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- Alcohol is prohibited
- 1.20 acres
Aside from the fact the Memorial Square holds the dust of many old Victoria pioneers, it is hallowed for another reason, within its present bounds were laid the remains of many of the brave soldiers of the Texas Ware for Independence of 1836 and 1837.
In 1846, when Zachary Taylor's men were on the march to Mexico, they pitched camp at Victoria. While in this vicinity a most terrible epidemic of cholera raged in the ranks of the army. Men suffered and died in agony, their bodies were laid in the consecrated earth of Memorial Square, Victoria's oldest cemetery.
The Victoria City Council of 1854, being especially solicitous of the health of the township, provided in an authorized purchase from Mrs. Ryan, late McCrabb, a tract of land adjoining the Widow Harrison above containing about twenty-seven acres, provided it can be obtained for $300, said land to be used for a graveyard.
People still clung to the old cemetery, and in many instances buried their dead there in preference to the newly purchased grounds. Many of the Confederate soldiers who gave their lives in the War between the States were transported to Victoria to be given up to the cemetery. Some of these veterans were sons of Victoria. Others, however, were not residents of the township.
Moving the Cemetery
After the War between the States, when Victoria was placed under martial law, a Negro regiment of the Federal Army was quartered in Victoria. Some of these Negroes took great delight in demolishing the monuments which had been placed to mark the graves of those buried in Memorial Square. Incensed by this indignity and fearing that they would lose the graves, everyone who could, located the resting place of any of their family and had the remains removed to the "new" cemetery.
Numerous people, however, after the destruction wrought by the Federal soldiers, were unable to locate their dead. Those unlocated had to be left in their unmarked graves.
In the course of time, as the ground became entirely leveled and completely carpeted with beautiful grass, the residents of the town deemed it proper to designate the square as a playground for the Victoria Public School children. When, however, the school authorities made known their intentions of building the present Mitchell School on the square, an injunction was placed against them and it was approved that the square had been designated only as a playground and that the erection of any building on the site would be a violation of the letter of the law and the spirit of the gift.
The board of trustees for Victoria then turned the property back over to the town. It was then given to the custody of the newly organized Memorial Association for the Preservation of Historic Landmarks, hence the name "Memorial Square."