During earliest years of a settlement burials often took place on or near the land where a family lived. As the population of the community grew a common burial grounds developed. However, it wasn't unsual for these sites to be recaptured to accommodate as the community expanded, and these early graves were moved to another cemetery.
Bay City's two oldest cemeteries.
Oak Ridge is located on Henry street, it opened as a burial site set aside by Drake Bros. mill for their workers, around 1851-2. It eventually became an informal community burial grounds for the west side until n West Bay City was established in 1877, when an ordinance was created to to structure it as a formal cemetery.
Pine Ridge, located on the s.e. corner of Tuscolua & Ridge (end of Columbus), was founded by James Birney in 1856 so he brother, George, could have a decent burial site on the city's east side. Proceeding both of these cemeteries was a burial site on sandy ridge at 11th and Washington ave., known as Potter's field. It had the county's first recorded burial, Mr. Bennet, in 1840. Potters field eventually closed after the opening of Pine Ridge.
The old Oak Ridge cemetery is operated by Bay City and is maintained well. However, Pine Ridge was a privately owned cemetary abandoned many decades ago. Consequently, it has been without continuous maintenance care since.
Friends of Historic Pine Ridge Cemetery.
This group of local volunteer citizens was formed by Delores and Dave Rogers, and has for the past decade been active in restoration of the cemetery's overgrown grounds and damaged headstones. This group also has adobted Seaman cemetery which borders Pine Ridge on the south. Progress has been slow due to lack of suffient number of volunteers and funds needed to remedy the damage done by many years of neglect.
Pine Ridge represents an important and unique sancuary of this community's history. It is the final resting place of Bay City's earlest pioneers and a large contingent of Civil War veterans. Their tomb stones stand as reminder for the living about the pioneers who struggled to create the community that we have inherited. You can help save this cemetery by joining in this worthy cause. [Learn More]