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See the Credits and Acknowledgements of Grace Gilbert Smith.

The original work was transcribed and typed by Grace Gilbert Smith 
and web page transcription was by Donna Brand


The Johnson Mausoleum

A record of the cemeteries in this county would not be complete without mention of this well known burial located on a high hill overlooking Palo Pinto Creek as "Million Dollar View" on the old Johnson Ranch.

The mausoleum was built in 1923 according to instructions in the will of Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1922.  It is built of native stone with walls two and one half inches thick, is 18 X 18 feet square and surrounded by a stone fence.

An inscription reads simply: "Residents of Palo Pinto County from the year 1880.  Pioneers in the development of our natural recourses.  Leaders in all matters of material and moral progress.  Their works do follow them."

However, the story behind the building of this mausoleum is quite an unusual one, and was well told by Mary Whatley Clarke in The Palo Pinto Story.  She relates that the Johnsons both had a fear of being buried, and when their three year old daughter died, they had her embalmed and kept her upstairs in their home until a small brick house was built in the yard.  Her casket was placed there, and when their seven year old son died a few years later, he was dressed in a little costume he had worn in a school play, and was placed beside his sister in the little house.  The parents visited the burial every day.

In 1905 they moved from Strawn to a ranch they purchased on Palo Pinto Creek, and took the small coffins with them.  Here they built a second mausoleum which was almost washed away in a 1908 storm.

Mrs. Clarke says, "They forgot their cattle, sheep and goats in the flooded field, having no thought for anything else until the mausoleum was safely anchored.  Uncle John, the colored caretaker and carpenter of the death house, waded through the waters and tied the house safely to an elm tree.  He found the coffins in the water and hoisted them on trestles."

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are with their children now in the newer tomb after her death.  On  the door the inscriptions is:

William Whipple Johnson died 19 October 1914
Anna Fatzinger Johnson his wife, died 22 June 1922
Marion Johnson, daughter, died 07 November 1885 age 3 years
William Harvey Johnson, son died 24 June 1894 age 7 years.

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July 2010


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