Arkansaw Johnson & Press Perkins Graves Old Cottondale & Souther (Earp) Cemeteries
 4 small cemeteries in the Cottondale area, Wise County, Texas
Directions, Tables of Information & 
Links to Headstone Pictures are below on this page

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Arkansaw Johnson Grave

    The grave of the outlaw Arkansaw Johnson is located to the west of Cottondale. You go west from Cottondale on Fm Rd 2123, turn left on CR 3673, and then left on CR 3661. Thank you so much to Jean Lewis Raines who drove us across Salt Creek and her pastures and took us up the hill to the grave of Arkansaw Johnson.



    At one time a Boy Scout troop had set a wood marker at the site, but it was burned in a grass fire. The present metal plaque was put up by Curt Holdaway, from Amarillo, when he was doing research for a book.

Arkansaw Johnson
Shot to Death by
Texas Rangers
June 13, 1878

From the books: Sam Bass & Gang, by Rick Miller, State House Press, Austin, TX, 1999 &
History or Wise County, A Link With the Past , Rosalie Gregg, Editor, Historical Survey Committee, Nortex Press, 1975

Arkansaw Johnson is thought to have been born in Johnson County, Missouri. He had several aliases but his real name may have been Huckston. After service in the Union Army he engaged in horse stealing and highway robbery in Arkansas. He also robbed the Wilberforce house, killing the man and wife and raping their daughter.

In March of 1878 he and a man named Underwood broke out of a jail in Nebraska. They made their way to Texas to join Sam Bass’ gang. The gang had been active in Denton, Wise and surrounding counties stealing horses and robbing trains and banks.

On the morning of June 13, 1878 a Texas Ranger named Junius Peak (Picture below) was joined by a posse from Wise County lead by Sheriff George W. Stevens (Picture below). They closed in on the Bass gang at Salt Creek and shot Arkansaw Johnson through the chest as he was saddling his horse. He died instantly and was buried on the spot later that evening. The rest of the gang escaped. At Aurora they bought ammunition, and one told the people in the store "My name is Sam Bass. We just had a battle with the Rangers at Salt Creek. If they come by you tell them that we’re ready for ‘um." Sam Bass was killed within a month at Round Rock.


A 2007 article from 'The Bridgeport Index' is below. 
These are thumbnails. Click on them to make them large enough to read.

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Old Cottondale Cemetery

    Old Cottondale Cemetery is located on a hill to the southwest of the present Cottondale Cemetery. From Fm Rd 2123 at Cottondale turn south on CR 3585. Take the "T" to the right and go to the first gate on the right. This land was once owned by the Banks family and most of the graves were moved to the "new" cemetery.
Thank you so much to Jheroen "Jake" Dorenbosch and Kate Morgan who took us to this cemetery in April of 2001.
It is on a hill out in the pasture to the west of their house and barn. They have cleaned up the area and put a fence around the headstones that they originally found in the pasture. When a highline was put in a few years ago, the crew found two more headstones to the west of the fenced area. They are numbers 7 and 8 in the data table below.




# Name Born Date of Death Information Link to Headstone Picture
7 ? broken Jan 27, 1852 Nov 4, 1882   Cottondale-Old-7.jpg
4 Banks, Jabez W.   Feb 28, 1876   Cottondale-Old-4.jpg
4 Banks, Jabez W. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-4a.jpg
4 Banks, Jabez W. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-4b.jpg
4 Banks, Jabez W. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-4c.jpg
1 Johnson, James P. Jan 9, 1846 Sept 24, 1876   Cottondale-Old-1.jpg
1 Johnson, James P. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-1a.jpg
1 Johnson, James P. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-1b.jpg
1 Johnson, James P. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-1c.jpg
3 Keele, Clarica M. Nov 21, 1821 Sept 28, 1876 Wife of J. Cottondale-Old-3.jpg
3 Keele, Clarica M. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-3a.jpg
3 Keele, Clarica M. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-3b.jpg
5 McCleskey, William L.   1878 Aged 4 y 2 m Cottondale-Old-5.jpg
5 McCleskey, William L. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-5a.jpg
5 McCleskey, William L. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-5b.jpg
8 North, Mary Ida Apr 20, 1862 May 15, 1884 Wife of Jeff Cottondale-Old-8.jpg
8 North, Mary Ida Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-8a.jpg
8 North, Mary Ida Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-8b.jpg
8 North, Mary Ida Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-8c.jpg
8 North, Mary Ida Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-8d.jpg
8 North, Mary Ida Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-8e.jpg
2 Pike, Mary A. Oct 10, 1834 Nov 30, 1877 Born in Coweta Co. GA Cottondale-Old-2.jpg
2 Pike, Mary A. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-2a.jpg
2 Pike, Mary A. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-2b.jpg
6 Williams, W.R. no dates   broken - only "W.R. Willi" showing Cottondale-Old-6.jpg
6 Williams, W.R. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-6a.jpg
6 Williams, W.R. Additional Picture     Cottondale-Old-6b.jpg

