he worked as a salesman, oil scout, lease purchaser and, by 1917, an independent oil producer. In 1919, Richardson partnered with his long time friend Clint Murchison to buy land and lease or sell the lands to oil companies seeking new areas to drill. Sid's finances fluctuated as he lost and gained wealth but he persisted.
In 1929, he discovered the Keystone Field in Winkler County drilling 80 straight wells without a dry hole in what would become one of the largest oil fields in Texas and making Richardson one of the most successful independent oil men in the country. In 1936, Sid purchased San Jose Island, five miles off the Gulf Coast from Rockport, Texas, where he built the only home he ever owned. He hosted Pres. Franklin Roosevelt there in May 1937 during his visit to Texas. Pres. Roosevelt later sought Richardson's council on the nation's petroleum reserves during WWII. Sid was a close friend of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower following the war, entertaining him and Lyndon Johnson at San Jose Island. The island was used as a location to raise Texas longhorn cattle to ensure their preservation. Sid was named to The National Petroleum Council, owned a chain of drug stores, a hotel and a television station, and assisted local charities. Sid died on September 30, 1959, and is buried in Athens.