Bayview Mesquite Tree Unlikely to Fade Away

C. W. Carpenter

A Cuero lumber mill and several wood craftsman around the state have offered their services in making something of lasting beauty from the wood of the old Bayview Mesquite Tree that died recently.  
    The Bayview Mesquite is the site of what is believed to be the first military funeral in Texas, and the tree was photographed and described in the Texas Forrest Services “ Famous Trees of Texas.”   
    Mike Gordon, City Park Super indent, said he thought he would accept the offer of the Cuero lumber mill to turn the tree into lumber, but he has not yet decided whether to accept the offers of craftsman in Denton, Tyler, and the George West area to manufacture items from the wood.  
    “ Texas Forest Service people are due here March 5 to inspect the tree, and I hope at that time they will be able to give me an estimate of the amount of lumber the tree might yield, “ Gordon said.  “ That will tell us whether we can make something fairly large, or whether we will be limited to such things as gavels, and lamps.”
    He added that Mesquite wood usually has numerous internal checks – splits- that reduce the amount of usable wood that can be cut from a tree.  
    Gordon said he is still planning to take one or more cross-sectional slabs from the tree trunk and ask the Forest Service to designate the annual growth rings during which significant event occurred.  
    These slabs would then be preserved and displayed in some public areas in town.  Gordon said he hopes the Corpus Christi Museum will find space for one of them.
    What is said to be the first military funeral in Texas was held here on Sept.  13, 1845.  A ship’s boiler had exploded and killed several soldiers under the command of Brig. Gen. Zachary Taylor, who was camped here at the time.  
    Col. H. L. Kinney, who founded Corpus Christi, donated a site overlooking the bay for the burial of the soldiers and it is believed that their funeral service was conducted under or near the Bayview Mesquite.
    That military cemetery later became the resting place of many early Corpus Christi residents.

Source: Corpus Christi Times, February 26, 1987, Page 1, col. 2-5  

Rearch:  Msgr. Michael A. Howell
Transcription:  Geraldine D. McGloin


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