John A. Merrifield was born 29 December 1792 in Harden County, Kentucky. He was 1st cousins twice removed for the famous Daniel Boone. Son of Alexander Merrifield and Rachel Boone Merrifield. John A. Merrifield served in Captain Thomas Joyes’ Company Kentucky Detached Militia commanded by John Davis From November 10 1814 until May 10 1815. He fought at the battle of New Orleans with Joyes Company on January 8 1815. He also fought in the Mexican War when he was mustered into service on May 13 1846 and was wounded at the battle of Buena Vista Mexico on February 23 1847. After the Mexican War he applied for Bounty Land for his service in the Mexican War. He and his family moved to Dallas Texas in 1850. The following overview and photos of John’s life are witten and posted by Juli Quinteros de Hernanez at Find A Grave.
John “Jack” Merrifield born 1792, fought at the battle of the “Cotton Bales” at New Orleans. He served twice during the War of 1812, once for a friend. He returned to Kentucky and married (1) in 1816 Sally Welsh born 1800 in Kentucky. She was the daughter of John and Sarah Welsh. While still in Kentucky, they had Milton, Fieldon, William, John Welsh, Sarah, Samuel, Jefferson, and Rachel born 1832. In August 1833, John’s wife, Sally and daughter Sarah, age 7, both died in a cholera epidemic.
On 20 April 1834 John “Jack” Merrifield married (2) Miss Mary Elizabeth Foreman, daughter of Thomas and Katherine Foreman. All of their children were born in Kentucky: Thomas Alexander was born and died in June 1835; Susan Amanda born July 1836; twins, Joseph Foreman and Katherine Foreman born April 1840; and Benjamin Franklin born February 1843.
John “Jack” Merrifield’s sons by his front wife Milton, William, Samuel and Jefferson came to Texas “to spy out the land”. In the history of Cedar Hill, Texas it was reported to about 1847. The date of John’s first deed was February, 1851. It was for a half section already improved and subject to foreclosure. The northwest corner of the property is at what is now Hampton and Jefferson in Oak Cliff. A triangular plot 54.9 feet along Hampton and running back 229.6 feet east along Jefferson contains the Merrifield Cemetery. The original property contained Sunset High School and ran south on Hampton to Clarendon. He enlarged the two-room log house (already on the property when he bought) to accommodate his large family. He built a third room and lined the walls with cedar panels from lumber brought in from the Texas coast. It had a large fireplace, and there was a good well just south of the house. The building in later years rang with the laughter of youth; Boy Scouts used it for their boisterous meetings just a few years before it was condemned and torn down.
One of the first settlers in Oak Cliff, then known as Hord’s Ridge during Dallas’ early days in North Texas, he farmed & owned land at the present day site of Hampton & Jefferson, including the site Sunset High School in Dallas sits on. Of the more than 20 burials in this cemetery, only the graves of him, his wife & one son are still visible due to vandalism. Other family members are also said to be buried here as well but no longer have markers.
The following article was found in the Dallas Morning News in 1945 written by Clare Mac Dermott and talks about some of the family members of John A. Merrifield and the creation of the Merrifield Cemetery.
Tragic and Historic Stories Lie Beneath Tombstones of the Old Merrifield Cemetery in Western Oak Cliff
Miss MacDermott writes about the “ancient cemetery located at the intersection of the North Hampton road and West Jefferson avenue” finding overturned monument with name: “John Merrrifield, born Dec 28, 1792, died July 21, 1873.” Also:”Elizabeth, wife of John Merrifield, born Oct 30, 1802; died Sept. 16, 1889.” This pioneer, the grandfather of the present Merrifields, came to Texas in 1853 from Bloomfield,Ky. He lived on the Hampton road and dropped dead at the age of 83 in front of the old cottage.” The article continues:” Not far away the tomb of “Johanna, daughter of F.M. Merrifield born July 15, 1869; died May 31, 1870.”
article continues: ” A tragic story lies behind the crumbling tombstone of “Benjamin F. Merrifield, the son of John Merrifield, who died in 1868, aged 23 years. Passing the place one night with a girl companion the youth lightly remarked that it would be “a nice place in which to be buried.” A week later he was buried there, having been shot at a dance by a Frenchman in a quarrel over a girl. The Frenchman then disappeared and was never heard of again. Benjamin F. Merrifield was the first to be buried in this old cemetery. The following autumn Elizabeth, his mother, John Merrifield’s wife was laid to rest there. She grieved herself to death over her son’s death.”
article continues: “One of the most recent monuments bears the inscription: “Joseph Merrifield, died Sept 16, 1899,” and specifically informs the reader that the deceased was aged “59 years, 7 months and 24 days.” It also carries the inscription “Death, thou art infinite; ’tis life is little.”
continuing: “….present-day Merrifields among whom are T.A. Merrifield, 420 Hampton road; his brother, William J. Merrifield, 925 Sunset. William J. Merrifield has a son, J.J. Merrifield, now residing in Fort Worth; another son, C.B. Merrifield, deceased, and a sister, Mrs. Lizzie Freeman Merrifield.
According to William J. Merrifield, 925 Sunset street, at the time his grandfather, John Merrifield, lived on the Hampton road, the locality not far from the old graveyard was known as the French colony. He said that the settlers in those days farmed and raised chickens for a livelihood. They also attended dances and balls in the evenings which were given at different places in the neighborhood. Another form of amusement at the time was a “social”. …..Hampton road was then known as Wheatland road.”
Today the cemetery only has two tombstone that stand errect. How many people are buried in the cemetery is not certain. Some sources say as many as 80 people and other sources say 40, but whatever the number of people buried there, the Cemetery is another forgotten historical area of Old Oak Cliff and within the Sunset Hill Addition.
Below is a photo found in the Dallas Morning New showing the tombstone of John A. Merrifield and his wife. Notice that the large building in the background is Sunset High School