Cemetery Not for Alligators
By Frank X. Tolbert
A SIGN ON State Highway 309 in southeastern Navarro County guides you to
"Alligator Cemetery, 1/4 mile." The sign also confuses some folks, who think
that this is a burial grounds for alligators.
Actually, this is just a pretty cemetery in a grove of trees and with a
few stands of palmettos on the site of the vanished City of Alligator, Texas,
later called Long Prairie. The Alligator Cemetery is east of Round Prairie and
When I stopped at the Alligator Cemetery there was a new Pontiac parked at
the iron gate. And off through the great oak trees and the green palmettos and
the autumn flowers I saw a lady in a sunbonnet, among the old flat middle 19th
century gravestones and shiny new monuments, chopping weeds with a hoe.
THE LADY WAS Mrs. S. H. (Lucy Ida Inmon) Phillips, aged 75, of Round
Prairie, and she said that her husband, who is 89, was off in a nearby field on
their farm running a tractor. "There's an Alligator reunion and cemetery working
every Fourth of July," she said. And as she chopped away with the hoe, she
added: "Only you can't keep a cemetery nice by just working it on the Fourth of
The City of Alligator (later Long Prairie) was named simply because it is
on Alligator Creek, a tributary of Richland Creek, where there were a lot of
alligators in the olden days and a few still make guest appearances.
Round Prairie and Long Prairie were so titled because of the contrast of
their open terrain with the forests along the creeks.
(From a Dallas Newspaper about 1957 - Alligator Cemetery is about 1/2 mile
from the home place of Jasper James Inman. Many Navarro Co. Inmons lay at rest
9/1/2004 Cemetery will be honored Saturday
A Historic Texas Cemetery marker at Long Prairie Cemetery south of
officially be unveiled this Saturday at 11 a.m.
Daily Sun photo/SCOTT HONEA
From Staff Reports
In 1870 the parents of a child named Sallie K. Burt carried her to be buried in
the grounds shared by the Long Prairie Methodist Church and the Long Prairie
Schools. Hers was the first grave there. Others followed. Local farmers and
merchants, wives and mothers, grandparents and all too many children and babies
were buried in the cemetery on the banks of Alligator Creek. Veterans of the
tragic War between the States, the short Spanish American War, and the War to
End All Wars were interred there. Each year the markers for those who fought in
World War II increase in the rows of the cemetery. A record of the last 134
years in a rural community is written there. Early settlers called the place
Alligator Cemetery. Later the name was changed to Long Prairie Cemetery.
Those buried in the Long Prairie Cemetery will be honored in a special ceremony
this Saturday. The Texas State Historical Commission has issued a Historical
Cemetery Marker to mark the location of Long Prairie Cemetery. The dedication
ceremony will be held on the cemetery grounds at SE CR 3230 in Kerens starting
at 11 a.m. Speakers will include Tom Perryman as Master of Ceremonies, historian
William Young and Judge John Jackson. A barbecue will be served after the
ceremony. All descendants and friends of those people buried in the cemetery are
invited to attend.
The cemetery is located on road SE CR 3230 which opens to the west off Farm
Market Road 309 south of Kerens. The intersection is marked by a Long Prairie
Cemetery sign and a North Shore Estate sign. A cemetery sign is planned for over
the metal gate to the cemetery grounds