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Memorial Square - Victoria, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 28° 48.055 W 097° 00.087
14R E 695051 N 3187568
Quick Description: Memorial Square holds the Legend of Black Peter.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 5/3/2007 6:53:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM1GBY
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Hikenutty
Views: 38

Long Description:

In 1846 the town experienced a terrible cholera epidemic, during which victims died so rapidly that they could not be buried properly, and were hurriedly dumped into shallow excavations in a common burying ground, the present Memorial Square.

It was a time of horror and dread. A huge Negro, called Black Peter, served as the town undertaker. Without the fear of contamination, and with no evident dread of the dead, he strove at his seemingly endless task. Each morning he made the rounds of the village to collect bodies. Sometimes there were two or more at a single house. There were times when his hail went unanswered, then he entered to find an entire family wiped out. The bodies were piled in a cart until Black Peter had a load which he hauled to the burial ground.

At the height of the epidemic the mayor informed Black Peter that no more money was available to pay him the $2.50 cash and a quart of good whiskey, which he received for the burial of each corpse.

That night the Negro leaned a corpse against the door of the mayor’s house. When His Honor opened the door the next morning the body fell in upon him. Before noon the money and the whiskey for Peter’s fee were again available. Later, the epidemic in Victoria over, Black Peter went to New Orleans, where the plague had broken out, and again served in his gruesome capacity. --- Texas, a Guide to the Lone State, 1940

This excerpt appeared in Tour 7, Section d: Schulenberg to Sinton on US Highway 77.

Since this was written, Memorial Square has had a few monuments added - a gristmill, a brass relief, a pioneer's memorial - but it is still basically a large, open, grassy block.

Hyperlink

Book: Texas

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 435-435

Year Originally Published: 1940

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