Residents Encouraged to Learn About City’s Early Pioneers at Newly Completed Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communications
Posted on May 15, 2023, May 15, 2023

Following the winding sidewalk through the Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds, visitors are invited to scan QR codes on placards amongst the gravestones to learn more about the city’s history and the people who called Tarrant County home more than 100 years ago.

The interactive historical markers were unveiled at a public ceremony May 12, 2023, to celebrate the completion of the Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds, located in the 600 block of West Arkansas Lane. Leaders from the Arlington Historical Society, the City of Arlington and Tarrant County have worked together since 2017 to restore this location to its important place in the history as the first resting place of the pioneers who settled our community.

“It took a community of people working together to make this day possible,” said Chaplain Rich Stoglin, fundraising committee chairman for the project. “Cemeteries are a great historical archive because they ask the question, ‘Who were these people? How did we get started? What did they have to face?’ In addition to that it’s an educational opportunity for citizens to come find out where this great city of 400,000 and growing started from.”

The nonprofit Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds Corporation broke ground on the project in February 2019 and devoted hundreds of hours to researching records to locate unmarked graves and compile compelling histories for those who are buried there. The group also raised funds to add markers, sidewalks, lighting flag poles, fencing and other improvements to the 1.8-acre site.

The grounds, which are owned and maintained by the Arlington Historical Society, contain three separate cemeteries: The Middleton Tate Johnson Family Cemetery, the Mill Branch Cemetery, and the Colored Cemetery, with burials spanning from the 1850s to 1950s.

Among the graves is the final resting site of Colonel Middleton Tate Johnson, known as the Father of Tarrant County and one of the most prominent Texans of his time. An official State of Texas commemorative headstone marks his final resting place.
Other pioneers who worked the land, harvested wheat, corn and cotton and launched trade in building the local economy were laid to their final rest here as well. Finally, these grounds were, at the time, the only available location for burial of Arlington's colored citizens.

“It’s most gratifying to see the people who lived here and help make Arlington finally be recognized,” said the Rev. Carl Pointer, who has family members buried in the cemetery.

Support for the project included $140,000 in grants from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation.

“The City of Arlington I so proud to be involved with a group of citizens who worked so hard to make this happen, and the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation is so proud that we could stand up and help make this possible,” said Mayor Pro Tem Helen Moise.

In addition to creating an interactive park for residents to visit, the Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds Corporation has forged an agreement with Arlington Independent School District to provide for educational opportunities through in-person, virtual, and on-site visits for teachers and students to experience the meaningful history associated with the cemetery and all who are buried there.

“We have assembled to learn from the past by embracing the present to ensure its purpose will never be forgotten or misplaced. To be clear, this our gift for future generations for them to know their history,” Stoglin said.

History, Arlington Tomorrow Foundation
News, Community, Headlines