A Passing: Margaret Doggett Crow

Margaret Crow (File photo)

Margaret Crow (File photo)

Margaret Doggett Crow’s life was the stuff of which great movies are made. Born in 1919, she was an only child whose parents died in an automobile accident in 1939 just outside Waxahachie, when she was just 19.

Months later, after touring Europe with friends, she was on board the S.S. Athenia returning to the States when a German submarine torpedoed the ship. She made it to a lifeboat and was rescued by a Norwegian merchant ship that took her to Galway, Ireland, where a young John Kennedy welcomed her and the other survivors.

Three years later, the Hockaday graduate married a young naval officer,  Fred Trammell Crow. During their 66-year marriage, they would raise six children (Robert, Howard, Harlan, Trammell S., Lucy Billingsley and Stuart) and build a real estate empire. They traveled the world and entertained international world leaders at the family home.

When Trammell died in 2009, his ashes were interred at the family farm in East Texas and at the Daniel Cemetery on Airline Road. Just two years later, their eldest son Robert died and joined his father at the family cemetery in University Park.

The Daniel Cemetery was established in 1850 by Margaret’s great-great-grandmother Francis Sims Daniel* who, like Margaret, was legendary.

We regret to report Margaret died Friday night. In the days ahead, she will be reunited with her husband and son in Daniel cemetery. Our condolences to the Crow family and to all those who were part of Margaret Crow’s amazing life.

* A story about Francis Sims Daniel and Daniel Cemetery follows the jump.

The following article was written for the Park Cities People in 2012 by Jeanne Prejean:

Protected from the outside world by a padlocked iron fence and shaded by century-old bois d’arc trees, the tombstones of Daniel Cemetery read like a Who’s Who among the earliest pioneering families of the Park Cities. Located on Airline Road at Milton, the 1.2-acre graveyard has been recognized for its historical prominence by the Jane Douglas Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Texas Historical Commission and the Park Cities Historical Society.

Daniel cemetery (File photo)

Daniel cemetery (File photo)

And it all started thanks to one determined widow who set her mind to “Go To Texas” 163 years ago.

Frances Sims Daniel's headstone (File photo)

Frances Sims Daniel’s headstone (File photo)

The year following the death of her husband, the Rev. John M. Daniel, in 1848, Frances Sims Daniel arrived in Dallas at the age of 53 from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. But she wasn’t alone. With her were six of her nine children and 22 other family members, friends and slaves. Frances and her band set up camp just north of what would become Southern Methodist University and purchased 640 acres for $320 just north of SMU’s present-day Dallas Hall. The location was bounded by what’s now Turtle Creek Blvd. on the west, Lovers Lane on the north, Haynie Avenue on the south and Greenville/Central Expressway on the East. Over time Frances accumulated a total of 2,100 acres that eventually became University Park and part of north Dallas.

According to Frances’s granddaughter, the late Fannie Branch Daniel, it was during the first four years that the Daniel settlement became a collection of “rough-logged houses, roofed with boards and floored with puncheons.

“Just before the war between the states, the original homestead . . . was abandoned due to the drying up of the water wells, which were supplying the family,” said Fannie. “A new home was built close to Turtle Creek in the vicinity of Curtis Park.”

Isabella Daniel Harwood's tombstone (File photo)

Isabella Daniel Harwood’s tombstone (File photo)

The initial need for a cemetery came about in 1850 when “Old Frank,” the Daniels’ slave for more than 35 years, died. He was buried near the main house in an orchard of freshly planted bois d’arc trees. Within months, Frances’s 14-year-old daughter Isabella O. Harwood (1837-1851), who was a young mother married to Dallas County Clerk Alexander Harwood, died and was buried in the southeast corner of the orchard.  According to the Texas Historical Commission, Isabella’s gravestone is “believed to be one of the oldest in Dallas County.”

As the hardships of pioneering took its toll on the group, the number of tombstones grew. On Oct. 29, 1853, Frances herself died at the age of “57 Y’s 9M’s & 10D’s” and was buried next to Isabella.

On July 2, 1867, former Dallas Mayor Joshua Lafayette Smith (1861), husband of Frances’s youngest daughter Margaret, was killed on the courthouse steps and buried in the family cemetery.

When her youngest daughter Sophronia Smith Moore died in 1897, Margaret had the fence built around the orchard that now serves as the final resting place for nearly 100 souls.

Today, Daniel Cemetery is the only cemetery in the Park Cities and has been “dedicated and restricted to the heirs and descendants of Frances Daniel” since 1896. Among the names on its tombstones are some of Dallas’ oldest families including Harwood, Robertson, Doggett, Hunt, Simmons and Crow.

F. Trammell Crow's tombstone (File photo)

F. Trammell Crow’s tombstone (File photo)

The Trammell Crow family matriarch Margaret Crow was recently asked if, indeed, her infant child was buried in the cemetery in addition to her husband Trammell and son Robert. Without hesitation, the 93-year-old, great-great-granddaughter of Frances Daniel replied, “Yes, and my mother and father [Lillian and Edwin Doggett] and my grandparents [Mattie and James Smith]. Only family is buried there.”

Margaret Crow's parents' headstone (File photo)

Margaret Crow’s parents’ headstone (File photo)

Comments

  1. Honor Franklin says:

    What a wonderful article, Jeanne, for a wonderful woman. Never knew about this family cemetery or Margaret Crow’s interesting family history! Thank you for sharing! xxxooo

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  1. […] of real estate developer Trammell Crow, Margaret Crow was a philanthropist and, as Jeanne Prejean writes, had the kind of life story that makes for great movies. The Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection […]

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