Sunday, February 12, 2017

Felix Lindsey Gone But Not Forgotten At Wichita Falls Riverside Cemetery

The oldest cemetery in Wichita Falls is Riverside Cemetery, located on a bluff on the south side of the Wichita River, adjacent to Lucy Park, with Wichita Falls flowing from its north side.

Most of Wichita Falls most famous and infamous citizens are buried in Riverside Cemetery. Familiar local names like  Kemp, Kell, Barwise and others.

Multiple Texas State Historical Markers tell the story of many of the Riverside Cemetery inhabitants.

Walking around Riverside Cemetery takes one on a trek through Texas and American history, past statuary, elaborate mausoleums and monuments.

Among the Texas State Historical Markers is one telling the story of Felix L. Lindsey.

The text on the Felix Lindsay Historical Marker...


Felix L. Lindsey was born in Gallatin County, Kentucky on October 10, 1847. His mother was mulatto and his father was full-blood Creek Indian. He was sent to live with a white family named Meeks when he was seven years old and was provided a small amount of education so that he could help with the family's business. During the Civil War, Lindsey was tasked by the family with carrying food to Union soldiers camped nearby and he developed a fondness for the uniform. In 1882, Lindsey joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 10th Calvary Regiment of "Buffalo Soldiers" at Fort Davis, Texas. In 1885, his unit was sent to Arizona to pursue Apache tribe leader, Geronimo. In later accounts to interviewers Lindsey recalled pursuing Apaches along narrow canyon trails, witnessing soldiers being shot from their horses and a brief encounter with Geronimo as he was negotiating his surrender. Felix Lindsey suffered three wounds that ended his military career at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1893.

Soon after, Lindsey moved to Wichita Falls where he married Mary Tillman and raised their family of nine children. Lindsey lived and worked in the African-American community, operating a drapery cleaning service and house cleaning service.  Physically limited by his military service wounds, Lindsey employed family members in his business ventures and earned respect among his clients. Felix L. Lindsey died in Wichita Falls on September 14, 1939 at the age of 92. The life of Felix Lindsey is a testament to the passion and perseverance of African Americans after the Civil War to prosper and earn respect during a turbulent time in Texas and our nation.

From the official City of Wichita Falls Riverside  Cemetery webpage....

Riverside is the oldest cemetery in Wichita Falls. It was originally known as Wichita Cemetery. The first burial took place December 18, 1879.

Many of the City's founding fathers and their families are buried in Riverside as well as a few infamous former citizens. There are many hand carved granite monuments and mausoleums that date back to the early 20th century that make for interesting viewing during a quiet walk among the stately trees and picturesque trails.

From the Texas State Historical Marker one comes to at the entry to Riverside Cemetery...

African American citizens organized the “Riverside Colored Burial Association,” and in 1906 the city sold the association a half-acre on Riverside’s northwest corner. Hundreds of burials took place in that section, although today few grave markers remain. Improvement to Riverside over the years included a chapel, iron fencing and gates, landscaping and street paving. 

Near the Felix Lindsey Historical Marker, and grave marker, in the African-American section of Riverside Cemetery, is the above headstone, fallen on hard times, literally, with the name no longer able to be read, with the epitaph an ironic, "GONE  BUT NOT FORGOTTEN"...

No comments: