Drawn to fertile lands of north Texas, settlers began arriving in this area in significant numbers after 1850. Montague County was established in 1858 and the area began to grow. B. L. Starkey and his sons Columbus and Napoleon came from Ellis County with their families about the time of the Civil War. According to oral history, Starkey Cemetery began in the 1860s. A newly-arrived pioneer family named Wells was settling in for the winter when their small daughter died. The family asked Columbus Starkey, their closest neighbor, for permission to bury the child on the Starkey family land. Another of the Wells children died that same year and was also interred here. The property soon became a community cemetery. B. L., Columbus and Napoleon Starkey organized a Methodist church on this site in the 1870s. By 1875, those interred here included members of the Mounts, Lemons and Flatt families. The first of the Starkeys to be interred on this site were twins Helen and Ellen, daughters of Napoleon and M. C. Starkey, who died and were buried in 1886. The Starkey community school, attended by students from surrounding areas, was funded by the Starkey family. Matilda Ellen McKinney Sloss, born in 1850, came to the area as a young girl. In a 1940 interview with another church member, Grandmother Sloss related much of the oral history that is known about this area in the 19th century. Starkey church and cemetery remain active as a place of worship and burial ground as well as a chronicle of the area's pioneer settlers. (1999)
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