Alice Pitts’ book Collin County Cemeteries also lists the McKinney Family Cemetery, northeast of Forest Grove Cemetery. The graves listed are:
Grayum, G. Z. or L. Age 18 Born 1848 Died 1866
Age 25 Born 1824 Died 1849
McKinney, E. Age 15 Born 1850 Died 1865
McKinney, J. Age 67 Born 1781 Died 1848
The McKinney Family Cemetery is located on a hill overlooking CR317 in Lucas. The marker states: John Meyers McKinney (1781-1847) was born in Surrey County, North Carolina. J. M. McKinney was the son of James and Mary (Ballard) McKinney. In 1809 he married Peggy Margot Lee. They lived in Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas before coming to Texas in 1846. After settling his family on this land in Collin County, McKinney left to enlist in the Mexican War. He died a year later while in the service of Caption William Fitzhugh’s Company of Bell’s Mounted Volunteers.
Early communities that became part of Lucas included Forest Grove, Winningkoff, Willow Springs, Lazy Neck and Engleman at FM 2179 and FM 1378. Nearby was Wetzel near the intersection of Highway 5 and Stacy Road.
Old Orchard Gap Primitive Baptist Church was also historically linked to the families at Forest Grove. According to the History of the Primitive Baptists in Texas, Oklahoma and Indian Territory, “Orchard Gap Church was founded in 1853 in Collin County by Elders Hiram Savage, J. E. Deatherage, John Sneede and Mark Allen, with the following members: Peter F. Lucas, G. Fitzhugh, T. B. Martin, Francis Fitzhugh, Elizabeth Fitzhugh, Amanda Fisher, Catherine Fitzhugh and W. S. Fisher.” According to his obituary, “prior to the Civil War, James Curis Lowery, the person for whom Lowery Crossing is named, taught at Orchard Gap near Forest Grove. At Orchard Gap, he boarded with Uncle Wess and Aunt Patsy Kirby.” The church stood on land on the James Grayum survey. The site today is occupied by the water tower on FM 1378 just north of White Rock Trail.
John M. McKinney was baptized into the Church of Christ and later built a small box house on his land at the corner of FM 1378 where the road turns east to pass the Lucas churches. This was probably the McKinney School House that predated the Willow Springs School. The Willow Springs School was later built near the intersection of Estelle Lane and Gold Dust Lane, which would later become Lucas School. Teachers were Reverend King, a Christian minister, and Professors Gentry, Stewart and Collier. Pupils were the Fitzhughs, Sniders, Cooks, Sneeds, Spurgins, McKinneys, Biggs, McMillans, Coffeys, Williams, and many others. Trustees for this district were J.M. McKinney, R.S. Sneed, and William Coffey.
The application for the Forest Grove Church’s historical
marker states: “In evaluating the impact pioneer churches had on the frontier,
it is impossible to separate church history from that of the settlement; for in
those early settlements, the church was the focal point of their entire lives.