African-American Cemetery in Bay City, Texas, is located off of Golden
Avenue, east of Cedarvale Cemetery. The cemetery falls under two
names: (1) Cedarvale Eastside, also referred to as the "Old
Section", is located between Cedarvale Road and Cedarvale
Cemetery (the Caucasian cemetery), and (2) Eastview Cemetery which
lies between Cedarvale Road and Cottonwood Creek.
the late 1800's, Negroes had begun to leave the rural areas of
Matagorda County, moving to Bay City to live. However, when they died,
their bodies were taken back to the rural areas for burial.
Fortunately, there were some Negro people who had the foresight
to seek property in Bay City for the burial of their families and
friends. Extensive research by this writer revealed the origin of the
African-American cemetery in Bay City.
February 15, 1907, J. C. Carrington surveyed 1.8 acres of land out of
a certain 133.99 acre tract that belonged to D. P. Moore. Ephriam
Taylor, Mike Smith I, and Isaac Wiggins, Trustees,
and their successors in office, were granted, sold, and
conveyed the certain 1.8 acres out of the Bowman & Williams League
for the intention of laying out a cemetery for Negroes. Evidently,
Taylor, Wiggins and Smith were the Trustees for the Negro
Organization. Records have
not been found to indicate who the other officers of the group were.
1.8 acres lies east of a small tract sold by Moore to Matagorda as a
burying ground. The land was purchased for $180, and the deed filed
for record on May 24, 1909, and recorded May 26, 1909, at the
Matagorda County Court House.
officers of the Bay City Cemetery Committee for 1945-46 were Jim
Wilson, President; Oscar Young, acting Secretary; Ben Mills,
Treasurer; and Green Farris, Collie Williams, and Mike Smith,
Trustees. The group met on August 19, 1945, at the Mother Zion Baptist
Church to discuss the purchase of additional land for the cemetery and
the naming of the group and the property. Ruth Brown moved that the
Cemetery be called Eastview. John Ruffins seconded, and the motion
carried and was accepted. Oscar Young was elected permanent Secretary.
Present at the meeting were Wilson, Young, Smith, Williams, Mills,
Ruffins, Brown, Sam Hawkins, and Amanda Caesar.
events in the early history of Eastview include:
4, 1945: Details outlined for the purchase of five acres at $200 per
acre, with note payments of $215 per quarter.
8, 1946: To meet note installments, churches were to be asked to make
donations and the trustees were to collect dues of 10 cents per month
from each member. The Colored Cemetery Association, Eastview Cemetery
Association purchased 5.424 acres out of the Bowman & Williams
League, Abstract 9, from E. E. Weller and wife, Ella May Weller, for
31, 1946: Election of Pink Woodard, W. W. Smith, and Isaiah Morgan as
Trustees and Ruth Brown and Amanda Caesar as assistants to the
Trustees and a Decoration Committee established.
25, 1946: At this meeting, property up-keep payments and donations
were received from the following: Mother Zion Church, Enterprise
Church, A. G. Hilliard I, Jessie Dale, Jessie Wiggins, Matthew
Johnson, B. W. Ward, Large Roberts, Mrs. Cornelius Wilcox, Gabe Sims,
Hannah Peters, and Nolan Stevens.
February 4, 1947
: Dues raised from 10 cents to 25
March 1, 1947
28, 1949: Purchased a tract of land for $1,084.80; roads blocked off
in the cemetery and shelled.
19, 1952: Price of lots raised from $25 to $60; graves from $10 to
$20. Four women appointed to the Decoration Committee and a caretaker
employed for $30 per month.
11, 1953: Rev. C. T. Times elected Vice-President; Jim Cunningham,
Secretary; Mike Smith, Treasurer; and Edmore Glennon replaced Smith as
Trustee. Decoration Committee members: Ruth Brown, Chair; Rebecca
Richmond, Letha Lane, Margarette Times, Pearl Woods, Willie Watkins,
Dorothy Franklin, and Estella Spiller.
13, 1960: The new addition leased to Frank Hawkins for a 3-year
"oil lease" for $2,250.
scarcity of early records presents a problem, but this has served the
purpose of trying to present early historical facts as they relate to
the African Americans in Bay City and their quest for a cemetery.
Morgan succeeded Jim Wilson as President of the Association.
Individuals who served as Secretary during Morgan's tenure were:
Fletcher Morgan, Jr., Margaret Thompson, Roxie O'Neal, and Emma Pea.
A. D. Davis was the Treasurer.
Morgan's tenure, property up-keep dues were raised from $3 to $5;
single grave prices from $25 to $75; and lot prices from $60 to $100.
