Hillendahl (Blue Light) Cemetery (Part 1 of 3)
A 1914 Houston Chronicle obituary has a brief write-up about the death of Amlea Ries. German-born, Ries married the Rev. Fredrich Ries, emigrated to Houston, and settled in western Harris County. She died in 1914.
“The remains were sent to Addicks for burial,” the obituary ends.
But no one knows where at Hillendahl Cemetery she and her husband (both at left) are buried. Vandals removed their headstones years ago.
No one seems to know where Ira Gerald Kunze is buried, either. Born on July 14, 1883, he died a little more than a year later. His tombstone is lost, according to local history records.
Vandals also may have tried to dig up little Hugo Hillendahl’s grave – who died just days before he turned three months old.
At least three Hillendahls are buried at the cemetery – a small reminder of the German culture that once dominated the Addicks area. Most of the Hillendahls entered the country at Galveston, migrated to Houston, then Spring Branch before some of their children headed a few miles west.
Many set up dairy farms in the Addicks area, which, as the settlers found out, flooded easily.
It is believed that most of the burials at Hillendahl Cemetery began sometime in the 1870s. But flooding soon caused problems and even prevented some burials. Christian Meyer and his wife, Dorothea, both victims of an 1875 hurricane, were prevented from being buried there because of flooding.
But the community prospered, and by 1890, the Bear Creek German Methodist Church was built next to the cemetery, located in what is now Bear Creek Park.
For 12 years, the church stood next to that little cemetery. Burials increased, but as flood problems became worse, church members decided to move the church to higher ground and set up a new cemetery, according to Addicks United Methodist Church history.
It was the beginning of the end for Hillendahl Cemetery.