More than 17,000 lie buried beneath the beautiful and stately trees at Calvary Cemetery, a site that dates back to around 1862 — located in Marlin, Texas.
The city owned cemetery encompasses 25 acres of rolling, Live Oak tree laden land located on the western edge of Marlin, only five blocks from Falls County’s Courthouse.
Stephan Ward, Sr., grandfather of Miss Lillie Lee Ward of Marlin, donated the land for the first portion of Calvary cemetery. Ward was a native of Mississippi and came to Marlin in 1852 where he engaged in merchandising, cattle raising and farming. He was one of the early Mayors of Marlin. Exact date of the deed to the land is not available as the records were burned in Falls County courthouse fire.
Before the city took over the cemetery in 1929, anyone could go out and stake a lot for free; but following the acquisition by the city, lots were sold for $25 per lot. Before the city took over, a fee of 25 cents per month was charged for upkeep.
Around 1930, about 165 men were hired to clean the cemetery. They were paid 75 cents per day and it required a month to finish the task of removing unnecessary trees and thickets. The city then decided to build a road around the cemetery and hired Albert Rogas for the construction. At that time, there was no water available in the cemetery and city engineer Goodrich had water lines installed which are still in use today. in the 1930’s, the cemetery was fenced only on Fortune and Johnson Streets. Today there are 104 white brick pillars and 96 sections of iron fence, each ten feet in length. These improvements have been accomplished by the efforts of the Community Garden Club of Marlin.
One of the oldest graves in the cemetery is 98 years old and the name on the marker is Hayes. Another stone is marked 1859 and bears the name Moore, however there are many others without names or dates.
Two of the many distinguished persons buried in Calvary cemetery are General H.B. Shields and U.S. Senator Tom Connally.