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DIDO, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Tarrant County, North Central Texas
16 miles NW of Fort Worth
via Hwy 287B, Peden Rd. and Morris-Dido-Newark Rd.

Population: ?

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Dido Texas cemetery
Dido Cemetery
Photo courtesy Sam Maddox, 2006

History in a Pecan Shell

Founded around 1848 - Dido was once a thriving community named for a mythical Queen of Carthage. The town had its own post office, stores and a promising future until it was bypassed by the railroad in the 1890s.

The most obvious reminder of the former town is the 1,000-grave Dido Cemetery.

In 1887, land was donated for a school, church and cemetery. Additional land was donated in 1894 by Dr. Isaac Van Zandt, son of Isaac L. Van Zandt - the namesake of Van Zandt County. (See letter below.)

The earliest grave in the Dido cemetery is that of one-year-old infant Amanda Thurmond (1878-1879) granddaughter of an early settler.

Dido, Texas Today

ďAt the north end of Eagle Mountain lies a town that is forgotten but not lost. We found the slab of the post office at the corner of Peden Road and FM 1220. The growth of Fort Worth is moving north and the growth of Alliance Airport is moving south. Right in the middle of both of those growth booms lies Dido, Texas.

The oldest church in Tarrant County sits here, the Dido Methodist Church. The Dido Womenís Club are the caretakers of the community center and the Dido announcements sign. Anchoring the town is Blue Bayou.

It is a ghost town in all its character and charm. All it needs is a mayor and a post office box and it will be back to its glory days. [It is] still rich in the historical sense, as well as the ghostly. Rumors are the bridge at Indian Creek is where Cullen Davis threw his earthly goods into the lake. Dido dogs still roam but are eerily quiet for they never seem to bark. There are many parts of the town where the noise of parties can be heard, but there are no houses or inhabitants on those spots.

Itís the most well-kept secret in all of Texas.Ē - Dennis Heerwagen, August 26, 2010

Not any more. - Ed
Dido Texas cemetery marker
Dido Cemetery marker
Photo courtesy Sam Maddox, 2006
Historical Marker Text

Dido Cemetery

The earliest marked grave in this cemetery is that of Amanda Thurmond (1878-1879), granddaughter of Dave Thurmond, who in 1848 first settled this area. Dempsey S. Holt donated three acres in 1887 for a school, church and cemetery. Dr. Isaac L. Van Zandt, a pioneer physician and Confederate veteran, deeded additional land in 1894.

The Village of Dido was named for the mythological Queen of Carthage. A thriving community with a post office and stores, Dido declined after the railroad bypassed it in the 1890s. Among the 1,000 graves here are those of many pioneer families.

(1977)
Dido Texas cemetery gate
Dido Cemetery gate
Photo courtesy Sam Maddox, 2006
Dido, Texas Forum
  • The Smith Family Chronicles: Two Routes from Virginia and A Reunion in Texas
    Dear TE, I descend from Phereby Turner & John Smith. John Smith's will was dated in 1805 Anson County NC. I have traced [the family] back to Sir William Harris who married Alyce Smythe/Smith, the sister of Sir Thomas Smythe who was the Treasurer of the Virgina company and was appointed by the King to settled Jamestown after the first two failed attempts. He was also Ambassador to Russia, Governor of the East India Company, and held other other notable positions. His father [also] Sir Thomas Smythe, was wealthy enough to donate sums to Queen Elizabeth I so that England could arm against and defeat the Spanish Armada. I believe this is the reason my Smith got the abundant land grants from the King of England. England owed them a debt for helping save the country. The Smiths that migrated westward were so prominent and respected that other families gave their children the first name of Smith. Texas' Smith County had many Smiths settle there.

    In Texas the name Throckmorton is both a county and city as well as the name of a street in downtown Fort Worth. Sir Throckmorton was a protégé of Sir Thomas Smythe in England in the 1500's. Prior to changing the name from Smythe to Smith they were Carringtons. The Carringtons were an order of the Knights Templar who escaped England. When the Templars were rounded up, they returned as Smythe's. Between the years 1750 and 1790 in Anson Co NC the name John Smith is mentioned most often in local land transactions. The Smiths came out of VA in two directions. One South through NC and SC with the children going westward through GA, MS, AL, and Texas. The other went directly westward through KY, TN, AL and connected in the 1800's with the families who had taken the southern route. My research shows these families started in VA together and 400 years later met at Dido and the surrounding area where I live today. The census records from 1850 to the present and the family wills prior to those dates confirm this. The burial plots at Dido have the families together in the 1800's as they were in the 1600's. Much of this is in history books and others [are family histories]. I have cousins all over the country who are assisting me but the more I have become involved in this, the larger the story grows. The Dido cemetery will link to Davy Crockett, Thomas Jefferson, Lyndon B Johnson, George Washington and others. The Smith Family descendants buried at Dido go back to the founding of this country. - Bob Thomas, Saginaw, Texas, August 29, 2007

  • Subject: Dido Cemetery
    Dear TE, I am a retired Finance Director and now do part time consulting and serve as an expert witness for law firms nationally. Most of my time is spent doing genealogy. Both my mother and fathers lines document to the Royal families of Europe. While tracing the migration on my fathers side I found that a Hankins (my grandmother was Mary Jane Hankins) was buried at Dido cemetery. I live in Saginaw Texas which is 15 minutes from there. I went there Thursday afternoon and was totally stunned. Not only were there 5 Hankins graves, there were many surnames that connect to my family on both sides that document back to Jamestown Society ancestors as well as Halifax North Carolina founders and a heavy dose of names out of Isle of Wight Virginia and other Virginia counties. Here are at least three confirmed burial sites of Blue Blood (now Blue Bones I guess) but with what I am finding it could be one of the largest [groupings] in one cemetery in Texas. I was back out there today for four hours and it will take weeks to catalog exact positions of all the grave sites that are linked. This was another colony as they moved west and I have traced these carefully. I need additional help with this as the other genealogist and family members are scattered over the country. It seems these families (MY families) were close in their migrations, seldom marrying outside the inner circle. - Bob Thomas, Saginaw, Texas, August 18, 2007

