Lake Chapel Main Index


Lake Chapel Cemetery  (a.k.a. Ward Prairie cemetery, a.k.a. Lake's Chapel cemetery)
Reprinted from the archives with permission of Eric Wood


Status: Active

Background:  At least by 1874, Lake Chapel cemetery was serving its community of Ward Prairie. The cemetery gets its name from the Lake family whose lands it was on and the chapel/school building that was moved here to be in a more central location for the community.

Historical Marker:
Pioneers Simeon and Nancy Lake and their seven children settled in this area in the mid-1850s. They built a home, cleared the land, and began farming. The settlement which gradually built up around the Lake farm became known as Lake Chapel community after a small church was built on their property about 1856. Known as Lake Chapel Methodist Church, it was also used by other denominations in the area. A schoolhouse was also constructed nearby, and two acres of land were set aside for a community burial ground. The earliest documented burial in the cemetery is that of the infant daughter of W. L. and Laura Lake Thornton. A granddaughter of Simeon and Nancy Lake, the child died at the age of five days in 1874. The church and school buildings were later moved from the property, and the graveyard's size was increased over the years. Among those interred here are members of the Lake and other pioneer families, as well as veterans of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The diverse styles of grave markers which can be seen in the cemetery reflect the social history of the area, offering a glimpse into the customs and traditions of the past.

NOTE - Newspapers of the time were not very clear which "Ward Prairie cemetery" people were buried.  This is one of a number of possible cemeteries (Day cemetery and Hickory Grove/Jameson cemetery.  However, this is by far the most likely cemetery they are referring to.

NOTE - There a large number of unmarked graves if one compares the newspaper accounts against the headstones of the surrounding area.

NOTE - Also be aware that it is common that families would move to Ward Prairie for several years and then move on to western Texas counties or Oklahoma.

Directions: This one is about seven miles northeast of Fairfield, near the Ward Prairie community.  From Fairfield drive on Farm Road #488 northeast seven miles until pass the Ward Prairie Baptist Church.  Enclosed by chain link fence.  Over the gate is labeled "THE LAKE CHAPEL CEMETERY".

Decimal degrees:  N 31.797524   W -96.144642
Degrees, minutes: N 31 47.851   W 096 08.678
UTM: Zone 14, Easting 770345, Northing 3521544

Number of Graves:

Oldest Marked Grave:  10/19/1874


*D* = Death Record on this website
*O* = Obituary on this website
*P* = Photo of tombstone on this website
*S* = SSDI on this website

A - K  L - P  R - Z