According to legend, the first burial in this cemetery was that of a young girl whose family, traveling through the area when she died, buried her here before continuing their westward journey. Oral tradition also suggests that William Whitaker was already interred in a brick vault by the time Richard Sparks set aside land on this site for use as a community graveyard in 1838. The Union Baptist Church (later the Old North Church) was organized in the spring of that year. The oldest marked grave is that of Saletha Easter Whitaker (d. 1845). Dr. John M. Sparks and his wife formally deeded ten acres including the original five acres set aside by Richard Sparks to the Union church in 1892.
The cemetery historically was divided into two sections. The east side was used for the burials of local slaves, many of whom were members of the church, and eventually became a separate cemetery.
Other burials of interest include those of veterans of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Texas Revolution. Records indicate that some forty-seven Confederate Civil War soldiers are buried in the southern portion of the cemetery, and twenty-one Union soldiers are interred in unmarked graves. Most of the Union veterans were victims of an epidemic of dysentery during the Reconstruction era.
The Old North Church Cemetery Association was organized in 1976. With more than 950 graves in 1998, the graveyard continues to be used by descendants of early church members. The burial ground is a chronicle of the early days of Nacogdoches County.