Willow Wild Cemetery, Bonham
About Willow Wild Cemetery, Bonham
Willow Wild Cemetery, located at 1220 West Seventh Street in Bonham, Texas, was established in 1878 and designated a Historic Texas Cemetery in June 2012. Maintenance and operations are provided by Willow Wild Cemetery Association, Inc.
The original 40 acres along Powder Creek were purchased with funds donated by John Simpson, a prominent figure in Bonham’s past whose burial site is near the front gate. Today the cemetery stretches across 90 acres of rolling Blackland prairie, home to almost 10,000 graves. During the Civil War, this plot of land stood used as a military outpost. The scant forces positioned here were tasked with patrolling 600 miles along the Red River and the surrounding frontier.
Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the U. S. House of Represetatives for 17 years, is the most famous historical figure to be buried at Willow Wild. Four Presidents stood at his grave during his funeral in 1961. One hundred members of Congress attended his services at The First Baptist Church of Bonham.
“IT REMINDS THE FAMILIES THAT THEY ARE PART OF A SPECIFIC CEMETERY WITH A DEFINITE TRADITION.” So says Cindy Baker Burnett, a former Association President, in a piece she wrote in 2013 about Willow Wild’s first annual homecoming event, Dinner on the Ground. “In short, we sit down, we eat lunch, and we interact as members of a family.” And what is Willow Wild, if not a large and a very endearing, yet very concerned, family of friends.