Although this cemetery was not formally deeded to the City of Brownsville until 1868, dates on marked tombstones indicate the site was being used as a graveyard by the late 1850s. Buried here are some of the earliest settlers to arrive in this part of the Rio Grande Valley, including The Rev. Hiram Chamberlain (1797-1866), who founded the First Presbyterian Church in Brownsville and whose daughter Henrietta married noted South Texas rancher Richard King. Others buried here include city and county government leader Joseph Webb (1850-1933), Sheriff Santiago Brito (1851-1892), first Mayor and County Judge Israel Bigelow (1811-1869), and Mexican War surgeon Charles MacManus (1824-1906). The Brownsville City Cemetery reveals much of the city's history. Victims of wars, gunfights, yellow fever, and cholera are buried here, and their graves are evidence of early conditions in the border town. The number of above-ground crypts, ornate monuments, and ironwork fences reflects the Spanish-French influence in the area. English, French, Spanish, and German tombstone inscriptions are indicative of the city's ethnic mixture. Still in use after more than one hundred years, the Brownsville City Cemetery continues to serve as a historic reminder of the region's rich heritage.
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