have filled unknown graves, far from home and kindred, with no kind
friends to drop a tear or plant a sprig over their unmarked
graves..." Pioneer Days in California, John Carr (1891)
Legislative Counsel Opinion
re: lease of public county cemetery to private
This site is not intended to assist you in your genealogy searches. Please use the links listed below.
a saw mill for Capt. John Sutter in the "Culloma Valley" in
January of 1848, James Wilson Marshall stumbled upon a small piece of
yellow metal that glinted up at him from the bottom of the saw mills'
tailrace. From that day California was never the same as the great
Gold Rush thrust upon this land thousands of people from around the world
who came hopeful to seek a fortune to take home with them.
SOME did return home the
better for their ventures. Most did not. They returned home
after a disheartening experience that left them demoralized and
humiliated. Even they, however, were the fortunate ones.
of those who came in the
first five years died within six months of arriving in the new
state. The estimated migration is said to have been anywhere from
100,000 to 120,000 during that period, so that our 20% who died in those
five years is a substantial number.
matters were the contagious
disease epidemics that occurred between the years 1850 and 1853.
Cholera struck swiftly and unsparingly in the Fall of 1850. The
first case was diagnosed in Sacramento City on October 19. By the
end of December 1850, over 826 people in the city had died from the
ravages of this disease, while thousands more fled Sacramento for the
countryside. They unwittingly carried the disease with them,
and infected others at the places to which they fled.
Small Pox was the next illness to
befall the new populace, also stealing the lives from the men in
the mining camps and elsewhere. Cholera struck again in the summer
of 1852, and was followed shortly thereafter by yet another Small Pox
epidemic in January and February of 1853. It is doubtful the true number
of dead were ever counted or will ever be known.
MANY of the people who
managed to survive after arriving, and neither became wealthy to return
home nor lived to make California their new residence, met their end and
fates in mining camps and towns that are today just a memory on the
written pages of history.
THE LAST HOMES of these unfortunate people -
the historic cemeteries that dot the countryside where those towns and
camps once existed - are the focus of the efforts of cemetery
preservationists throughout California.
join us in this effort to save these valuable historic and cultural
resources for future California generations to come.
El Dorado County
Saving Graves is designed to help disseminate information about
the condition of the over 200 cemeteries in this county of Gold
Discovery. The information posted on this site will direct you to
other sites with information to help you in your preservation
efforts. We hope you will share your concerns or experiences with us
so that others may learn from them.
My name is Sue (nee Herrick)
Silver, the County Coordinator of the El Dorado
County Saving Graves web site. My family came to California from
Wisconsin in 1850, settling near Drytown, El Dorado County (now in Amador
County.) My great-great grandfather, Lanson Dexter Herrick,
lies in an unmarked grave in either the Plymouth City or Forest Home
me your cemeteries, and I will tell you what kind of people you
Saving Graves is dedicated to providing leadership, education and advocacy in preserving and restoring endangered and forgotten cemeteries worldwide."
the Golden State