A constitution and by-laws were executed and on February 24, 1983, the
Matagorda County Drainage District No. 1 was given a 50-foot easement,
beginning at the center line of Cottonwood Creek and extending to the
property of the Colored Cemetery Association.
Green served as the third president of the Association for a very
short time, after the death of Morgan. Emma Pea was the
Recording and Financial Secretary and A. D. Davis, Treasurer.
July 21, 1984, Rose Castilow was elected Vice-President; Thelma Smith,
Recording Secretary; Nona McKinney, Second Vice-President and Program
Chair; Emma Pea, Financial Secretary; A. D. Davis, Treasurer.
resigned as President on August 5, 1984, and Rose Castilow became
President. During Castilow's tenure, the constitution and by-laws were
updated by Ida Bouldin, Susie Price, Thelma Smith, and Castilow. A
Perpetual Care Trust Fund was established on December 3, 1984.
Property up-keep dues were raised from $5 to $10 for 1 grave space,
$15 for two spaces, and $25 for three to six spaces, beginning
January, 1985. K. D. Green turned over his caretaker duties to Wells
Clark on January 7, 1985. The Association received its Tax Exempt
Status, April 9, 1986.
elected by the Association were Roxie O'Neal, Lloyd Brown, Rudolph
Martin, Donald Bratcher, James Roberson, Maude Franklin, Rose Castilow,
Thelma Smith, and later, Andrew Woods, Sr. Bratcher
served as Chair for the Trustees, and O'Neal as the Financial Secretary.
September 12, 1988, Roxie O'Neal became Financial Secretary for the
Association upon the resignation of Emma Pea.
Trustees met with the County Commissioner of Precinct 4 on April 3,
1989, at the cemetery. The roads in the cemetery were built
up and resurfaced with asphalt, drainage ditches were opened to
direct run-off flow to the creek, drainage pipes were opened and some
were reset, and water lines were laid with hydrants, so that water could
be used in the new addition. Driveways were established in Sections D-1,
D-2, and D-3 near Cottonwood Creek. A flag pole and flag were presented
to the Association by the Commissioner. He
also donated 18 Live Oak trees which were planted in Sections A-1 and
A-2 by the Commissioner and his work crew.
Association purchased 18 more Live Oaks, 18 dwarf plants, stakes, and
water hoses. The dwarf plants were planted around the flag pole area by
Harry Sauceda and Kenneth Young. The other trees were planted in
Sections B-1, B-2, C-1, and C-2. Donations of funds for trees were
received from Lois Armelin,
, Daughters In Progress
, Delta Sigma Theta
Sorority, Friendship Club, Mi Dear Club, and NAACP. The Commissioner and
his work crew planted, mulched, and watered all of the trees.
1991, members of the Association began surveying the cemetery in
conjunction with Bay City's Centennial celebration.
Thelma Smith, assisted by Roxie O'Neal, Elnora Parks, Rose
Castilow, and Andrew Woods, surveyed the sections, recording the number
of lots in each section, number of grave spaces, and the names of
persons interred in the spaces.
Cemetery is divided into nine sections. Sections A-1 and A-2 are located
between Cedarvale Cemetery and Cedarvale Road.
Sections B-1, B-2, C-1, C-2, D-1, D-2, and D-3 are located
between Cedarvale Road and Cottonwood Creek.
Sections D-1, D-2 and D-3 are restricted to flat markers, while
upright or flat markers may be used in the other sections.
owners and relatives were asked to clean headstones of their loved ones
on Memorial Day, 1993.
Evans was contracted to plant and mulch 230 Ligustrum plants in the
Cemetery, fronting Golden Avenue at a cost of $1,500 to the Association.
Donations for this project were received from Enterprise Church, Mother
Zion Church, Daughters in Progress Club, Bethel Church, Eugene and
Blanche Johnson, Ethel Anderson Jones, and others. Evans and Company
donated 20 additional Live Oak trees. The County Commissioner and his
work crew planted these trees along Cedarvale Road in Sections B-1 and
of the Association as of July, 1993, are Rose Castilow, President; Nona
McKinney, Vice-President; Thelma Smith, Recording Secretary; Roxie
O'Neal, Financial Secretary, A. D. Davis, Treasurer. The Trustees are
Donald Bratcher and Andrew Woods, Sr., Co-Chairs; R. O'Neal, Financial
Secretary; Thelma Smith, Recording Secretary; James Roberson, Lloyd
Brown, R. Castilow, Jim Smith, Nona McKinney, and L. C. Cunningham, Jr.
The Caretaker, Wells Clark, is the only person to receive a salary from