Collinsworth Cemetery a Place of Peace, Not Paranormal in Plano

PLANO -- Preston Lakes sells itself as a posh place for families to settle down, but in the middle of the brick and mortar buildings are residents not among the living.

Some of the original residents on that piece of land have never left.

"My husband's great great great grandfather lives here, F.M. Collinsworth," Janet Collinsworth said, standing in front of Collinsworth Cemetery.

The Collinsworth family settled the area in the 1870's, but what terror took down roughly 10 members of the family in the span of a year between May of 1895, and May of 1896?

"Traveling salespeople would stay with family members, and that's what happened," said Preston Lakes resident Suzanne Mitchell. "He stayed with a family member, he was sick, and he died."

This traveling salesman, welcomed in by Milton Collinsworth, died of smallpox, but not before spreading it to the farming family. A quarantine of their land was enforced, covering more than one square mile between present-day Coit Road and Preston Road one way and Spring Creek Parkway and Park Boulevard in the other. Because of the quarantine, anyone who died on the farm had to be buried there too, forcing the existence of Collinsworth Cemetery. Over time, though, the cemetery disappeared into the trees and brush.

"We had no idea this was here," Janet Collinsworth said. "This was a farm that was working at the time. This was just a grove of trees."

Then came Preston Lakes. The Mitchell family built their house next door to the overgrown burial ground, so was there fear of a poltergeist situation?

"I was not accustomed to those big trees and the sounds they make, so I have to admit the first few nights I thought about it a little bit," Suzanne Mitchell laughed.

The community and some family embraced the area's original inhabitants, though, restoring the Collinsworth Cemetery and getting it a historical marker in 2014. Their work also proved that the people of Plano haven't changed a bit.

"I think it's wonderful that the community has embraced this cemetery," Janet Collinsworth said. "In fact, that's very unique and ironic almost. The reason why the cemetery's even here is because the Collinsworth family embraced some traveling salesman."

So now a Halloween hallowed ground is a place of peace in Plano for the Collinsworths and their neighbors.