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Archeological and Bioarcheological Investigations at Campbell’s Bayou Cemetery Galveston County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
This report documents the removal of individuals buried within Campbell’s Bayou Cemetery (41GV171) to avoid potential impact to the remains during implementation of remediation activities at the Malone Service Company Superfund Site (Site) in Texas City, TX. An oil recovery and waste processing facility had operated at the Site for more than 30 years, ending in the mid1990s. The facility had stored, processed, and disposed of industrial solid wastes and hazardous wastes. In July 2012, a group of companies known as the Malone Cooperating Parties (MCP) entered into a Consent Decree with the U.S. Government, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Texas to implement a remedial design and remedial action at the Site. It was determined that if the remains in the cemetery were not relocated, there was the potential that remediation activities could impact the cemetery. Archival research, review of historic maps and aerial photographs, and reconnaissance survey revealed the extent of potential remains at the cemetery, and, given the location of the cemetery and the scope of the planned remediation activities, it was deemed impractical for the environmental remediation contractors to work around the cemetery. (41GV171). The MCP consulted with EPA, Campbell family descendants, the Galveston County Historical Commission, and the Texas Historical Commission and developed a plan to relocate the remains to a perpetual care cemetery in accordance with Texas state law and associated rules and procedures.
In accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code §711.004, the landowner Land Navigator, Ltd., on behalf of the MCP, petitioned the Galveston County Judicial District Court for removal of the dedication of the cemetery and the transfer of the human remains to the perpetual care cemetery operated by Forest Park East Funeral Home and Cemetery (FPE), 21620 Gulf Freeway, Webster, TX 77598. On February 11, 2014, Land Navigator was granted a Summary Judgment allowing Land Navigator to disinter and relocate the remains to FPE.
Versar, Inc. (formerly Geo-Marine, Inc.), on behalf of the MCP, provided all archeological and human osteological expertise for the disinterment and analysis of the human remains. Disinterment permits from the State Registrar of the Vital Statistics Unit of the Department of State Health Services, as required by Texas Administrative Code, Title 13, Chapter 22 (Texas Historical Commission, Cemeteries), were obtained for each burial.
The disinterment excavations at Campbell’s Bayou Cemetery revealed 34 burials from which 35 individuals were excavated. No graves were marked by headstones. It is the professional judgment of Versar that, of the 35 individual sets of remains identified, 11 were determined to be adults (5 male and 3 female; 3 of indeterminate sex), and 24 were determined to be children. The majority of children at Campbell’s Bayou Cemetery (n=18) are under 5 years of age and six are premature infants aged 30–40 weeks.
Burials could not be associated conclusively with any individuals identified by the descendants; however, the combination of bioarcheological analysis, coffin hardware analysis, census data, and descendant identifications resulted in a list of individuals that may have been interred in certain graves. Some of the interments include James and Mary Campbell, Charlie Meyers, Benjamin Ninnie Dick, Phoebe Rutlage, and Shelby McNeil, Jr. Children were difficult to identify; however, there is good potential the graves of Frank Campbell, Mary Jane Campbell, Charles Munson, and Grace Dick were identified. Data are conclusive that the children Levi and Joseph (Joe) Parr were both interred together in Burial 6, the concrete crypt with brick covering. Grace Dick was the last individual interred at the cemetery in 1904.
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