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Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas: From Pioneers & Comanches to Mickey Mouse & Folk Ballet

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Researching Paranormal Texas

The following is an adapted excerpt from my travel guide to haunted places, a book called Paranormal Texas. To see a 5-minute info-video I made to accompany this story (with even more photos) watch the video below:

And here’s a more recent video I made about Deep Creek Cemetery, in which I explain the meaning of several tombstone symbols:

I don’t know why so many cemeteries are reportedly haunted, but here’s what we found on our first journey to Deep Creek Cemetery near Boyd, Texas:

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Pretty Country Drive to a Historic Texas Cemetery

Deep Creek Cemetery is a short drive up the road from Boyd, Texas. Getting there takes you on a pretty country drive through tree-lined lanes. If the weather is good, take a picnic!

Directions to Deep Creek Cemetery

The directions to Deep Creek Cemetery are as follows:

From Decatur: head south on Hwy 287, then turn right on CR 4227. The cemetery is about 5 miles (past Deep Creek) on the right.

From Rhome head west on Hwy 114, then turn right CR 4227 to the cemetery on the left after about 4 miles.

Please note: Thanks to a chained-off gate, you must park at the main entrance, then take a half-mile stroll down a pretty country lane to reach Deep Creek Cemetery.

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Interesting Historical Tidbits

Once you reach the cemetery, you will see another gate, with a Texas State Historical Marker nearby. I sometimes glaze over while reading those markers, but this one is quite interesting and inspired me to follow up with more research afterwards so I could fill in a few of the more intriguing blanks.

The town of Deep Creek took its name from the steep banks of a nearby waterway where early settlers, Tom McCarroll and Sam Woody, arrived from east Texas with their family and friends in 1854. Thanks to that deep creek, the newcomers were able to raise cattle, corn, and the ever-important crop, cotton.

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

A Taste of the Real Wild West

Life in Deep Creek was far from easy, but things went pretty well until 1868, when 16-year-old Sallie Bowman found herself surrounded by Comanches while tending her family’s prize herd of fine horses. As the teen sped home on her trusty steed, three Native Americans followed in hot pursuit.

Sallie actually came quite close to escaping, but as she approached a neighbor’s farm, the homeowners watched in horror as two gunshots sent her tumbling to the ground. Both bullets struck her in the back, and were fired at such close range that they set her dress on fire! Sadly, although her father was a doctor, the young girl quickly succumbed to her wounds.

The Story Behind the Name on the Grave

We don’t always know the story behind the names we see in historic cemeteries, but the tale of Sallie Bowman gives us a taste of what life was like in the real Wild West. When you visit, keep your eye out for Miss Sally’s pretty, weather-worn monument, which (if you consider the cemetery gate to be the front) is located towards the back edge of the cemetery.

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

6 Degrees of Separation Leads to Mickey Mouse (not Kevin Bacon, for once!)

Further research into items mentioned on Deep Creek Cemetery’s Texas State Historical Marker sent me on a trail leading straight to Mickey Mouse!

You see, in 1860 a settler named Andrew Mann donated land to create Deep Creek Cemetery. Years later, his great-granddaughter, Burch Mann, founded the internationally renowned American Folk Ballet. While Mann is best known for providing the choreography for Walt Disney’s original Mouseketeers, she also created a ballet called “Winter at Deep Creek” based on the early Texas settlers from which she descended.

Winter At Deep Creek – An American Folk Ballet

I hunted around for videos of this ballet, but have not found anything…yet! The American Folk Ballet does has a Facebook page, so maybe they will be able to point me in the right direction. If you know anything about this particular ballet, please let me know.

Incidentally, when asked why she created the American Folk Ballet, Burch Mann explained that, “I wanted to create something that men would enjoy as much as women did. Men in Texas just weren’t ready for classical ballet.” To learn more about this interesting woman, check out a fascinating bio of Burch Mann, as well as this wonderful interview with Burch Mann where she says “My creativity seems to increase as I get older”.

What an inspiring person! I am glad to have been introduced to her via the Texas State Historical Marker at Deep Creek Cemetery.

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Vandals & Ground Penetrating Radar

My husband and I found a few wire markers with little flags and signs saying “GPRS” scattered throughout Deep Creek Cemetery. I later learned via pals on Instagram and Facebook, that “GPRS” stands for “Ground Penetrating Radar Service.” This caused me to do a little more research and learn that vandals knocked over a bunch of headstones a couple years ago. The radar service is then required to properly realign tipped over stones. This vandalisam is also the reason why the gate from the main road is now locked, requiring visitors to approach the graveyard on foot.

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Orbs and Hauntings in Deep Creek Cemetery

According to the book Ghosts in the Graveyard: Texas Cemetery Tales by Olyve Abbott folks have reported seeing a glowing gravestone at Deep Creek Cemetery, but details are pretty vague. (This is not to be confused with the glowing gravestone at Veal Station in Springtown, Texas which I have actually seen. Blog post and photos forthcoming!)

