Cedarvale - Bay City Cemetery
Bay City, Texas
Researched by Mary Belle Ingram
The charter for the Bay City Cemetery Association dated February 28, 1896, was duly incorporated by W. C. Carpenter, John W. Gaines, John W. White, D. P. Moore and J. M. Sims and was the official beginning of Cedarvale Cemetery. The charter was filed in Austin, Texas, March 4th, 1896.
Rufus A. Mathis, a young engineer and building superintendent for the new courthouse was also in the process of helping with plans for the new cemetery when he was killed in a hunting accident on January 9, 1896. He was the first person buried in the cemetery area and before any cemetery plans were approved. The Bay City Breeze dated January 30, 1896, made an appeal for all citizens to meet on January 31 at 3 p.m. for the purpose of hearing a cemetery committee report and perfecting the organization.
After the death of Mathis, Fred Robbins was appointed to finish the job begun by Mathis, and J. C. Carrington surveyed the cemetery for which he was given a lot of five spaces for his fee. Carrington became the Matagorda County surveyor.
On March 14th, 1896, a deed was filed in the County Clerk's office showing that D. P. Moore had deeded four acres out of the land in the Bowman and Williams League west of Cottonwood Creek. This land was approximately one mile north of the Bay City townsite.
By 1906 the Association was raising money in various ways such as turkey dinners and ice cream suppers, some of which cleared as much as $22.00! In this year grave spaces were $3.00 and dues were 10 cents monthly, being collected each month by buggy or bicycle.
The Bay City Cemetery Association had an emergency arise in 1930. Suddenly they found they were not only out of funds, but out of burial spaces as well. With faith in the unfailing generosity of Bay Citians, the Association published an appeal in the Daily Tribune.
TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND BUSINESS MEN
Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City is now without burial grounds. All lots have been sold and the money has been used to pay the yearly salary of the sexton; therefore, the Cemetery Association is without funds with which to purchase more grounds and takes this method of appealing to the public spirited citizens of Bay City to come to their aid by making public subscription for the purpose of purchasing more burial grounds...
A little later an answer to the appeal appeared in the Daily Tribune.
We, the undersigned residents of Matagorda County do hereby subscribe the amounts set opposite our names respectively for use for the purpose of paying for additional cemetery grounds to Cedarvale Cemetery in answer to the appeal for funds signed by the Cemetery Association of said City: D. P. Moore, T. J. Poole, S. J. Selkirk, L. A. Moreland, W. C. Faulks, Haywood Cobb, G. A. Moore and Carey Smith.
July 9th, 1920, the Cedarvale Cemetery Association purchased 2.53 acres from Angus Williams for two hundred and fifty three dollars. The deed shows that Mrs. Sophie Austin, president of the association, paid the fee. In 1945, 4.348 more acres were purchased from the Moore Estate for a sum of $1159.47.
The minutes of March, 1943, show that Fred Hansen was sexton and L. M. Matchett became treasurer and was paid $25 a month for his services. The sexton was paid $90 a month and grave spaces were $25 for a single grace, $50 for two grave spaces, $75 for three spaces and $100 for five grave spaces.
A new charter was issued to the Bay City Cemetery Association #17 113508 and was signed by Layton Moore, Susie LeTulle, Rowland Rugeley, Alma Doubek, J. C. Sisk, Faye Hurley, P. G. Huston, Mildred W. Harris, L. B. Luder and Ida Mae DeVille. The new charter was necessary because the original charter had expired by limitation. It was dated, signed and sealed at Austin, Texas, on the 21st of January, 1953.
The Bay City Cemetery Trust was formed May 8, 1958, with an initial funding of $2,000 to establish perpetual care. By April 7, 1984, that original $2,000 had grown to the sum of $619,887.89.
On February 20, 1979, the Association acquired 13.17 acres known as the freeman land from Nora A. Freeman and Olivia E. Phillips for $30,000; all of lot #12 of the D. P. Moore subdivision of a 133.9 acre tract of the Bowman and Williams League. This was a warranty deed showing "Trust to Bay City Cemetery."
The cemetery has been known as "Cedarvale Cemetery" from the beginning, but no where in the charter or legal documents is the word "Cedarvale" mentioned except in the deed of 1920. Several obituaries appearing in the Bay City Breeze of 1896-1898, and the Weekly Visitor of 1899-1901 tells that the interment will take place in "Cedarvale Cemetery." July 1, 1897, tells of the death of "an eight year old boy, child of W. W. Watkins living on the John Lee place" as being buried in Cedarvale Cemetery.
The cemetery is a historic site, especially Section One which was the first land purchased by the Association, and by 1991 had 24.048 acres. Many of the early founders of Bay City are buried in this area. Here are the graves of Rufus Mathis, first person to the buried in the cemetery; Conrad Franz, a ship carpenter and bridge builder who died in 1904; Dr. Bat Smith, a physician and a Civil War veteran who died in 1916; Guilford M. Magill and N. M. Vogelsang, two of the three founders of Bay City; D. P. Moore, who gave the land; Angus Williams, who sold the land to the Association in 1920.
In 2016, there
are twenty-one Confederate veterans buried in Section One,
fifty-three in the entire cemetery. In addition to the Confederate
soldiers, there are also three Union soldiers buried here. Medal of
Honor recipient MSG Mike C. Pena, US Army who was Killed In Action
in Korea is buried in Section Eight and Navy Cross recipient Hartman
A. Soli, is buried in Section Nine.
|Background Courtesy of|
Copyright 2008 - Present by Bay City Cemetery Association
Feb. 27, 2008
Feb. 27, 2008