Bayview Cemetery Is Historic Burial Ground

 

Much of Corpus Christi’s history lies buried in old Bayview Cemetery at the corner of West Broadway and Ramirez Streets.

 

Although Mrs. Mary A. Sutherland wrote her memoirs in a 1916 history of the city and a limited source of information is available in the Texas Writer’s Program Guide of Corpus Christi, much of the human interest and color of early Corpus Christi has never been put in writing.

 

For people who genuinely appreciate Corpus Christi’s lively past, we suggest an unhurried trip to the Bayview Cemetery.

 

This burial ground is probably the most unchanged reminder of the old Village-on-the-Bay to be found here.  It is the oldest cemetery in Corpus Christi and the first military burying place in Texas.

 

Lieutenants Berry and Higgins, victims of the Dayton explosion, were the first to be buried here in September, 1845.

 

We wish that something could be done about improving the grounds.  When we visited the cemetery last Sunday, a goat was staked to roam over the graves in one corner of the lot.  A sheep slept on another plot.  Chickens scratched everywhere.  And clothes flapped on a line strung across several beautiful old granite markers dating back to the middle of the last century.

 

Some of the grave stones are ornately Victorian.  Other markers are of such sun bleached and cracked wood that the names no longer are visible.

 

Well known Corpus Christi names to be found include: Staples, Biggio, McGregor, and Neal.  Benjamin F. Neal, the city’s first mayor and a Confederate captain, is buried near the center.

 

Veterans of the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War are buried here.  Inscriptions on several rocks tell of men killed by Indians.

 

The stone of Benjamin F. Sotherville still is half damaged where it was hit by cannon fire during the Civil War Bombardment of 1862.

 

The cemetery site evidently was chosen for its high land and fine view of the Bay.

 

Today, an old iron fence separates the grounds from the rest of the neighborhood.  Bayview cemetery could be very beautiful.  A good rain will make the grass and shrubs greener.

 

We also hope that someone will move the animals and clothesline out of the cemetery – and that some group organization, or even individual, interested in the historical past represented there, will take an interest in it and give to it the beauty and significance it deserves.

 

Source:  Corpus Christi Caller

Transcription: Rosa G. Gonzales








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