While making my away through Arlington, I wanted to stop by the Berachah Cemetery to pay my respects and also to help tell the story. The adjacent Doug Russell Park, albeit small, was a beautiful intro to the story for me. There was a calm and cool breeze the entire time I was there. Serene if you will. With the sun peaking through the trees, dappling light on the path through the park to the cemetery, there was definitely a despondent feeling.
a rich history with lessons to learn
Nestled within the bustling city of Arlington, Texas, lies a hidden gem of history and compassion: the Berachah Cemetery. This hallowed ground serves as a testament to a unique mission led by Reverend James T. Upchurch and his wife, Maggie Mae Newton. In this blog post, we will explore the rich history of the Berachah Cemetery, the stories behind its residents, and the enduring lessons it imparts to visitors today.
A Sanctuary for the Forsaken
Founded in 1903 by Reverend Upchurch, the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls aimed to provide a safe haven for young women who had been shunned by society. Pregnant, unmarried women found solace in this home, where they were offered shelter, education, and a chance to learn valuable skills to help them reintegrate into society.
The Berachah Cemetery, located adjacent to the home, was established as the final resting place for those who passed away while residing at the institution. It also served as a burial site for infants who did not survive. Today, the cemetery contains over 80 marked graves, each with its own story of struggle and redemption
Although the institution closed its doors in 1935, the legacy of compassion and hope it represented lived on through the Berachah Cemetery. Over the years, the cemetery fell into disrepair, with many of the gravestones damaged or lost. However, efforts by dedicated volunteers and the Arlington Historical Society have helped restore the cemetery to its former glory, ensuring that the stories of its residents are not forgotten.
Notable Graves and Stories
Some of the most poignant stories from the Berachah Cemetery include:
- Elsie Lillian Hall: Born in 1904, Elsie was the first child to be buried in the cemetery. Her mother, Lula Mae Hall, was a resident of the home who later married Reverend Upchurch's son, Charles.
- Sarah Elizabeth Hunter: Sarah was a resident who gave birth to a stillborn child in 1912. Tragically, she also passed away at the age of 25 and was buried alongside her child.
- Maggie Mae Newton: As the co-founder of the home and wife of Reverend Upchurch, Maggie dedicated her life to helping the women who sought refuge in the institution. She was laid to rest in the cemetery in 1955.
- Pearl Simmons: She was orphaned as a teenager after her and her father died, with her mother passing away earlier in life. The Berachah organization brought her to their home in Arlington. She became part of their famous lady quartet visiting churches and revivals, She went to India as a missionary and died from smallpox.
Potential lessons for Today
The Berachah Cemetery serves as a poignant reminder of the power of compassion and the importance of providing a safe haven for those who need it most. It also offers a glimpse into the lives of women who struggled in a time when society was far less understanding of their predicaments.
Visiting the Cemetery
The Berachah Cemetery is located at 801 W. Mitchell Street in Arlington, Texas. Open to the public, visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds, reflect on the stories of its residents, and appreciate the enduring legacy of hope and redemption.
The Berachah Cemetery stands as a testament to the strength and resilience of the women who called the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls their sanctuary. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of compassion and understanding in our society. By preserving and honoring this piece of Arlington's history, we can continue to learn from the past and work towards a more inclusive and empathetic future.
about the author
Mike Quintero is the owner of Texas Sport Shots, where he has been capturing the passion and excitement of sports for many years. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the dynamics of various sports, Mike has excelled in immortalizing athletes' achievements and emotions on and off the field. When he's not behind the camera, Mike enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with fellow photographers, aspiring to inspire and shape the next generation of sports photographers.