Corsicana Daily Sun, Sunday, September 13, 1970
While there are a lot of cemeteries in Navarro County,
not many can claim the historical aspects of the Old Chatfield Cemetery. The community is one of the oldest in the county and was named for Champion [correct name is Norman] Chatfield who operated a trading post in the area from 1838 to 1846. His chief
customers were the Caddo and Cherokee Indians who roamed this area, although he also had a good business from the stage line that passed his store.
In 1849 Captain Robert Hodge came from Kentucky to
this area and bought land. On his exploring trip he found a fresh grave in a grove of post oak trees. He decided this would be a good place to have a cemetery and he set aside five acres for the burial ground. This land is now the old Chatfield Cemetery.
The lone grave that marked the beginning of the
cemetery was that of David Mize who was born in 1823 and died on Sept. 23, 1848. His family was originally from Kentucky and Mrs. L. G. Highnote and Mrs. Louis Gibson are great-great nieces of Mize. No one seems to know what ailment took the life of David
Mize, and this is one of the mysteries of the cemetery. Another mystery is the plot with the graves of William Ranson and Mrs. Susannah Ranson. William Ranson died in February of 1850, just one month after his wife died in January of 1850.
Two more of the older graves in the cemetery are those
of Emma Sessions and Permelia Sessions who died in 1850 and 1852. These ladies were sisters and were married to the same man and died within two years of each other. The tomb of Presley Donaldson is also in the cemetery. He was born in 1789, during
the lifetime of George Washington, and died in 1863.
This cemetery also has a real Daughter of the [American] Revolution. Nancy Sturdivant Griggs was the daughter of John Sturdivant, a soldier in the Revolutionary War. She was
born in 1798 in Sparta, Georgia and died in 1871 in Chatfield. She married Henry Griggs in 1846 and moved to Chatfield the same year. In 1941 the James Blair Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a marker at her grave. Some of her descendants, the Thorps and Witherspoons, are still living in this area.
The Thomas Poitevent family moved to the community in
1865. In 1880 the Ladies Cemetery Association was formed with Mrs. Poitevent serving as the first president of the group. she was active in the organization until her death in 1912. Funds are raised now by the special picnic on July 4th and from
contributions from individuals interested in the cemetery.
In 1924-25, L. P. Hodge, then principal of Chatfield School, with aid of his students, raised money to place Confederate markers at the graves of all men who fought for the
South during the Civil War. These markers are still visible today and are most cherished by the families of the men. Recently the L. P. Hodge family deeded land next to the cemetery to be used for additional parking space on days there are large crowds at
Notes by Barbara Knox:
Re the Mize family: David Mize Sr. was b. 1785 Ky and died 1831 Pike Co. Ill; married Hannah Peters. Several of their
children came to Texas, living in Bosque, Grimes and other counties. David Mize Jr. was b. 1823 Ill., and d. 1848 Navarro Co; he married (prob. Pike Co. Ill) Sarah [surname not known]. The family was in Navarro Co. by 1847; she is shown as widow with
children 1850 census; in 1860 was living Buchanan, Johnson Co. Sally A. Mize married Noble Wade 20 Sept 1860 in Johnson Co. Her known children by David Mize were: Margaret Lou who m. 1861 William David Sherrill in Navarro Co; and David N.
Re Emma Sessions and Permelia Sessions: Isaac Boone
Sessions [in Navarro County by 1848] m/1 in Chickasaw Co Miss. Emily "Emma" Spurlin, who died in 1850; he m/2 in Navarro County November 1850 Mrs. Permelia Spurlin Gordon who died in 1852.
Re the Griggs family: Henry Griggs was b. Dec. 1793;
d. Dec. 1871; m. Oct 1816 Hancock Co. GA, Nancy/Ann G. Sturdivant, b. Oct. 1798; d. 1868. Henry Griggs was b 1783 and d. 1871; he m. 30 Oct 1816 Hancock Co. Ga. Nancy/Ann G. Sturdivant. In 1850 they were living in Grimes Co. Tex., having moved from
Sparta, Ga., with three children at home: John William, Francis Marion and Martha A. E. The family moved to Navarro County after 1860