  • Subject: Dido Days every year on the last Sunday in April
    My name is Barbie Williams and I'm on the Dido Cemetery Board of Directors. We still have "Dido Days" every year on the last Sunday in April. This year it will be on April 30th at 12:30 PM. We still have a picnic, and a business meeting there at the cemetery. Weird as it may seem, a picnic at the cemetery is really pretty neat. At least it is at Dido. I believe it is one of the most beautiful and well kept cemeteries there is. One gentleman has been coming to Dido Days for nearly 90 years. He said he remembers coming for the "yearly cemetery clean-up" in a covered wagon with his parents. Nowadays Dido is maintained year round so we mainly just meet to conduct business and have food and fellowship.

    I just learned that famous Texas song writer, Townes Van Zandt, is buried there (well, some of his ashes). He was Isaac L.Van Zandt's great grandson. Townes wrote the song "Pancho and Lefty" sung by Willie Nelson. Lots of neat history in Dido. - Barbie Williams, April 19, 2006

  • Subject: Dido Texas
    I can't believe you have a website. I used to come with my grandparents, Ruby Caldwell Hill and George Earnest Hill to the "reunion" at Dido in April in the 60's. They used to meet in the spring to clean the cemetery, but when we went, it was mainly a get- together with lots of good food. Amanda "Mandy" Thurmond, the first person buried there was my granddaddy's (G.E. Hill) aunt, the twin sister to his mother, Mary Thurmond. Mary and Amanda's parents, Jim and Rebecca Thurmond lived in Dido. Mary Thurmond married Allen Hill.

    According to my mother, Mary Sue Hill Ingram, her grandfather, "Daddy" Allen was a boisterous, "good will" man, a town organizer. He had a chair on his front porch and would "holler" greetings to the townsfolk as they passed by. She said he was pall bearer at everyone's funeral, probably due to his size. Anytime he met someone who was hungry, he would invite them to his house to eat. His wife, Mary, was a small woman, evidently a very good cook. She also visited the neighbors every day and was quite a talker. My grandaddy said she visited the neighbors because Daddy Allen never let her get a word in at home. The best story Mother told me was of Daddy Allen selling watermelons to raise money for the Dido cemetery. She said he had the watermelons iced down in big barrels and was slicing and selling them with a flourish. What a picture! I don't know how many descendents I have in Dido from the Thurmond and Hill families, but my grandparents and my Daddy, Frank Douglas Ingram, are buried there. It's a beautiful place with lots of trees and a view of Eagle Mt. Lake. I have very fond memories of my time with my grandparents there.

    If anyone has info on when Dido Day is this year, please email me at cityama@mac.com - Diana Lane, April 04, 2006

  • Subject: A Dido Correction
    On your website, you state that: "In 1887, land was donated for a school, church and cemetery. Additional land was donated in 1894 by Confederate veteran Dr. Isaac L. Van Zandt - the namesake of Van Zandt County."

    It's a common error, one that started decades ago and is still being repeated. The first problem is the Van Zandts - there are three prominent members of the family; Isaac Van Zandt, the father of Dr. Isaac Van Zandt and Major K.M. Van Zandt. It was the elder Van Zandt for whom Van Zandt County, Texas was named. He also helped frame the Texas Constitution and served in Washington representing Texas. It was his son, the Doctor, who lived in Dido. His brother, K.M. Van Zandt was prominent in early Fort Worth (1865) and also had land and a home in Saginaw. Even the family gets them confused. I'm trying to get this thing untangled - one piece at a time. Thanks, Art Jones, Lake Worth, Texas, March 28, 2006

  • I live down the road from Dido (in Saginaw, Texas) and my buddies and I go out there all the time (there's a couple of bars, along with the cemetery). Its certainly not a "ghost town", though. Indian Creek has maybe 30 people there plus a new housing division ("the Resort") being built. But, Dido itself has hundreds of people living there; they just don't live right off of Morris-Dido road. Yeah, the railroad did by-pass Dido way-back-when (for Saginaw), and the town no longer has a post office (hence, it isn't a "real" town), but its still alive and well. The foundation of the old post office is at the split in the road, and there's also a few old buggy wheels there, too. Anyway-Dido's faded, but not gone. - S. Williams, November 12, 2002

  • I live in Dido. Although it is not considered a town anymore, it is still a very large community. In addition to the cemetery, we also have a community center, a church and a volunteer fire deparment, hidden off of Bud Cross Drive on McRee Street. Several of the old-timer's could tell you a lot about the community once known as the town of Dido. Everyone knows everyone here in Dido. - Terry Lee--Dido Resident since 1977, October 29, 2002

  • I just moved to Ft.Worth, TX. area and saw that Dido Texas was in your ghost town list, so I thought that I would take a drive and see if I could find it. Well after about 30 minutes of looking at a map and and driving in the new area of Ft.Worth, I came across an old auto repair shop and ask the man working there if he could tell me where Dido was. He gave me the directions that I needed and then told me that there isn't really much left out there, but if I wanted to see it then that was my business. I did find the town of Dido which is pronounced with a long I sound, and There is a little bit of new construction going on there, with a new subdivision being built right by the cemetery. There are still a bunch of old houses and a couple of abandoned shacks out there, but there are still people living out there. ..... The town is very small, which is why it's not on a map, but it does still exist. - Dan Shea, May 08, 2002

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