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Pioneer Cemetery

At the end of this short trail is the small community cemetery of Rich Mountain. There are 23 graves, only one of which has a legible inscription. The rest of the grave markers, consist of stones placed at the foot and the head of the graves. No one knows the date of the first burial. The land was deeded in 1890 for a church, school, and cemetery; the church and cemetery were already in existence at this time. The last person was buried here in 1949.

A dozen or more families settled the top of the mountain along a strip of 8 to 10 miles. A few of the settlers came as early as 1860. The soil is usually deep and rich along this relatively flat mountain top. Another attraction was the presence of springs and clean water.

Many homesteaders settled on Rich Mountain for health reasons. Malaria and tuberculosis were rampant in low lying communities of Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The mountain air and spring water were thought to be good for healing.

Others were seeking the freedom and independence of this secluded area often for illegal reasons such as moonshine operations or evading the law. For the most part, the settlers were “salt of the earth”, and a hardy breed.