Choosing a final resting place can be a difficult decision for any family. But back in the late 1800s, it was an easy decision for the Tompkins family.
Isaac Tompkins picked the beautiful hill overlooking his farm, not knowing what that piece of property would look like today.
“It’s so noisy here, I know, but they can’t hear,” joked Claudia Tompkins with a laugh while referencing her ancestors buried nearby.
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Tompkins has a knack for finding the humor in her family burial plot’s location.
“I know, who would have thunk [sic] it!” Tompkins said.
The cemetery is nestled right in between State Highway 183 and a Whataburger that sits on a frontage road, West Airport Freeway, in Irving.
“Yeah, and so many people drive by it every day and have no idea,” Tompkins said.
Its closeness to traffic is magnified by 183’s current construction.
“The road just kept expanding,” Tompkins said.
But because it’s a burial ground, it can’t be touched.
“So, we’re here!” Tompkins said with a laugh.
The land used to be the Tompkins' dairy farm, which was owned by Claudia’s great-great-grandfather.
“He’s the first person who was buried here, Isaac, in 1897,” Tompkins said while pointing out Isaac’s grave marker.
Since then, her grandparents and parents have been laid to rest in this very busy place.
“It’s very strange,” Tompkins said. “I mean you look up and you see the planes flying overhead and you know all of this is going on, but, you know, this is our history. This is our family,” Tompkins said.
There are still plots available for more family members. Tompkins plans to be cremated.
“I’ll have some of my ashes scattered here, too,” she said.
As for her great-great-grandfather, what would he think of his surroundings today?
“He’d get a kick out of it. He’d think it was a hoot that he’s right here by the highway!” Tompkins said with laughter.
NBC 5 talked to a representative from Midtown Express, the project doing the expansion of 183 and other roadways. They said their crews are aware of the cemetery and they know not to disrupt it.