While I was impressed with Deep Creek Cemetery’s natural beauty, my husband and I did not encounter anything paranormal during our visit. No orbs, phantoms, or glowing tombstones appeared in my photos. Dang! Just bluebonnets, mockingbirds and lush trees.

Links to Paranormal Groups Research at Deep Creek Cemetery

That said, some north Texas ghost hunting groups have caught images of orbs and other anomalies during their investigations at Deep Creek Cemetery. Check out these links to see for yourself:

Heaven & Hell Paranormal Investigation Facebook Album for Deep Creek Cemetery

Haunted Texas Paranormal Society’s Facebook Album for Deep Creek Cemetery

Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Historic Deep Creek Cemetery in Boyd, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

Have you visited Deep Creek Cemetery?

Have you visited Deep Creek Cemetery? Do you enjoy exploring old cemeteries and unearthing forgotten history? Do you know of any other allegedly haunted places to visit in north Texas that I should include in my upcoming book? Please let me know in the comments section below. Thank you!

The Rest of My Photos of Deep Creek Cemetery

To see the rest of the photos from our research trip, visit the Facebook photo album for Deep Creek Cemetery on my Facebook Author page (it’s open to the public, so you don’t need a Facebook account to see the photos._ While you’re there, I hope you’ll take a moment to click the like button. It would mean a lot to me!

Curious about my books? I’ve got 3, so far…

To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best-selling travel guide: 
UNEXPECTED TEXAS: Your Guide to Offbeat & Overlooked History, Day Trips & Fun Things to do near Dallas & Fort Worth

For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best-selling travel guide to haunted places: 
PARANORMAL TEXAS: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Fort Worth

For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history: 
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber



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No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui Snider’s books can take you on a FUN adventure!

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  1. Leo Leo

    Hi guys! I love exploring old cemeteries. But is this one available to anyone who wants to see it?
    Am i allowed to just walk up to it and explore? Oh id love to. The story on your page sounds amazing!

    • Hi, Leo! Yes – this cemetery is open to the public. You have to walk about a half-mile into it by foot now. You used to be able to drive up to it, but it was vandalized a while ago by some idiots who drove through it and knocked over monuments. Since you enjoyed this blog post, you might also enjoy this video I made a few months ago while visiting Deep Creek Cemetery: Thanks for visiting my website and leaving a comment! If you get a chance to explore Deep Creek, let me know. :D

  2. Terry Williams Terry Williams

    The Woody’s at Veal Station are the same family that is from Deep Creek. I am a descendant of John Mann. LW Mann (b 1932) which is a defendant of Andrew Mann is still alive and well.

  3. Linzey Taylor Linzey Taylor

    Growing up my family lived in Boyd in a 2-story home from the 1800s that used to be a church. (down CR 4591) We owned 8 of the acres of woods that surrounded us. When my brother & I were younger we used to go exploring through the woods. We would go down the creeks & just hike all day. One time we found this amazing cemetery from the 1800s. I still to this day remeber exactly how it looks & how to get there. I am so happy I found this article. I found my childhood discovery!! If you could please email me the othsr photos you took I’d be beyond greatful! I do not have a Facebook account so Im not able to use the link used above.

    Thank you for your time&this amazing article!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Thank you, Linzey! Did you try clicking on the link in the article, anyway? I made the album public, so you shouldn’t have to be logged into Facebook in order to view the photos.

      Growing up in a historic home that used to be a church sounds fascinating! I’m glad that my article here could answer your question.

      Let me know if the link works for you & thanks again for stopping by & leaving a comment! :)

  4. Hi Tui
    I’ve come across from Lisa’s Bite Size and found you! I love this post. In the UK, London specifically we have a series of cemeteries known colloquially as the Magnificent Seven, well before Yul Brynner came along and nabbed the title. Most of them are now closed so used as nature reserves, dog walking paradises etc. In amongst them however are some of the most fabulous 19th Century mausoleums and monuments. My wife and I found my great grandfather’s grave recently. And of course there must be ghosts! You now make me want to post on these beauties to compare with this special Texan version.
    I looked at the blog hop and it seems a great idea but I’m not really sure how it works. I post on everything on my blog, both fiction, non fiction and stuff in between (that tends to be how I think of memoire since every time I post something, my brother comes on the line to debate the details!) Is that what you mean? Fr’instance (apart from posting on Lisa’s of course) I recently posted about a favourite walk around my home in South London. Is that the sort of thing?

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Geoff! I’ve heard of the Magnificent Seven and have even blogged about one of them here! If you type “Kensal Green” into the search bar on my blog, it will take you there.

      I’d love to see your photos of the Magnificent Seven! Please tag me either here or on Twitter (@TuiSnider) if you do so.

      I don’t think Lisa is doing the bite size memoirs anymore, alas!

      I’ll be sure to pop by your blog and say hi!

      Thanks again for stopping here and commenting. :)

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