Mission Statement:
Located in Dallas’ Forest Hills neighborhood on the original homestead of pioneer Warren Angus Ferris, the 1847 Ferris Historic Cemetery is the final resting place of prominent early settlers. It is the mission of the Friends of the Warren Ferris Cemetery to recognize and honor those buried there, to design and execute a landscape restoration plan and to beautify and maintain the landscape to the standards of a certified wildlife & monarch butterfly way station, and to promote environmental stewardship. The Friends of the Ferris Cemetery will secure the funds, report historic findings and hire the necessary staff to continue the ongoing project.
The Friends of the Warren Ferris Cemetery are restoring the neglected landscape of the historical cemetery. After remediation, a marker naming many of the approximately 100 people buried at the site, including Warren Ferris himself will be located to replace original tombstones vandalized or stolen over the past century.
The Warren Angus Ferris Cemetery was established in the mid-1800s on the Ferris homestead and was used by the Ferris family and neighboring community. There is historical evidence that it also contained the graves of freedmen and possibly Latino residents. The last person buried there was Rev. Taylor, a noted African American minister who lived nearby.
As a mountain trapper, Warren Ferris was the first to chart the marvels of Yellowstone National Park. Subsequently a Texas pioneer, he came to the Three Forks of the Trinity River as a surveyor in the late 1830’s. Camping on the banks of White Rock Creek, he was ultimately to survey the land that became the city and county of Dallas, before moving to a 640-acre parcel in what is now Forest Hills.
In 1986 at the suggestion of the Dallas County Historical Commission, SMU conducted archaeological investigations at the Ferris Cemetery. This resulted in the placement of a Texas historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission on the site in 1988. The marker is still prominently visible on St. Francis Avenue.
More recently, the landscape of the cemetery had become a dense thicket of exotic invasive woody plants and trees. The removal of invasive species through the work of the Ferris Cemetery Friends, is already allowing for the natural emergence of bio-diverse native growth. This in turn, will support native wildlife and invigorate a local and migratory habitat.
Temporary explanatory signs have been placed around the property to inform about the ongoing remediation.
Proposed work adheres to the New Landscape Provisions and Tree Ordinance rules of Dallas and to the recommendations in the 1986 Archaeological Report. Arborist, Karen Woodward, City Forester, City of Dallas, has approved the project.
To support the program, a scope of work has been prepared by prominent, local landscape architect Michael Parkey, who was instrumental in the design of the Dallas Arboretum and the Discovery Gardens. Objectives of the work include:
  • Conduct an ongoing species inventory of all plants
  • Remove invasive exotic species by selective and carefully targeted methods
  • Preserve and encourage existing native species, especially those with habitat value
  • Add native species typical of this habitat not already extant on the site
  • Improve low-impact pedestrian access to the site.

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Communities Foundation of Texas