Located in south Arlington at Cooper Street and Harris Road is the Rehoboth Cemetery. The cemetery is 2.5 acres and has over 500 graves. Many of the older headstones are no longer legible. There is a Texas Historical Marker near the entrance, which gives an overview of the cemetery.
The marker makes a reference to Mary Miller and John Sublett, whose headstones are pictured below. Mary Miller, an infant who died in 1871, was the first burial in the cemetery. John Sublett, who lived 1891-1951, was the namesake for the Sublett community. The small community had a school, post office, and a church. The Sublett community no longer exists, as the area is part of present-day Arlington.
More than half of the burials in the cemetery were before 1950. The cemetery isn’t used as much today, with only a dozen or so new burials since 2010. There is a sign on the front gate indicating that only exclusive burials are allowed.
Represented in the cemetery are members and descendants of the Sublett, Harris, Lowe, and Bardin pioneer families. Their surnames are immortalized in nearby street names.
A few graves have wording and insignia indicating that they were members of the “Woodmen of the World.” The headstones were carved to resemble a tree stump. I don’t recall seeing something like this before, so it was interesting to learn more about it.
Joseph Cullen Root founded the organization in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1890. He wanted to make life insurance available to everyone. Mr. Root was inspired by a sermon that mentioned, “woodmen clearing the forest to provide for their families.” He saw his organization as one that would “clear away problems of financial security for its members.” In the organization’s early days, they provided free or reduced-cost headstones to its members. The belief was that members shouldn’t be buried in unmarked graves. The fraternal, non-profit life insurance organization is still going today as WoodmenLife.
[primary source: “A Grave Interest” blog by Joy Neighbors]
Today, south Arlington is mostly known as a residential area. Amidst the thousands of houses dotting the landscape, it can be easy to forget that it wasn’t always that way. In the lives of John Sublett, and especially Mary Miller, the area looked much different. But there’s still a connection to the area’s past if you know where to look.
- Find-A-Grave – Rehoboth Cemetery
- Wikipedia – WoodmenLife
- “Woodmen of the World and the Tree Stone Grave Markers,” from the blog “A Grave Interest” by Joy Neighbors (posted June 21, 2011)
Article and photos by Jason S. Sullivan, 12-11-20