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After three years of cooperative effort and research, the
City of Deer Park recently secured a Texas Historical Subject Marker signifying
the location of the gravestone of two early Deer Park settlers.
Approved by the Texas Historical Commission in late January,
the marker will be placed in central Dow Park, where the gravestone of siblings
Mary Wilson Jackson and William Jackson is currently located.
“We are very, very excited and happy to have received
approval for this Historical Marker,” said Sherry Garrison, City Council member
and Historical Committee Chair. “We have been working on this project for three
years, and we could not have achieved this milestone without the hard work of
the Harris County Historical Commission, SWCA Environmental Consultants and the
dedication of our staff.”
The gravestone of the Jackson siblings was originally
located on Shell Deer Park property and was moved to Dow Park during a 1977
expansion project with a small container containing a cubic foot of earth from
the original site. The container served as a functional casket for the remains
of the siblings.
In 2008, the gravestone was moved to Heritage Park where it
remained until 2016.
At that time, the City contracted with Texas Cemetery
Restoration to carefully clean the gravestone and to provide an analysis of its
base. With the knowledge the gravestone could safely be transported, City
Council approved moving the gravestone back to Dow Park, allowing the stone to
once again be co-located with the container of earth.
With the gravestone and the casket together again, the City started
the process of pursuing a Texas Historical Marker and began working with Paul
Scott – the State Marker Chair for the Harris County Historical Commission - as
well as Hannah Curry-Shearhouse, a historic preservationist with SWCA.
“Working with Mr. Scott allowed us to determine first,
whether the Dow Park site would constitute a legal gravesite, and second, what
kind of marker we would be eligible for,” Garrison said. “With assistance from
Curry-Shearhouse, who drafted our official Texas State Historical Marker
application, we were able to accurately present the history of the marker to
the Texas Historical Commission and await their decision.
“In January 2018, we received approval for a Texas
Historical Subject Marker for ‘Early Deer Park Settlers.’ We were overjoyed
when we received the news!”
According to Scott, Deer Park’s application was one of only 155
marker applications approved by the Texas Historical Commission for the entire state
“This was a good learning experience for all involved,” he said.
“Deer Park fulfilled its duty to preserve the monuments of our past.”
Curry-Shearhouse said she was very pleased to have been a
part of securing the historic recognition for Deer Park.
“Councilwoman Garrison was very helpful in identifying
research sources, providing materials, and making sure that I had all of the
tools I needed in order to write the marker application,” she said. “It was
really interesting to write about the Jackson and Wilson grave marker because
the stone has such a unique story.”
Garrison wished to specifically thank Assistant City Manager
Gary Jackson and Special Projects Coordinator Cristina Gossett for their
assistance throughout the course of the marker application process.