Souther or Earp Cemetery

    Souther or Earp Cemetery is located several miles to the southwest of Cottondale.
You can go north from the Jacksboro Hwy (199) on Salt Creek Road, or you can go west from Cottondale and turn left on CR 3673 which becomes CR 3657 or Salt Creek Road. The cemetery gate is on the road just a tenth of a mile north of Indian Springs Road. You will see a large aluminum gate and a small walk-through gate. You can see the graves just to the right from the drive-through gate.



The only headstone we found in April 2001 said:
Wife of
G.W. Earp
Mar 9, 1858
May 14, 1905

    There were two rock-covered graves that may be children of Lizzie Earp. There is a George W. Earp (1857-1913) buried in West Bridgeport Cemetery. Also, there are records at the Wise County Heritage Museum of a Civil War Veteran buried here, but we did not find his headstone. The information is:

Franklin Souther
PVT 2nd Co.
Missouri Artillery
Capt. King’s Batt.
1839 - 1870

Email - June 5, 2009 from Jan Mueck <>

My name is Jan Mueck and yesterday (June 4th) my mother and I went and tried to locate the graves in the Souther Cemetery.  There is (was) a marked grave for Lizzie Earp with a stone and pipe fence around it.  To the left are two other graves.  The one closest to Lizzie is Franklin Souther.  He is my great, great grandfather.  Next to him is his daughter Laura.  We found the aluminum gate and the walk through gate.  Both gates were pad locked.  I have not been to the graves since the 1960's, but I can see them clearly in my minds eye.
Several years ago, someone contacted my father, Jerry Souther, now deceased, about moving the graves to the Bridgeport cemetery.  His response was that he wanted them left alone since they had been there so long.  Is it possible that they were moved without our approval? 
Do you know who owns the land that the graves are on?  You see, back in the 1960's, my parents worked with the Historical Society and got a grave marker for Frank.  They have moved numerous times and have always moved the marker with them.  I would really like to get the marker for Frank set.  I would also like to try to find out what happened to Laura's marker.  She was 12 years old when she died and had a marker in the 60's.  My mom can provide her dates and more information on the three graves.
I personally do not remember the connection between Lizzie and Frank.  I do know that Frank's widow went on to marry an Earp.  She had a house outside Bridgeport, and was called "Granny Earp".
Thank you,
Jan Souther Mueck   

Press Perkins Grave

    The Perkins Family Cemetery is known to be about 4 miles southwest of Cottondale. There have not been any readable headstones there in years, but signs of a cemetery are still visible in the pasture. We could not find any data on who is buried there.
The grave of Press Perkins is suppose to be to the northeast of Perkins Cemetery, but no marker can be found in the area. He was killed in one of the Indian raids of the 1860s.
The following is an account of the death of Press Perkins taken from The Pioneer History of Wise County by Cliff D. Cates, Compiled under the auspices of the Wise County Old Settler’s Association, 1907. This book is available at the Wise County Heritage Museum. It has many stories about the Indian attacks in the county with the names of the early settlers involved. In the index of the book you see many of the family names that are still residents of the area.

"Press Perkins met a sad and solitary death. He lived on Salt Creek, about four miles south of the present town of Cottondale; he was married and about 35 years old. The last seen of him in life was when he started out in the morning to round up and bring in the ox-team. The next seen of him he was dead, his body filled with bullets and arrows, on the spot where John Looman and others of Waggoner's cow-hands found him. The Indians were coming into the county on this raid, having passed Galley Stevens' place, where they took a fine mare, with sixty feet of buffalo-hide lariat tied to her neck."