Photo Credit: Rosa G. Gonzales
Little Laura was a member of the Green family, African-Americans who lived in the Corpus Christi area as early as 1870 according to census records. The 1870 census (sheet 8/p. 149) shows her mother Ellen Benson listed as a domestic servant for William Headen and his family. She is listed as living with the family and probably helping both with housekeeping as well as care of the young people who had some mental problems according to the last will of Margaret Headen. In that same 1870 (p. 160B) census her future husband Gabriel Green is listed with the household of Sydney Page who is a cattle driver with a wife and 7 children. The Page family is African-American, and they house also George and Sarah Black as well as Gabriel Green. Gabriel gives his occupation as ?driving cattle? so he is essentially a cowboy who probably was out on the range much of the time when not staying with this family. Gabriel Green and Ellen Benson married on 1 June 1874 before Elder Moses Sinclair (related to the Sinclair family members who are also in Old Bayview Cemetery). The record of their wedding can be found in Nueces County marriage records Volume D on page 103. In the early years of their marriage, Gabe and Ellen may have been separated much of the time by his work as Ellen is listed by herself, without husband or children, in the 1880 census of Nueces County (p. 7A). She is living with Post Master James W. Ward as a domestic servant, caring for the home and the couple?s two small children, Thomas D. (6 years old) and Mary A. (4 years old).
Laura Green would have been one of the early children born to Gabe and Ellen. However, all of the children seemed to have died relatively young. Laura was only about 9 years old when she died in 1889 so it would seem that she was born in 1880 after the census was taken. It should be noted that early death records of Corpus Christi record the death of a ?Laura Green? (5 years and 20 days old) on March 3, 1887. She died of cerebro spiro meningitis (Early Death Records page 28 #271).
By the 1900 census (E. D. 133, page 8A) Gabe and Ellen only have son Harry living with them on Tancahua Street. Harry (12 years old) is in school and Gabe is working now as a drayman. Gabe reports that he was born in June of 1851 in Louisiana (as well as his parents), and Ellen says that she was born in March of 1854 in Texas (as well as her parents). In this census record Ellen says that Harry is the only one of seven children who presently live. That would mean that Laura and five others were already deceased. However, only Laura and her sister Myrtle and brother Harry have their names on the marker with their parents. It is unclear if the others were infants who were simply buried in the family yard (which was quite common in those days) or if they too may be buried in Old Bayview with the rest of the family, but without their names on the marker. This may also indicate they were stillborn and not named. In the 1910 census record (E. D. 102, page 15) Gabe and Ellen are now living alone. Ellen says none of her seven children survive her. The couple still live on Tancahua Street (924 Tancahua according to the city directory of 1907-08), but Harry had died in 1908 so they must support one another still. Gabe is still a drayman, and the 1907-08 city directory of Corpus Christi indicates that Ellen is serving as a cook. Her obituary in 1935 also remarks how she is known by many of the housewives and club women of the city because of her services as a maid and cook.
Research and transcription: Michael A. Howell