I had the privilege today of meeting with the Caddo Civic and Cemetery Club, an organization that has served the needs of Caddo residents and taken loving care of the local cemetery since 1903. It was only my second meeting since officially joining last month, but I couldn’t help feeling that I was always meant to be there.
I’ve read about the Civic Club for more than twenty years. One can’t research any year of Caddo’s history without reading about the ongoing work of the club. They were already an active civic group when they decided in the summer of 1892 that the town’s twenty-year old cemetery could no longer be neglected. Burials had been random and haphazard. The whole lot was overgrown for much of the year. The dried grass caught fire a couple of times while attendees were smoking during funerals. Money had been donated for a fence, but it had not been erected. So the women made a valiant effort to organize, clean, fence, and maintain the cemetery. Imagine for a moment the time, effort, and money required for such a project. And it all began with a group of women sitting in a parlor thinking and planning.
For several years the group struggled with problems and faced opposition from many people. Many of the women gave up, but a core group continued to persevere against all odds and eventually formed the Mutual Civic and Cemetery Association in 1903. They solicited donations from businessmen, held fund raising events, and worked steadfastly toward their goal of having an attractive, secure, well-kept home for their departed loved ones. In 1906 they built the little chapel that still adorns the old section of the cemetery.
In the ensuing years hundreds of women, and a few men, have worked to provide a variety of improvements: landscaping, roads, signs, a workshop/office, veteran’s memorial. More are planned as funds are available. And finally…I will be part of the process. I feel honored and humbled by the thought of belonging to a group that has spanned so many generations and given such valuable service to the community.