Opinion > Star Staff
Was Carrollton the best name for the city?
I live in Lewisville.
Because I had some business in Carrollton last Thursday afternoon, I found myself pulling into the parking lot of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD administration building two hours before time for the school board meeting.
To kill time, I decided to walk up to the historic Perry Cemetery to see if I could find the graves of some of my old friends and acquaintances.
I had the honor of being named community editor of the Carrollton Leader only last month. However, between 1994 and 2001 I worked for the old Metrocrest News on Josey Lane in Carrollton. During that time, I had made the acquaintance of several Carrollton city leaders.
Also during that time, I attended what was then the Belaire Baptist Church, which had been founded by the late Rev. L.R. Simons, who was the father of Carrollton Councilman Terry Simons.
I knew that some of the members of that church were buried in the Perry Cemetery.
Also, I had spent some time lately thinking about Milburn Gravley, who had served the city in many capacities over the years, including as a councilman and mayor. I had received information that the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce would be presenting the Milburn Gravley Citizen of the Year Award at the banquet. That made me wonder if he was still alive.
I couldn't boast that Milburn Gravley and I were good friends. We actually only had a mayor-reporter relationship. However, once I was invited to visit with him and his wife, Sylvia, in their home. I remember how impressed I was with how kind, sweet and humble they were. When I left, I was thinking about the prophecy about how the meek shall inherit the earth.
Last Thursday, I only walked a few yards into the cemetery until I saw right before my eyes a monument that stated:
Jan. 5, 1931-Oct. 13, 2012
Married Sylvia McInnish May 26, 1951
It made me realize how little a tombstone has to say about the person buried there.
I looked in the Oct. 17 issue of the Carrollton Leader for his obituary. It wasn't there. It should have been the top story on page one.
The Carrollton businessman who had served on numerous boards and commissions before finally deciding to run for the council was named Metrocrest Citizen of the Year in 1989. As far as I am concerned, he could have been named Citizen of the Century.
Milburn Gravley was the great-grandson of Alexander Wilson Perry, one of the founding fathers of Carrollton. The Perry Cemetery is obviously named after the Perry family. Several headstones in the cemetery have the Perry name on it.
Two historical markers are on the north side of the cemetery. One tells how the Rev. David Myers had established the Union Baptist Church there on May 10, 1846. The congregation first met in a pioneer home and then built a simple building. After that building was destroyed by fire, the congregation built another church a few blocks to the east on Josey Lane and named it Highland Baptist Church. About a dozen or so years ago, that congregation moved north into a new church called Castle Hills Baptist Church.
Throughout the Perry Cemetery, visitors will see several names on headstones such as Myers, Perry, Gravley and others.
Willie Rainwater, who is best known for his passion for preserving black history in Carrollton, also knows a lot about the entire history of the city. He said Carrollton, which was officially established when its first U.S. post office was opened in 1878, was so named by a group of settlers who came to the area from Carrollton, Ill.
That's OK, I guess. But I couldn't help thinking, wouldn't Perry, Texas, have been a better name?
Or Myers, Texas?
How about Gravley, Texas?