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BANQUETE CEMETERY

IN JUNE 1832 THE COLONY OF IRISH FAMILIES SETTLED ALONG THE NUECES RIVER BY JOHN MCMULLEN AMD JAMES McGLOIN WAS LINKED TO MEXICO BY COMPLETION OF THE MATAMOROS ROAD. MEXICAN OFFICIALS SPONSORED A FIESTA NEAR THIS SITE AS A GOODWILL GESTURE TO THE COLONISTS, THE VILLAGE THAT LATER GREW UP HERE WAS CALLED “BANQUETE”, THE MEXICAN NAME FOR THE 4-DAY CELEBRATION.

BANQUETE WAS SETTLED BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR (1861-65) AS A STOCK RAISING AND HORSE TRADING CENTER. DURING THE WAR, IT WAS AN IMPORTANT STOP ON THE TRADE ROUTE TO MEXICO. OLDEST MARKED GRAVE IN BANQUETE CEMETERY (1 MI E) IS THAT OF JOSEPH P. MADRAY (b, 1840), A LOCAL RANCHER WHO WAS SERVING IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY WHEN HE DIED OF TYPHOID FEVER, JUNE 2, 1863. ALSO BURIED HERE ARE OTHER CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS AND PROMINENT BANQUETE RESIDENTS, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE BENNETT, ELLIFF, SAUNDERS, AND WRIGHT FAMILIES.

BY TRADITION, THE CEMETERY PROPERTY WAS ONCE THE SITE OF STOCKPENS BELONGING TO SALLY SCULL, NOTORIOUS HORSE TRADER AND COTTON FREIGHTER OF THE CIVIL WAR PERIOD. PIONEER RANCHER B. A. BENNETT (b. 1824) DEEDED ONE ACRE FOR THE COMMUNITY BURIAL GROUND IN 1910. IN THE 195Os, ANOTHER ACRE WAS ADDED TO THE CEMETERY, WHICH CONTAINS ABOUT 200 MARKED GRAVES.
(1976)

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