BAYVIEW CEMETERY ASSOCIATION CLINGS TO HOPE OF RECLAIMING OLD LANDMARK WHICH OVERLOOKS BAY
An old landmark which once identified Corpus Christi to the mariner, but since has become a pasture for horses and cows and almost forgotten by descendants of those buried there, will be recovered and rehabilitated, if plans of the Old Bayview Cemetery Association go through. The landmark is Old Bayview Cemetery itself. Where once Bayview Cemetery stood out atop a small bluff, it is now almost obliterated from view by warehouses and nearby storage buildings. But the members of the association are undeterred in their ambition to reclaim the cemetery as a historical marker for Corpus Christi. They also cling to the hope of having it declared a military cemetery. Bayview--it still overlooks two bays--is located west of the Missouri Pacific tracks at the eastern edge of the negro section of Corpus Christi. It became a military burial ground in the fall of 1854, when Gen. Zachary Taylor’s army was encamped on North Beach. An explosion aboard an old dilapidated ship in the bay harbor took the lives of seven officers and men. Their bodies were brought to Corpus Christi and, with full military rites and a soldier’s salute, were buried on the spot now known as Bayview Cemetery, “overlooking two bays.” From this start, Bayview grew to the largest in Corpus Christi, according to Mrs. Katie Bluntzer, secretary of the cemetery association, and has been the impelling force in seeking congressional designation as a military burial ground. In recent years, though, Rose Hill and Holy Cross cemeteries have outgrown neglected Bayview. Remains of many early citizens of Corpus Christi were removed from Bayview to one or the other newer cemeteries. Even so, Corpus Christi’s first mayor, six succeeding mayors and many other early-day Corpus Christians are buried there. It is for these Corpus Christi pioneers and immortals that the cemetery association, headed by Mrs. Sam Rankin, is seeking to rehabilitate Bayview. A campaign for funds to build a permanent fence around the grounds is now going on. Once before a one-woman campaign was conducted by the late Mrs. M. J. Fullerton, who trekked the streets of Corpus Christi seeking funds for the present fence which is decaying and falling in ruins under the weight of vines and trash. The city street department has cleared the burial grounds of several truckloads of trash, and the old cemetery is beginning to take on some semblance of a decent graveyard. But there is much more work to be done. The most important is a permanent fence which will prevent future invasion of the cemetery by livestock and chickens-the latter which disregard the sanctity of the dead by roosting on grave markers. “Bayview Cemetery belongs to everybody,” Mrs. Bluntzer declared. “It belongs to no one group now.” The association, a voluntary organization, will seek funds to rehabilitate the cemetery and build a fence by solicitation of descendants of persons buried there and those who wish to perpetuate a landmark having a history linked with Corpus Christi.
Source: Corpus Christi Caller, 1941
Taken from the scrapbook of Mrs. Hettie May Anderson Biggio-dated 1941.
Transcribed by: Rebecca Lee Jones, granddaughter