Union Hope Cemetery
Anderson County- Union Hope Church was an African American rural church and school community in southeastern Anderson County for many years. Today, the area is still frequented by church goers who attend Union Hope Chapel, but also the final resting place for numerous black residents who helped settle the small town of Slocum in Anderson County.
During the 1930s the site had a number of dwellings, a factory, a church, and a black school. The school was part of the Day school district and served fifty-two pupils in 1932. A white school was located two miles to the west in the Days Chapel community.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, in 1985 Union Hope Church community still had a school, a church, and several scattered dwellings. The Union Hope Community Center is still standing, next to a smoke house used to cook on during times that called for a celebration.
Union Hope Cemtery is nestled alongside FM 1817, approximately eleven miles southeast of Palestine. There are numerous old markers in the cemetery; however, there is no historical marker. Some of the headstones are nearly smooth from the years of relentless East Texas humidity, making it hard to read names and dates. Others are covered with lichens, a fungus that commonly collects on East Texas tombstones. Massive cedar trees stand firm in the cemetery.
Reverend Arthur Ealy was born in Georgia in 1860. Ealy and his family settled in the Alderbranch Community. Ealy became a rural minister in Alderbranch around 1880. He lived with his brother Milton until meeting his wife Betty Chester Ealy in 1900. They became the parents of 11 children and owners and operators of their own farm and home. Ealy passed away in 1920 and was laid to rest in Union Hope Cemetery. His wife Betty joined him in 1937.
Their tombstone reads- “Dear parents, Tho we miss you much, we know you rest with God.”
There are several World War I veterans resting in Union Hope Cemetery. Carl McFarland was born in 1894, and fought in WWI. McFarland made his way home from the war and died in 1954. Rural Williams was born in 1912, and served his country in World War II. Williams came home from the war and lived until 1966.