Holy Family Catholic Church ● 210 St. Joseph Street ● Nazareth, TX 79063 ● (806) 945-2616
Holy Family Cemetery:
The Story of Nazareth, Texas in Standing Stones and Lasting Memories
The Holy Family Cemetery was established in 1902 by Father Joseph Reisdorff, a German Catholic priest and founder of Nazareth, TX.
Fr. Reisdorff advertised the budding town to other German Catholics, who began settling the land. German heritage echoes from the names on most of the headstones in the cemetery. Nestled within, a contrasting name, McCormick, recalls the founding Irish family who moved
to this area in the early 1890’s. To aid their children’s faith and education, they influenced
Fr. Reisdorff to further colonize the community. Hispanic names are also inscribed around the
cemetery, illuminating another facet of local culture.
At first glance, the Holy Family Cemetery looks similar to other small community cemeteries. Upon closer inspection, themes begin to emerge that speak to Nazareth’s unique history and culture. One common refrain is that of perseverance in the face of hardship. The people of Nazareth have endured rugged pioneer life, military conflict, agricultural challenges, and the
untimely deaths of beloved family members. The story that surfaces from the stones is not
one of despair, however, but one of strength, love, and comradery. Another melody woven through the cemetery is of unending faith, even after the earthly body is gone. Religion has been a central part of Nazareth life since the town’s inception in 1902, a trait carved on headstones and monuments from the earliest days of the cemetery to the present.
As you visit the cemetery, look for these three markers of interest:
Helping to tell the story of the cemetery are the unique individuals who have lived and died in Nazareth. Their personalities shine through engravings upon their headstones: a tractor, a pair of knitting needles, a football helmet, a music note. The livelihoods and hobbies of the people interred here are captured in symbols that remind us of their vibrant lives and earthly interests. Other symbols are common, bringing comfort through a universal language. These symbols include lambs on children’s markers (innocence), praying hands (faith), or interlocking rings (marriage).
- Anna Lackerman (Row M, alphabetical lettering from the West, Lot 13, middle of North Central Section) – Born Anna Heidgerken in New Munich, MN, she was the first person interred into the cemetery in 1906. Her burial completed the circle of life that had only just begun in Nazareth.
- The McCormicks (Row L, one row West of Lackerman) – This family were Irish pioneers and the first to settle in the area.
- R.T. Dirks (Row E, West of the McCormicks) – Though several Nazareth citizens assisted in the war effort during WWII, R.T. Dirks was the only casualty.
The Holy Family Parish has enhanced the cemetery’s beauty and serenity since it opened over 100 years ago. Here are a few of the cemetery’s remarkable additions:
- The Stone Crucifixion Group (1944) – Striking stone statuary portraying Christ at his moment of death, surrounded by the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John the Beloved.
- Sacred Heard of Jesus (1985) – Comforting representation the Savior’s love and saving grace.
- Memorial for Unborn Children (1995) – Humble monument to children who pass before they even begin life on earth.
- New Jerusalem Oratory (2012) – Structure added as a place for reflection as well as information on the cemetery.
Please visit the Holy Family Cemetery if you find yourself in Nazareth,
and read for yourself the historic story in the stones.