Over 100 years ago, settlers still headed west in covered wagons as the “Old West” wound down its wild heydey. In 1908, the family of Walter M. Hagood, Jr. made a stop on Preston Ridge near the current Bethel Cemetery just north of Eldorado Parkway on its journey to more prosperous times in California. Little Walter was born on October 21, 1908 and died only four days later.
Frisco resident Nancy Higginbotham told the distraught mother, who feared leaving her deceased newborn behind, that she would tend to the grave so the mother wouldn’t have to worry that the infant would be forgotten.
True to her word, she tended the grave and placed flowers at the grave marker every year on Decoration Day, until her death in 1930. Her daughter, Minnie Fisher stepped in and continued the Promise until her death in 1964. Minnie’s daughter-in-law Wilma Fisher, a beloved Frisco school teacher, then accepted the role. Wilma continued the duty until her health began to fail in 2006.
That’s when members of this Lodge told Wilma that since she and her late husband Donald had served the Masons so well in their lives, that the Masons would assume the honor of decorating the grave. Miss Wilma died in 2008 and Lebanon Lodge #837 continues over 100 years later to keep that Promise that Nancy Higginbotham gave to that distraught mother on that fateful Autumn day.
In fact, the Lodge has written the Promise into its charter, ensuring that the grave will be decorated every year in perpetuity. Please join us on Decoration Day to honor Walter M. Hagood, Jr., as well as those who served “the Promise.”
Here are some links to more articles about the Promise: