(a California 501(3)(c) Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation)
REGARDING THE CEMETERIES LISTED
ON THE GENERAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
AGENDA ITEM NO. 63
EL DORADO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MEETING OF JUNE 11, 2002
cemeteries are listed in the order they appear in the General
Services Staff Summary. These comments were written in response to the
earlier submission of a new "categorization" of cemeteries not in
concert with accepted "typing" by the State of California.
The "cemetery type" notations listed for each cemetery is the type EDCPCC believes these cemeteries should be classified based on our interpretation of the law and the Attorney General Opinion No. 98-503. The reference to "Exhibit A" is the proposed new "categorization" of the cemeteries submitted with the proposed ordinance amendment in April 2002, but which was not approved at that time. (Other cemeteries were included in the earlier response mentioned above, and will be posted elsewhere on this website.)
If you are interested in a particular cemetery, do a Search using your tool bar Edit, Find functions. Most may be located by the name referred to in the Staff Summary document, although we may have identified it by the name of which it was first established.
For more information on the current State laws, Click Here. On Historic laws, Click Here. Use your "Back" key on your tool bar to return to this page.
Updated: June 8, 2002
(Comments added after this date will appear in red type.)
Blackwell Ranch Cemetery (aka Blackwell-Tripp) Cemetery Type: Public County
County continues to insist on calling this cemetery an "Indian
Cemetery" as if there is such a category of cemeteries under the Health and
Safety and Business and Professions code.
The truth is, that state law did not discriminate in the effect of the former Political Code section 3105, and it's effect did not exclude the cemeteries in which "Indian," "Chinese," or other ethnic peoples were buried. It merely recited that the "title to land used as a public cemetery or grave yard...by the inhabitants of any city, town, or village...is vested in the people...and must not be used as anything other than a public cemetery." There is no part of this code section that exempts its effect if the deceased are other than "white" human beings.
The burials in the cemetery on the Blackwell Ranch are of the families who evolved as the direct result of the annihilation of the over 3000 Native American families who were sent in 1851 to the southern portion of El Dorado County, at or near the "Forks of the Cosumnes" or Saratoga. There the vast majority of them were wiped out by disease, primarily Small Pox in 1853.
The daughters of these Native Americans became the wives of "white" miners, and there these new "interracial" families emerged. Because they were not accepted by the general "white" population, and because they eventually assumed the Christian burial methods of the patriarchs of the families, they found it necessary to locate separate cemeteries. The cemetery used by these many families of the Nashville vicinity became located on the (Mrs. Mary) Blackwell Ranch, which had settled by her parents, William Vittle of England, and his native California-born wife.
A number of families in the vicinity were interred there, including some who were residents of Amador County. They include the family of Louis Rey (a native of France), the Nye family, the family of Gabriel Bear, the Blackwell family (including Mr. and Mrs. William Vittle), and others, some of whom were of Mexican or other Hispanic nativity.
Because this use by "the inhabitants of the city, town [Nashville and/or "Beanville"] or village," occurred within the prescriptive period of time as set forth under former Political Code section 3105, the title to this cemetery vested in the public. And through the public, to the Board of Supervisors of the County of El Dorado.
Johnson's Ranch Cemetery (aka Blair's/Winkleman) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was first established in 1849-50, when the property was owned by John
Calhoun (Cockeyed) Johnson, of Johnson's Cut-off fame. Mr. Johnson was a very
prominent and well known figure in the county's history, and is even said to
have established the trans-Sierra Nevada mail service prior to Snowshoe Thompson
later mail route.
The cemetery was originally about three acres in size, and has been fenced to about one-third of that size. A large number of the inhabitants of the vicinities of White Rock (once a bustling mining town west of Johnson's Ranch), Six-Mile House, and Johnson's North and South canyons, are buried in this cemetery. At least two family plots, those of the Broman and Butler families, now lie outside the presently fenced boundary. At least two of Johnson's own children and his brother-in-law, Eben Hagedorn, were buried in this cemetery. Interments continue to occur there on occasion.
This is a public county cemetery to which the title vested in the public through operation of law. The record of interments within the cemetery attest to this fact.
Nine Mile House Cemetery (aka Camino) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery became established with the building and opening of the State Wagon
Road between Placerville and the state of Nevada in 1857, and is associated with
the Nine Mile House roadhouse, located east of Placerville. The earliest marked
burial is dated 1864; the cemetery remains in use today.
The land within which the cemetery was established was patented to Thomas Hartwick in the early 1880s. Title to the cemetery had long vested in the public through operation of former Political Code section 3105, prior to Hartwick's receiving the land patent.
In 1965, Rev. Charles Hartwick, one of Hartwick's last remaining children, asked the County of El Dorado to take the cemetery, but was refused. He again asked the county to take it during the 1975 cemetery survey. Again, the county refused.
In 1984, Rev. Hartwick and his brother, Frank, finally did transfer the cemetery. It was sold to Eugene and Roberta Larsen. The Larsen's have operated the cemetery since that time. In 1965, Hartwick had told the County he estimated there were 100 graves left in this little cemetery. Between 1965 and 1984, eleven burials have been documented to have occurred. Since the Larsen's began to operate the cemetery, the total number of burials under their tenure has well exceeded Hartwick's estimated 100 graves remaining in 1965, and we are told that there are a large number of pre-need graves that have been sold but not used.
In 1996, County Counsel issued an opinion that concluded that a court would "probably rule" this cemetery to be a public cemetery.
Despite county counsel's opinion of 1996 [Page 1 and Page 11), this cemetery has been allowed to continue to be operated to the detriment of the public health, safety and welfare. Even IF (and we use this term with great reluctance), this cemetery were to be ruled by a Court to be a private cemetery, the cemetery owners was required by state law to be incorporated and, at the time that the Larsen's assumed "ownership," the cemetery was required by law to be licensed as a cemetery authority by the Department of Consumer Affairs. Mr. Larsen has not formed a corporation nor has a cemetery authority license been issued to him by the State.
For six years, the County has known of the existence of this situation, and has failed to adequately address either the public title or the unlawful operation of this cemetery.
Craig Ranch Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery that was established on the John Craig ranch. Craig, a native of
Ireland, had married Rosa Pollock, a Native American woman. Craig died before
1886, and is presumed buried in this cemetery. The majority of the remaining
documented burials are those of John and Rosa Craig's children and
grandchildren, as well as Rosa, herself. It is not known if other members of the
vicinity of Marble Valley and Plunkett Creek were buried in this cemetery.
The fence that once surrounded this cemetery is nearly completely down. It is not even known if the fence includes just those Craig family members buried here, or if other graves may ultimately be located outside the fenced area.
The cemetery is known to have been used from earlier than 1886, the year when Rosa Craig is identified in a newspaper notice as a widow. It continued to be used well into the first half of the 20th Century. As such, title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law.
While there are those who may claim that this is an "Indian Cemetery," we reject that claim since the law did not discriminate against or differentiate in any way who of an area's inhabitants used a cemetery in order that the title became vested in the public. The law did not say "except the cemeteries that contain Indians, Chinese or any others than those of the Caucasian race...." It clearly only stated "inhabitants," without regard to ethnicity, just as it did not differentiate between familial and non-familial burials.
El Dorado House Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was established as early as November of 1850, upon the death of one of
the co-owners of the roadhouse known as the El Dorado House that was situated on
the Sacramento to Placerville Road. It was in that month that George Richardson
died, only five months after first opening the roadhouse to the public.
The property later came into the hands of Mrs. Ellen Bentley and her family. The first of the Bentley family to be buried in the current rock-outlined Bentley plot, were the remains of her daughter Mollie Bentley Parmeter and her husband, Joseph C. Parmeter, who had killed Mollie in a murder-suicide incident at Hank's Exchange in 1862.
Also buried in the Bentley-Parmeter plot are Ellen Bentley who died in 1868, her other daughter, Mattie Bentley Parmeter and her husband, Joel E. Parmeter, the founder of "The Grove" shore side resort at Lake Tahoe. At least two of the Parmeter's children were also buried here. At one time, Serena Bentley Palmer Bullard was buried here also, but her remains were moved in 1921 to the Bullard family burial vault at East Lawn Cemetery in Sacramento.
Other deaths have been documented to have occurred at or near the El Dorado House, the graves of which, if they resulted in burial here, are unmarked.
The first known burial occurred in 1850 (George Richardson), and the last occurred in 1905, with the burial of Joel Edward Parmeter.
This is a public county cemetery according to the law.
Fair Play Cemetery (aka Fairplay) Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the historic Town of Fair Play and is a public county
cemetery according to law. Title vested in the public through operation of the
former Political Code section 3105. The county refuses to acknowledge this
In the year 2000, the County obtained a title report on this cemetery that maintains that the cemetery title remains in the name of William Allen. Allen, it seems, saved and excepted the cemetery from a land transfer to Arthur Frey in 1921.
Even IF (again we say this reluctantly) the title had not vested in the public through operation of law, and Allen held any legal title to it, his title to this cemetery has long since "failed" since Mr. Allen and his wife Minnie Grover Allen, and their only child (who died in infancy), are dead and buried in the Georgetown Cemetery.
If we were to accept the title report that the cemetery is owned by Allen or his heirs, there now being none, the title to this cemetery property has failed and has reverted to the public through operation of Government Code section 182.
Despite this, through placement of this cemetery in the newly devised and county created category of "Privately-Cared-For Cemetery", the County is approving the unlawful operation of this cemetery by people who, 1) do not own the property in order to have any right to operate it, and 2) have proven through their past performance they do not know what they are doing and have already caused multiple cases where newer burials are found on top of older graves. This to the detriment of, and jeopardy to the public health, safety and welfare.
EDCPCC stands firm in our assessment that this is a public county cemetery through operation of law. The County must concur with one or the other of the two method by which this title is now absolutely in the public. Either the title vested through operation of former Political Code section 3105, or it has reverted to the public because William Allen's title has failed for want of heirs of next of kin, as prescribed by Government Code section 182. The title cannot still be held by a person no longer living.
For more on Fair Play Cemetery, including the recorded plot map and interment listing, Click Here.
Cinnabar City Cemetery (aka Fanny Creek) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery is associated with the town of Cinnabar City which emerged near the
base of Sugar Loaf mountain (now called China Hill) in the early 1850s. The name
Cinnabar City is later found on maps and in deeds dated to about the late 1860s
and early 1870s.
Two brothers from Missouri, Stephen and Francis (Frank) Daniels both lived at Cinnabar City after 1860. Two of the graves in the Cinnabar City Cemetery represent those of these two Missouri-born brothers, each of whom married Native American or "Indian" women. Others buried here in graves bearing markers are said to be descendants of Stephen or Francis Daniels.
Others who lived at or near Cinnabar City are also believed to be buried here. The fenced portion of the present grounds may only represent the Daniels family plot, while others may be buried outside the enclosure or elsewhere nearby.
One of those other interments is likely the grave of Richard "Dick" Butler who died while intoxicated and sleeping against a tree. He is said to have been buried at the base of Sugar Loaf mountain. Butler was an early settler of Pittsburg Bar near Yeomet or the Forks of the Cosumnes River. Francis Daniels and an unknown number of his children, died in October of 1876 and were buried here. The last known burial in the Daniels family plot at the Cinnabar City Cemetery occurred in 1974.
While the descendants of Stephen Daniels and Francis Daniels, among them members of the Blue family, believe they own the cemetery, it is more likely that, due to its use throughout the historic period since the Gold Rush era, title to this cemetery did vest in the public.
Sufficient evidence does exist that a potential public title may exist, and therefore, the county should determine if it may, in fact, own this cemetery through operation of law.
Johntown Cemetery (aka Garden Valley and Alabama Flat) Cemetery Type: Public County
town of Johntown was first established in 1848 or 1849. It was located on
Johntown Creek near Alabama Flat, west of present-day "downtown"
Garden Valley. The County's 1975 cemetery survey identified the location of this
cemetery and noted that only one grave remained marked in that year. That was
the grave of John Cody, who with Samuel McConnell, owned and operated a saw mill
on the creek.
In later years the property came into the "ownership" of pioneer family descendant, Fred Veerkamp and his wife. The Veerkamp's sold the property to a three family partnership - former county surveyor, Fred DeBerry and his wife; former supervisor and state assemblyman, Eugene Chappie and his wife;, and Georgetown native Amy Horn Drysdale and her husband. The group subdivided the parcel for five acre or larger residential properties. The subdivision map was surveyed by DeBerry, who seems to have failed to note the Johntown Cemetery on the map of the five-acre parcel within which it exists.
The Johntown Cemetery was used from at least 1849 to 1883, at last report. The information regarding the 1883 burial of "Old Pasquale" came in a 1947 letter from Garden Valley native, Warren T. Russell, who was born there in 1875. He specifically states that "Old Pasquale" was buried in the "Alabama Flat Cemetery" in 1883.
Given this information, the Johntown Cemetery is a public cemetery through operation of law.
In the Fall of 2001, members of EDCPCC noted that the parcel within which the cemetery existed, was listed for sale. A call to the real estate agent to inquire about the property resulted in being told the property had already sold. When the agent was asked if the cemetery was included in that sale, he shouted "No!"
Karen Wilson of General Services was immediately notified and she sent a letter advising the current property owner that no burials would be allowed to take place in the cemetery unless the records and plot map were recorded with the county. Ms. Wilson also sent a copy of this letter to the real estate agent. It was a way in which to notify the seller and the agent that we knew the cemetery existed on that property.
In early November 2001, EDCPCC president Sue Silver, while leading members of the Cultural Resources Preservation Commission on a tour of cemeteries for their evaluation, took the committee members to the Johntown Cemetery property. The party the group encountered was the new owner of the property and had no idea a cemetery existed on the family's newly acquired home property.
The last remaining tombstone (John Cody's) and the ornamental iron railing that had "cribbed" his grave, were no where to be found on the little hill behind the mobile home residence. Only the hand dressed stone corner blocks, with square cutouts in the center for the railing supports were found to evidence this was a cemetery, or that Cody's grave existed there. (The former property owner finally admitted to removing the tombstone and railing and has indicated it may be found in a patch of wild blackberry bushes near the northern base of the cemetery hill.)
Even though the county had recorded this cemetery on the Fred Veerkamp property in the 1970s, the county planning department had issued a permit to install the mobile home and to cut the west bank of the cemetery hill for the installation of the mobile home. One wonders what purpose the 1975 survey has really served if, in light of the known existence of a cemetery, no one is willing to ascertain that such a sensitive property will be protected.
The Johntown Cemetery, where the mortal remains of pioneer John Cody were buried, and within which his marble tombstone and iron railing remained for over 100 years, is a public county cemetery through operation of law.
Greenstone Cemetery (aka Greenstone Indian) Cemetery Type: Public County
Although this cemetery has primarily been used by Native Americans and persons
of Native American descendancy, there are also burials of Chinese and others
that occurred there. A 1922 deed exists that transferred the cemetery to three
men who are noted to be "Trustees," among them Albert Smith. Within
the deed it is noted that this parcel of land "is now used as and [sic]
Indian cemetery." The earliest marked grave is dated 1893. The last known
interment occurred in the year 2000.
Again, we state that the effect of former Political Code section 3105 did not discriminate nor differentiate between cemeteries used by Caucasian persons over those used by any other ethnicity. The Greenstone Cemetery was in use as a cemetery and continued to be used as a cemetery by the inhabitants of the neighborhood over a period years sufficient to satisfy the prescriptive use period that provided for the title to this cemetery to vest in the public. The deed provided to the "Trustees" had no legal effect, since the title had already vested in the public prior to 1922.
This is also one of those cemeteries that was "designated" in the 1973 board Resolution to be a Pioneer Memorial Park. It was not "renewed" as such when the board passed it's 1992 Resolution "designating" other certain cemeteries to be pioneer memorial parks.
This cemetery is presently the best maintained historic cemetery in the county. The maintenance has for many years fallen to the Smith family descendants and others. Even if it were not a public county cemetery, this cemetery can in no way be categorized as "Uncared-For," since is it simply the best maintained of all the cemeteries we have visited in the county.
St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery (aka Grizzly Flat Catholic) Type: Religious Cemetery
cemetery is a consecrated Catholic Cemetery and with the original church
building, was dedicated in June of 1858, by Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany.
Archbishop Alemany's book of visitations that is on file at the San Francisco
Chancery, notes his dedication of the Church's property at Grizzly Flat, El
Dorado County, occurred in that month.
The Catholic Archbishop received a deed to the property from Michael Millea in 1857. All subsequent transfers of the Catholic Church's properties located throughout northern California that have passed from bishop to bishop, have included the Grizzly Flat property. In the 1890s, Bishop Thomas Grace of the Sacramento Diocese, transferred the property from his personal name as the Bishop, to ownership under the title of "Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento." That is how the Church's title to the St. Joseph's property presently exists.
When federal land patents were issued for the lands within the various sections, townships and ranges, Archbishop Alemany failed to apply for a patent for this 200 foot square parcel of land. He probably did not believe or realize that the Church's title to such consecrated grounds could be alienated by his failure to obtain the land patent.
Nonetheless, the Catholic faithful of Grizzly Flat and it's vicinity used this Catholic cemetery from as early as 1857 until sometime in the 1930s, and perhaps later.
The owner of the land that now surrounds St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery disputes the Church's title, and it does not appear that the Catholic Church has any inclination to fight to protect the deceased Catholics who are buried in this cemetery. This is not surprising since the Church has actively attempted to abandon or shirk off its responsibility for a large number of Catholic cemetery properties throughout the Mother Lode region of California.
If the Church's title under the 1857 deed should fail, then we believe the use of this cemetery by the "inhabitants" of Grizzly Flat and it's neighborhood, would be sufficient that the title was vested in the public, since the public had used the cemetery since 1857 and as late as the 1920s.
Jay Hawk Cemetery (aka Jayhawk) Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the 1850s mining town of Jay Hawk. The original historic
section of the cemetery is located on the west side of the enclosed grounds that
now include an acre of ground deeded to the Jayhawk Cemetery Association in
1952. Title to the original portion of the cemetery vested in the public through
operation of law, despite the existence of a deed from the Fleming family
descendants that is dated 1904. By 1904, the title had already vested in the
public under the former Political Code section 3105, which was then still in
In 1952, an additional acre of ground was deeded to the Jayhawk Cemetery Association. Unfortunately, by 1952, when the Association accepted this one acre of land for cemetery use, it was required to be incorporated, which it is not. It was also required to have been licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs as a licensed cemetery authority, which it has not done.
On the whole, much of the activities of the Jayhawk Cemetery Association have been under and through the guidance of the descendants of John and Louisa (nee Pelton) Wing. For the better part of the 20th Century, Mrs. Pearle Wing, wife of George Wing, acted almost solely as the cemetery association. After her death in 1968, it appears that their daughter, Ila Wing Brazil, took on the responsibility once held by her mother.
Today, some members of the cemetery association are newcomers to the Rescue area, but the majority are still Wing family descendants. These members continue to act as the Jayhawk Cemetery Association, and are operating and maintaining this public county cemetery.
EDCPCC is uncertain how the title to the additional one acre of land might be affected by the fact that this cemetery association has not been acting according to law or, if by benefit of it's use by the public at large, title to the deeded one acre might somehow have also vested in the public through the association's failure to abide by state requirements.
Despite this concern and uncertainty, it is certain that the title to the historic section which pre-dates the ground added in 1952, did vest in the public according to law.
Latrobe Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
town of Latrobe emerged in its present location with the advent of the
Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad which was extended from the town of
Folsom in 1864. Previous to this time, the hotel of James Harrison Miller, who
was later called the "Father of Latrobe," was established on the
Folsom to Jackson (Amador County) Road. The area had been known as
"Miller's Corral," and this spot appears to be the place where the
railroad station building was erected.
In that same year, Miller sold to the railroad some 200 acres of land which were surveyed and platted in 1864 as the Town of Latrobe by railroad superintendent and surveyor, Francis A. Bishop. Several of the original town lots were sold shortly thereafter. Several years elapsed beyond that before the townspeople petitioned County Judge Charles F. Irwin to apply for a federal townsite patent for the townsite of Latrobe. Due to so many changes which had occurred within the previously platted lots and blocks between 1864 and 1873, Irwin caused a new survey of the Townsite of Latrobe to be made.
On the new map of the Townsite of Latrobe, the northeast corner of the Latrobe Cemetery which was originally established at the time the railroad was built in 1864, was the only portion of the public cemetery of Latrobe to be shown within the boundaries of the townsite. This corner of the cemetery amounted to roughly 2/100's of one acre, with the remaining contiguous portion of the public cemetery lying outside the boundaries of the townsite.
The application for the Townsite Patent was contested by two men claiming the land was of more valuable as mineral land than as townsite or agricultural land. Their contest of the townsite patent application was heard before the General Land Office in Sacramento, which ultimately ruled in favor of the townsite application.
As part of the testimony in this land dispute case, James Harrison Miller testified to the number of businesses and concerns of the town as it was originally established in 1864, and the number of businesses and properties in place during the application hearing in the mid-1870s. One point of reference mentioned by Miller as to the character of the townsite's businesses and concerns during both periods of time, was the Latrobe Cemetery. According to Miller in his testimony, the Latrobe Cemetery was neatly fenced in the 1870s.
There is no possible way that the 2/100's of an acre of the Latrobe Cemetery (which by 1870 had not even been buried in) could attain the public title that it did under the federal townsite patent, and not have that same public title attach to the portion lying outside the townsite boundary. The notion that the entire cemetery would not have the same public title, is inconceivable to us.
We have provided the County and county counsel's office with sufficient evidence as to the public title of the Latrobe Cemetery and have not yet received their concurrence. Even without the portion lying within the townsite boundaries, title to the Latrobe Cemetery vested in the public through operation of former Political Code section 3105. It is without any doubt to us, a public county cemetery.
That the "Exhibit A" listing shows this as anything but a public county cemetery, is an insult to the citizens of Latrobe, both past and present.
Planters House Cemetery (aka Margona [sic]-Hall) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was established in association with the Planters House, a roadhouse of
the early 1850s on the Sacramento to Placerville Road. The earliest marked grave
in the cemetery is that of William H.H. Hall, the younger brother of Daniel
Tompkins Hall, who later owned the Planters House. The earliest documented
burial at this cemetery was that of R.L. Wakefield, the original owner and
founder of the Planters House, and its predecessor way station known as the
Missouri House. The last documented interment in this cemetery was that of
Samuel Welcome Spong in November of 1921.
In all likelihood, this cemetery was the cemetery of the town of Shingle Springs prior to the arrival of the railroad in 1865. It appears that after that time, what is now known as the Shingle Springs Cemetery on the south side of Mother Lode Drive, began to be used, although both cemeteries did receive interments thereafter.
The property around the cemetery was later owned by Charles Marogna, from which the misspelling of "Margona" is derived. After Marognaís death in the 1950s, the cemetery was "excepted" from all later deeds to the surrounding ground, and an easement access was reserved for visitation to the cemetery that led from the alignment of the old "state highway."
Title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law. It's use from at least 1861 to 1921, sufficiently satisfies the prescriptive use requirement of the law. Even if this were not so, the deed exception made by the estate of Charles Marogna, has left this cemetery land without any "heir or next of kin" to claim ownership. Therefore, according to Government Code section 182, the title to this cemetery has reverted to the public.
In an odd set of circumstances, it does appear that this cemetery was established on a hill that had been used as a Native American crematory or cry site. However, it's placement in the same location as the Native American burial ground, cannot affect the vested public title, since the law did not discriminate or differentiate by ethnicity. Seemingly, it also did not require full body burials to occur. It would seem, then, that the ground had been used by the Native Americans as a burial place and, thereafter, was used by the inhabitants of Shingle Springs.
This is a county public cemetery that now has a concrete block retaining wall right built nearly on top of the Slocum family plot, and a hillside that has been fully graded out to allow for the construction of a combination residence and antique store. No archaeological study was done to determine the presence of graves below those obviously marked plots that remain, and it is believed that graves were removed during the construction process. It is obvious that the Native American site was also disturbed by this combined residential/commercial construction.
American House Cemetery (aka Morrison Family) Cemetery Type: County Public
to his acquisition of the land upon which this cemetery is located, Alexander
Morrison's ranch was first known as the American House, another of the many
early 1850s mile or roadhouses along the Sacramento to Placerville Road. J.T.
Gridley and B.F. Tucker filed a Preemption of Claim notice for their possessory
title to the land and the American House in 1852. By 1858 it was known as the
Because of the early date of the establishment of the American House and ranch, there is a concern that this cemetery is larger than is presently seen. Without further ground review, it is not possible to tell if additional graves may be contained elsewhere upon the hillside. Death notices indicate there is a likelihood that others may have been buried here.
The present fenced plot containing perhaps twelve graves of the Morrison and Coatsworth family members was not erected until the late 1950's or early 1960's. Burials are documented to have been made in this cemetery from as early as 1858 until 1951. Given the number of years in which burials occurred, we suspect a case could be made that the title to the cemetery vested in the public through operation of law.
Descendants of Alexander and Jessie (nee Coatsworth) Morrison and Thomas and Lucinda Coatsworth, have previously written to the board of supervisors to ask that their family's graves be established as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park. The present property owner has told DOT employees he wants to be buried in this cemetery.
Regardless of whatever title or character this cemetery may have acquired in the past, we would recommend that this cemetery be established as legal a Pioneer Memorial Park and reserving access to and from the cemetery for visitation by the family and others who may wish to check on its safety and preservation.
Nelsonville-Mosquito Cemetery (aka Mosquito) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was established with the town of Nelsonville, that predated the
emergence of the town of Mosquito. It has also been called the Summerfield
Cemetery because of the family plot of the James Summerfield family. However, it
dates back to the early mining town of Nelsonville at least as early as 1850.
This is a public county cemetery through operation of law. It has been used since as early as the 1850s and was last used in the 1990s. Title to this cemetery was vested in the public by 1879.
Hogg's Diggings Cemetery (aka Pilot Hill-Cool) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery has been called the "Pilot Hill-Cool" and "Ferguson
Family" cemetery since the time of the 1975 County cemetery survey. It is,
in fact, the Hogg's Diggings Cemetery and was established with the mining town
of Hogg's Diggings around 1850. The earliest marked graves (2) are dated 1850.
The last documented burial occurred in 1904, and the last probable unmarked
burial occurred there in 1910.
Because of it's use for this period of time, title vested in the public through operation of law. This is a public county cemetery without question.
Today, the cemetery has been "surveyed" out as a tiny piece of the larger subdivided parcel and is noted, not as a "Cemetery" on the parcel map, but as a "Non-Build, Non-Site Disturbance" area. We question it was not clearly identified to be a cemetery on this survey map. We also question the size of the cemetery as shown on this map, since it's period of use extended from the first great flush of the gold rush, well into the 20th Century.
The cemetery is unfenced and is a pathetic sight today. The county needs to accept it's public title to this cemetery, and make arrangements for it's care and maintenance.
Pleasant Grove House Cemetery (aka Rust Family) Cemetery Type: Public County
enclosed family plot of the seven William Wallace Rust family members is all
that is visible at what began as the cemetery of the Pleasant Grove House, an
1850s roadhouse on the Sacramento to Coloma Road. William Rust purchased the
house and ranch in 1864, fourteen years after this public way station first
opened. Five years later, two of the Rust's daughters died in 1869. The last
Rust family member to be interred in the family plot was in the 1930s. There is
no grave marker for this last Rust family member.
There is no way to know if others may have been buried here at an earlier time prior to Rust's purchase of the ranch. Given the empirical evidence found in studies of other roadhouse properties, it is most likely that other graves do exist here.
If we use only the dates of death of the Rust family burials, this cemetery was in use from 1869 to the 1930s. As we mentioned in reference to the Rupley Ranch Cemetery, the statute did not differentiate that burials must be non-familial in nature, only that the cemetery be used by the "inhabitants." Since there is no true way to determine if other interments occurred before or even after Rust's purchase, we would rely on the effect of former Political Code section 3105 to provide that the title to this cemetery vested in the public.
This is also one of our county's important historic cemeteries, and we believe it would be prudent of the board of supervisors to establish this as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park.
Skinner Ranch Cemetery (aka Skinner Burying Ground) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was used from as early as 1868 until the mid-1930s. The majority of the
burials are of members of the James and Jessie Skinner family, who owned and
operated the Skinner Vineyard and Winery. Also buried here is the family's
friend and ranch hand, David Reid.
In 1990, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors approved the Cameron Glen Estates subdivision. At that time, through the 1973 Resolution by the board of supervisors "designating" certain cemeteries to be pioneer memorial parks, the planning department was told by county counsel that the "Skinner Burying Ground" was a Pioneer Memorial Park, and was maintained and controlled by the county. However, staff noted, Mrs. Elva Ryan was paying property taxes on the cemetery.
Therefore, the county claimed responsibility, negotiated on behalf of the cemetery and it's "preservation," and the subdivision was approved. In 1992, on passing the second Resolution "designating" certain cemeteries to be pioneer memorial Park, the "Skinner Burying Ground" was conveniently dropped from that list and, thereafter, the County left this little cemetery to fend for itself.
At no time during the process of the Cameron Glen Estates subdivision, nor earlier when the county approved the strip mall on the east boundary of this cemetery, did the county once notify Elva T. Ryan or her family that these developments were impacting the family's cemetery. The family was never offered the opportunity to comment, or make objection or in any other way ensure their ancestor's graves were being respected.
It is ironic that the County claimed to be responsible at a time when it could "appease" a developer. The county did the exact same thing with the Missouri Flat Cemetery when it came time to do the cultural resources section of the EIR for the Sundance Shopping Plaza. As long a developer needs the county to be the agency to provide the say over our historic cemeteries, the county is more than willing to step in.
By all intent of the former Political Code section 3105, this is a public county cemetery. We believe the board of supervisors should establish this cemetery as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park. Only in this way, will we be certain it will be preserved.
Uniontown Cemetery (aka Lotus Cemetery) Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the early mining town of Uniontown or "Union City,"
as it was often referred to in early deeds and documents. The town became named
Lotus in the early 1880s to satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Postmaster upon
establishing a post office in the town. The cemetery has been in use since at
least 1850, or more likely before that.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public by 1879. In 1927, the board of supervisors appointed a Cemetery Committee to oversee the operation, care and maintenance of the cemetery. Up to the time of the creation of the "Exhibit A" listing as submitted with this proposed ordinance, the County listed this cemetery as being privately-owned. It is listed on "Exhibit A" as a "Privately-Cared-For Cemetery," a categorization to which we vehemently object as previously stated.
The board of supervisors needs to accept it's mandated public title to this cemetery, and stop playing around with our county's historic resources. This cemetery is still receiving ongoing interments. There are no records or a plot map to know if there is truly space in which to safely inter. The county has voluntarily and negligently created this situation, and is allowing it to continue with no regard whatever for protecting the public health, safety and welfare.
Mount Gregory Cemetery (aka Volcanoville #1) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was established in the early 1850s, probably as the cemetery of the
Mount Gregory House, a roadside hotel established on the road from Georgetown to
Volcanoville. A portion of the grounds has been fenced to enclose three marked
graves, though it is certain that many more graves exist outside this fenced
Because of the lack of marked graves to provide data as to the dates of interment, it is difficult to ascertain such information. Due to the remoteness of this vicinity, death notices and obituaries for this area are not abundant. The earliest marked grave is that of James Lindley Jr., who died in May of 1852. The earliest notice of death to occur at or near this location was that of Edwin H. Rice, who died nearby on Otter Creek in May of 1850. Peter Beauregard and Samuel Ralston each died at Mount Gregory in 1888.
Using this information, and a notation from the 1960s that this cemetery was once two acres in size, we believe there is sufficient evidence that title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of former Political Code section 3105.
The cemetery is now within the front yard of the residence of Horst Renz and wife. The couple has kept the fenced portion of the cemetery in a neat and attractive manner. However, the true size and boundary of the cemetery needs to be determined so as to avoid future disturbance of human remains.
Bryant Cemetery (aka Willow Spring or Clark Ranch) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was first established during the county's earliest years when a
roadhouse, known as the Willow Spring Ranch, served the public on the Shingle to
Daylor Ranch (in Sacramento County) Road. It was eventually owned by Harry
Clark, who may have been one of the Clark brothers for whom the town of
Clarksville was named. About 1857 or 1858, it was purchased jointly by James
Harrison Miller (the "Father" of Latrobe) and Edwin S. Bryant, the
latter of whom retained the property after buying out Miller's interest in the
The cemetery has traditionally been used by members of the rural community of the area. A large number of families representing Swiss, Italian and other new citizens to this country are interred there. It has often been misidentified as being a Catholic cemetery, but it is not. It is the community cemetery of those people who lived and worked in the vicinity of Bryant's ranch on the Shingle Springs Road.
In 1912, the Board of Supervisors appointed a Cemetery Committee for the Bryant Cemetery, "so-called," to provide for the care and maintenance of the cemetery.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public by the year 1879.
Frenchtown Cemetery (aka French Creek Cemetery) Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the early mining town of Frenchtown, which was also referred
to as French Creek. Title to this cemetery vested in the public through
operation of law by 1879. In 1915 or 1916, the Barrette brothers (whose parents
had settled at Frenchtown in it's 1850s heyday), executed a deed to the one acre
cemetery to the French Creek Cemetery Association. That deed, however, came many
years after the law provided that the title had vested in the public.
The French Creek Cemetery Association was an unincorporated entity. For many years after the date of the Barrette brother's deed, the association functioned rather loosely. No records of interments were kept and no plot map was made. By 1977, in response to a Cemetery Questionnaire submitted to the county by the State Cemetery Board, Public Work's director G. Arthur Cort noted that the French Creek Cemetery Association was defunct and that the cemetery was a "County Public" cemetery.
In the mid-1980s, the Frenchtown Cemetery Association incorporated, filed a notice of dedication to cemetery purposes for the Frenchtown Cemetery which referenced only the Assessor's Parcel Map as the official map of the cemetery, and claimed it as a private association cemetery. Now, members of the families of the pioneer families of the Watkins and Turnboos claim this is a private family cemetery, when no such evidence exists to support such a claim.
If this were a private cemetery, when the Frenchtown Cemetery Association incorporated for the purpose of operating and maintaining the cemetery in the 1980s. Because of this, it was required to apply to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs as a licensed cemetery authority. The law is clear in this matter, that only cemetery corporations that existed prior to 1931 were exempt from the licensure requirement of, and regulation by the State.
Regardless of the events which have occurred between 1915 and the present time, prior law in effect at the time the cemetery was being used between 1850 and 1915, did vest title in the public, making this yet another public county cemetery which the County now disavows any legal interest.
Grizzly Flat Cemetery (aka Grizzly Flat Pioneer/Protestant) Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the historic town of Grizzly Flat. (That is the accurate name
of this historic gold rush town, not "Grizzly Flats" as modern
residents wish to call it.)
The cemetery has been in use by the public since the early 1850s, and interments continue to occur through the present. Title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of former Political Code section 3105. The vested public title of this cemetery is no different than the vested public titles to all the other historic cemeteries of the county's early towns and villages.
Somerset House Cemetery (aka B.O.B./Indian Creek) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery was first established in association with the Somerset Hotel, a
roadside inn established by 1850 on the Sacramento to Coloma Road. The Somerset
House was a polling precinct in El Dorado County in May of 1850, even before
California officially became a state. A written account of the events of that
election are contained in the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper, and the 1850
diary of a William B. Locke, a miner who was there at the time of the election.
There are only three tombstones remaining in the cemetery. The earliest dated tombstone is that of Hugh Vallandigham, who died in 1850. The stone of Roger O. Maley is dated 1863.
Others are known or are believed to also have been buried here between 1850 and 1908, with the burial of Mrs. Catherine Stronach in the "cemetery near Gaylord('s) Bridge." Gaylord's Bridge is the old bridge crossing of Weber Creek on present day Lotus Road less than an eighth of a mile east of this cemetery. The Stronach ranch was located near the present intersection of Lotus Road and Springvale Road, a little farther east of Gaylord's Bridge.
This cemetery was "discovered" in the 1960s, by hunters who stumbled upon it while maneuvering through heavy brush. It was cleared of the brush shortly after that by the county's cemetery maintenance man, Bob Brookins. It was Brookins' estimate that there were 40 visible graves in the cemetery at that time.
This cemetery was used from 1850 to 1908. By benefit of that use, title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law. We have recently received confirmation that there are graves beyond the grave marker of Roger O. Maley, to the west of the present fence line, so that not all of the graves in this cemetery are enclosed together.
The board of supervisors needs to accept it's mandated public title to this cemetery. Beyond that, we recommend that it legally establish this cemetery as a Pioneer Memorial Park.
Logtown Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
Although the evidence of the public's use of this cemetery is not nearly as
evident as that we are able to produce for others of the county's public
cemeteries, it is certain that Logtown was a known historic town that dated to
1849 or 1850.
The Logtown Cemetery is now neatly fenced with white pickets, and with only seven graves shown all neatly lines in three little rows, as if placed there with absolute care and accuracy. There is not another historic cemetery in this county that appears to be so deliberately "placed" as the Logtown Cemetery. In all likelihood, the developer of the Sierra Vista Subdivision probably moved what graves stones were on this little hill into the neat arrangement now found, so as not to lose much land during the subdivision process.
The nearest other cemetery to Logtown, is the El Dorado Cemetery located near the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Highway 49. Unfortunately, there are nearly 600 unmarked graves in that cemetery so it is difficult to determine is some of the Logtown area deaths resulted in burial at Logtown or if they were taken to the El Dorado Cemetery.
According to the State's 1854 statute, which declared a place where six or more human bodies were buried to be a "public grave-yard," the Logtown Cemetery did acquire some type of public character through that law.
Today, the Logtown Cemetery is "presented" with it's neat picket fence and a developer-erected sign that says these are the graves of "seven young miners who died in a 1853 mining accident" (even though one of the tombstones is dated 1860). The cemetery is now locked away from the public behind the gates of the subdivision community.
The actual size and number of burials within the cemetery, may never be known.
Missouri Flat Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the 1850s community of Missouri Flat. The earliest dated
tombstone is 1871, but the earliest documented burial occurred in 1866, that
being the burial of Nathan Kneeland whose funeral service was conducted by Rev.
C.C. Peirce. Peirce's records indicate he interred Kneeland at Missouri Flat
Cemetery. The earliest newspaper death notice for this area was found in the
year 1854 (Henry Schaffer). The last known interment was that of Dr. John Beaty
In 1872, Charles and Charlotte Foster executed a deed to the "Trustees of the Missouri Flat Cemetery." The deed did not identify who the "Trustees" were. The deed was not recorded until 1959, after the tragic death of Hildegard Fields in July of that year.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law. A 1989 county counsel opinion, written prior to the county's knowledge of the 1872 deed to the trustees, concluded that a court would probably or likely "rule" that the Missouri Flat Cemetery was a county public cemetery.
In 1996, the county counsel's office learned of the 1872 deed which was then being asserted as the binding title document. At that time, the county counsel's office stated (see Correspondence) that in order to more fully evaluate the claim of any potential successor trustee, that they required a copy of the incorporation documents of the Missouri Flat Cemetery Association, or the trust document that created the original trust.
These documents were never provided to the county because they do not exist. Other than the original 1872 deed, as recorded in 1959, there is no other legal document to evidence that any person or entity actually acted as Trustee of this cemetery. If an incorporation document ever existed, it may well have been lost in the 1910 County Court House fire.
There is no present claim by any party as a potential successor trustee. During the EIR phase of the Sundance Shopping Plaza project, the General Services Director was quoted in a local newspaper as saying the Missouri Flat Cemetery was a county cemetery under his direction. The General Services director was also assigned to ensure that the mitigation measures approved by the board of supervisors for this project, were satisfactorily met.
Now the proposed "Exhibit A" listing has the Missouri Flat Cemetery "categorized" as an "Uncared-For Cemetery," when county counsel has already opined that it is a county public cemetery. We have seen this tact taken by the county time and time again. When the Sundance Plaza Associates were attempting to get approval for their shopping center, the County had no problem stepping up to the plate and claiming it's ownership. Now that the Sundance project has gone by the wayside, the County has again "abandoned" this historic cemetery.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law. The legal authority for it is the board of supervisors. If the cemetery is presently "uncared for," it is only in that condition because of the deliberate negligence on the part of the county.
Oak Hill Cemetery (aka Hanks Exchange) Cemetery Type: Public County
Oak Hill Cemetery is associated with the early 1850s community of Hanks
Exchange. It is situated on a hill on the north side of the present alignment of
Pleasant Valley Road.
Also once located on this hill, was the school house of the Oak Hill School District. In 1881, local land owner Pierre Vignaut, executed a deed to the school property to the trustees of the Oak Hill School District which noted that the property was "the same on which the school house of the Oak Hill District has stood for many years now last past." The earliest marked grave in the cemetery is dated 1866, evidencing that, in 1881, the cemetery had been used by the public for at least 15 years. By this use by the public, title to the cemetery vested in the public.
Even after the school district abandoned the school house (or rather, I believe, they moved it), the school district held the deed to the property. There was no reversion clause in the event the land ceased to be used for school purposes, and it wasn't until 1962 that the successor school district to the Oak Hill School District, Gold Oak Unified School District, found itself with a deed to land that now only contained the Oak Hill Cemetery.
Because of this, the district apparently devised some sort of trust deed that it gave to trustees who were to act as the Oak Hill Cemetery Trust. The notion that the school district had any legal interest in the cemetery at that point is ridiculous. By the time Vignaut had given the school district it's 1881 deed for the school house land, the title to the cemetery had already vested in the public through operation of law. Technically and legally speaking, the district did not own the land on which the cemetery exists, because the title was in the public and the public's title to the land succeeded any interest Vignaut may have previously held in that land. Vignaut's deed to the school district was of no true effect.
Despite this, since 1962 the "Oak Hill Cemetery Trust" has been operating and maintaining the Oak Hill Cemetery, when in reality, the property should have been being administered by the Board of Supervisors or its appointed representative. The trustees, in the meantime, complied with a request for a road alignment change near the northeast corner of the cemetery and gave up cemetery land with no legal approval whatsoever. Once land has been dedicated to cemetery purpose, that dedication can only be removed by an order of the Superior Court.
This is a public county cemetery and is being operated outside the requirements of the law. The board of supervisors needs to accept the vested public title to this cemetery and stop ignoring it's mandated ownership of these places.
Mormon Tavern Cemetery (aka Clarksville) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery now referred to as the Clarksville Cemetery was first established with
the Mormon Tavern, one of the county's earliest roadhouses on what became the
Sacramento to Placerville Road. The two earliest documented burials occurred
during the Cholera epidemic of the Fall of 1850. The cemetery is still in use
today, although to a limited degree.
The cemetery is claimed to be owned by descendants of county pioneer Joseph Joerger. Joerger, however, did not assume ownership of the land within which this public cemetery is located until 1878 or 1879, after the title had vested in the public through operation of law. Despite the vested title, however, in 1889 Joerger deeded the two acres known as the "Clarksville Cemetery" to three trustees in their individual names.
Two of those individuals are now buried in the Clarksville Cemetery. The third is presumed to have moved from the area, since he was a young man and his first wife was already buried in the cemetery. There is no record of any further transfer of the "title" to the "Clarksville cemetery" from the hands of the three "Trustees."
In 1890, Charles F. Irwin, formerly the County Judge of El Dorado County (prior to the establishment of Superior Court judges), administered the Estate of Geremia Beffa, who had died at Clarksville. In a creditor's bill submitted by Irwin to the Probate Court for approval of payment, Irwin notes the bill is for a coffin, grave digging, etc. and that "...said deceased was buried in the public cemetery in said town of Clarksville..." Of anyone who would have known public land from privately-owned land, we believe that would have been Judge Irwin.
EDCPCC remains firm in its belief that the title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of the former Political Code section 3105. Even IF (again we use this with reluctance) this were not the case, by the time Joseph Joerger died in 1914, he no longer owned the Clarksville Cemetery. Therefore, the property could not transfer to Joerger's heirs, legatees or devisees then, nor to any successor heirs, legatees or devisees.. Provided the existence of the 1889 deed from Joerger to George Fitch, John York and Thomas B. Everett for "all that tract of land known as the Clarksville Cemetery" and, given that none of the three ever transferred their "title" to the cemetery parcel, the title to this cemetery will have reverted to the public through operation of Government Code section 182.
Any way you view it, this is a county public cemetery according to law.
Cold Springs Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
Town of Cold Springs is known to have existed prior to the Fall of 1849. The
original site of the cemetery was on the opposite side of Cold Springs Road from
the present location of today. It was relocated to this location in 1858,
through an Act of the state legislature allowing J.R. Munson to move the
cemetery from his private land. That Act stated, "It is hereby made lawful
for J.R. Munson to disinter and remove the remains of all deceased persons,
together with all monuments, etc., from the old cemetery in the town of Cold
Spring [sic], in the county of El Dorado, and inter the same in the new cemetery
near the said town of Cold Spring [sic]."
In 1998, EDCPCC accepted a quitclaim deed to the Cold Springs Cemetery from the daughter of the man who developed the Cold Springs Subdivision. This extraordinary measure was taken to prevent the County Tax Collector from selling the cemetery for 18 years worth of delinquent tax payments.
Prior to executing the quitclaim deed, EDCPCC had attempted to get the County to acknowledge its ownership of this cemetery through operation of the former Political Code section 3105. We provided adequate and sufficient evidence to the County that this cemetery had been in use, in it's present location, since 1858 and that the last documented burial to have occurred there was in 1915 or 1916. In a final memorandum on the subject by the county counsel's office, the County refuted any legal interest in this historic public cemetery.
As a result, EDCPCC accepted the quitclaim deed incumbent upon a list of terms and conditions of acceptance. The first enumerated term was that we acknowledged the cemetery to be a public county cemetery, and that EDCPCC may only hold the "title" to the Cold Springs Cemetery in trust for the people of El Dorado County. EDCPCC's "title" or interest in this cemetery may only be transferred to the Board of Supervisors of the county.
This historic cemetery is a county public cemetery through operation of law. It is disgraceful that the county refutes its ownership of such a valuable historic property.
For more about Cold Springs Cemetery, Click Here.
Heusner Family (aka Buckeye Ranch) Cemetery Type: Not a Cemetery
present the only graves in this cemetery are those graves of three of the
Heusner family. Others of the family are interred at the Frenchtown Cemetery and
at Union Cemetery, in Placerville. If for some reason additional graves are
located near the Heusner plot, it may be possible that title vested in the
public through operation of law. Lacking knowledge of any other burials or
further review of the site, we are unable to determine how best to type this
The cemetery was saved and excepted from a later sale of the larger ranch property and has remained in the ownership of the Heusner family descendants, heirs and next of kin. In 1992, the County Tax Collector had this cemetery slated for sale to satisfy delinquent taxes. After the family paid the delinquent taxes, they have since either filed a Cemetery Exemption form or have paid the property taxes on this little parcel.
The "Exhibit A" listing is incorrect to list this as a cemetery. Since there are possibly just the three known Heusner graves, it does not meet the State definition of a cemetery.
Duroc House Cemetery (aka Miser-McNeil/Norman McNeil) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery first became established at the time that Edward S. Hanchett owned the
Duroc House and Ranch on the Sacramento to Placerville Road in the 1850s. Upon
selling the ranch in two separate parcels (one to Theron Foster and the other to
Foster's son-in-law Frederick Crawford), Hanchett reserved one square rod of
land in which was located the grave of his young daughter.
By the late 1860s, the three children of Erastus Bennett and wife had been buried here as well. Because of the lack of records, it is not possible to know who else may have been buried in this little cemetery, nor is it possible to determine if the present fenced enclosure includes all potential graves that may exist.
Of the roadhouses on the Placerville Road, the Duroc House is prominently written about. Present-day Durock [sic] Road is named for this ranch and roadhouse which is said to have been a Pony Express stop, if but even for a short while. From this place emerged the pioneers of the county such as Edward S. Hanchett (who later died at Hanks Exchange and was buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery) and Lewis Holdridge, who not only owned the Duroc House, but also the Deer Creek House. It was also once owned by a member of the county's pioneer Kyburz family.
The cemetery continued to be used by members of the Joseph Miser family and other descendants of Miser through marriage. The cemetery was withheld through an estate probate that occurred in the 1960s, and since then it has been known as the private cemetery of the Miser-McNeil families.
Title to this cemetery, however, did vest in the public according to the former Political Code section 3105.
Buckeye Flat Cemetery (aka Meyer-Zentgraf) Cemetery Type: Public County
cemetery is closely associated with the Franz Meyer and George Zentgraf families
(who were related by George's marriage to Annie Zentgraf), but it is actually
the cemetery of the town of Buckeye Flat. The earliest burial in the cemetery is
that of Charles Theiss who owned the Union Hotel at Buckeye Flat in the early
Theiss died around 1864, and was buried in a plot outlined with dressed placerite stone. His tombstone is now missing, but was recorded at an earlier date. The footstone at the foot of his grave, attested to it's location on the eastern-most side of the Theiss cemetery plot that is east of and adjacent to the Meyer-Zentgraf family plot.
Franz Meyer was the owner of Meterís Hotel on the line of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad. The hotel was later operated by members of the Thomas Or family and renamed as Oreís Hotel. The location is at approximately the middle of what was the Town of Buckeye Flat, an historic town that predated even the Town of Shingle Springs by perhaps as long as a year or more, and at the time that Shingle was known as the location of the famed horse-powered Shingle Machine. The "old Dyerís place" was torn down in 1909 and was supposed to have been replaced by a new residential dwelling.
In 1861, Buckeye Flat served as the polling precinct for the county elections. Forty-six children between the ages of 4 and 18 years of age, were enumerated that same year as living within the Buckeye Flat School District. It is clear from this type of information, that the town or village of Buckeye Flat was a thriving civic center. From this, we may presume that other burials occurred in this community cemetery.
It is believed that many more graves exist on this sloping hillside and that further ground research through performance of a Ground Penetrating Radar survey will reveal the locations of those graves. With this in mind, and with the prescriptive use period established by former Political Code section 3105, we would assert that this is a public county cemetery.
Newtown Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
is the public cemetery of the historic town of Newtown, which emerged shortly
after the advent of the discovery of gold. It has been in use from the 1850s,
with the last known interment occurring in the 1970s.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law.
Rose Springs Cemetery (aka Tennessee Burying Ground) Cemetery Type: Public County
Rose Springs House roadhouse was established by 1850 and was situated on the
Sacramento to Coloma Road. It was one of the earliest public establishments to
serve the public traveling to and from the gold fields in El Dorado County.
Adjacent to the cemetery once sat the Rose Springs school house that was also
later known as the Tennessee school house (for nearby Tennessee Creek).
The cemetery has been in use since at least the 1850s, though only two graves are marked in the grounds. The last burial took place in 1924 with the interment of county pioneer, Jacob Egger, Sr.
This is a public county cemetery to which title vested in the public by 1879. It is presently landlocked, the original access road having been cut off from public use by the subdivision of the land around it.
Barnett Ranch Cemetery Cemetery Type: Not Evaluated
cemetery is first mentioned in the Dept. of Public Works 1975 Cemetery Survey,
conducted by Betty C. Laarveld under the department director G. Arthur Cort.
EDCPCC has visited the location noted by Mrs. Laarveld to be the "Barnett
Ranch Cemetery," but a lack of grave markers, common or otherwise, leaves
We are not entirely certain this is an actual cemetery or burial ground. For many years the locals spoke of a cemetery on the "Barnett Ranch," although remaining family members of some of the local residents, also do not recall a cemetery in this location.
There is a cemetery that Mrs. Laarveld told us she was never able to find on the Barnett Ranch, and that is the cemetery we discovered in 1998 that is associated with the El Dorado House, an 1850s roadhouse on the Sacramento to Placerville Road.
We believe that in 1975 Mrs. Laarveld may have thought that what she noted as the "Barnett Ranch Cemetery," was the location of the cemetery EDCPCC located in 1998.
Pekin Cemetery (aka Big Canyon Mine Cemetery) Cemetery Type: Public County
was named the "Big Canyon Mine" cemetery by Betty Laarveld in 1975, is
in actuality the cemetery of the mining town of Pekin. Only one grave, that of
Francis Calloway who died of Cholera in 1850, remains marked. At least seven
other deaths have been documented to have occurred at or near Pekin from the
period of the 1850s to the late 1870s. Two deaths are most notable, they being
the death of the young son of John B. Yount in the Spring of 1857, and of Mr.
Yount, who was killed in 1857 by a man named Graham.
John B. Yount was the nephew of George Yount, who came to California previous to the Gold Rush, and founded the town of Yountville in Napa County. The descendants of John B. Yount were instrumental in establishing the Big Canyon Mine, which was located about 3/4's of a mile southwest of the town of Pekin.
Because this cemetery was established in association with an early town or village, we believe it acquired a public character through the 1854 cemetery statute, through which any place where the bodies of six or more dead human beings were buried was declared to be "public grave-yard." Because of the lack of grave markers to tell when the last actual burial took place, we cannot evaluate any extended public character that may have vested title to the public without further review of the grounds.
With only one presently marked grave, coupled with the documented number of deaths that occurred there over the period of 1850 through 1876, there is considerable concern that this cemetery if far larger than the present property owner knows. It is a cemetery which EDCPCC believes may be at great risk should the new owners attempt to improve the property in the vicinity of the lone marked grave.
Brandon (Zar P.) Ranch Cemetery Type: Not Evaluated
Without further review of the physical site and archival research, it is difficult for EDCPCC to evaluate this site. The location of the Martha Brandon graves is known to a local resident, but it is based upon the finding of her tombstone which may or may not have been at the grave itself. We have many "traveling tombstones" in El Dorado County, and someone may have attempted to take her marker for a "walk."
Chili Bar Toll House Cemetery (aka Gilmore [sic] Family) Cemetery Type: Not Evaluated
only grave marker noted at this cemetery was that of little Ella Coolidge (died
ca. 1862), the daughter of John Coolidge and his "Indian" wife.
Coolidge was once the toll keeper for the Chili Bar Toll Road and Bridge. The
bridge was first built by the George brothers in the early 1850s, and it is
reasonably certain that the toll house also served as a public road house for
several years after. It was, in fact, called the Planters House when the
brothers owned it (although that roadhouse name is more generally associated
with the roadhouse of the same name at Shingle Springs).
The Nugget Campground is presently operated on the property once owned for the toll road and toll house. Prior to this, however, the little daughter of the Gilmour family who purchased it from the Hill family in the late 1950s, "discovered" little Ella's grave marker in 1962. (This incident is documented in the pages of the Mountain Democrat of the time.)
By the time that EDCPCC members arrived at the location of Ella's grave (1996-97), a large portion of the hill on which the girl's marked grave existed, had been cut as a bus parking lot and turnaround zone. The little monument, which had earlier been repaired by the Native Daughters of the Golden West in the 1930s, was found within 10 feet of a 100 gallon propane tank. When the CRPC tours were being conducted in the Fall of 2001, and the committee members visited this site, Ella's tombstone and the propane tank were no longer there.
It is impossible to know how many other graves may have existed at this cemetery since so much grading and cutting has occurred here. This is a vivid example of cemetery obliteration and desecration at its worst. The CRPC evaluation, we believe, has been politically massaged to play down what has occurred here due to the fact that the Nugget Campground is owned by former county supervisor and rafting company owner, Bill Center. It is certain that Ella's tombstone and grave have disappeared under Center's ownership.
Gold Hill Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public County
is the community cemetery of the early 1850s town of Gold Hill. The coped
enclosure seen on the little hill north of Cold Springs Road is the Marquardt
family plot and does not represent the full extent of the cemetery.
The Gold Hill Cemetery was visited by members of the Coloma Cemetery Committee of the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in the early 1990s. At that time there was one remaining tombstone within the enclosed Marquardt family plot, but it was not a marker for one of that family. It was the marker of William Wilder Bryant, whose death date has been obliterated from the stone. July 1st is clearly written on the stone, but the year beyond "18xx" is missing. Research reveals that Bryant was registered as an El Dorado County voter up to the year 1880. Thereafter he is never shown to have registered through the 1890s. The property's "owner" at the time indicated that the marker was originally outside the enclosed plot, but was moved inside to protect it from grazing livestock.
The first documented interment to occur in the Gold Hill Cemetery was George Marquardt in 1868. Thereafter, Adam Kesselring, Sr. was buried here in 1873, Henry Brewer in 1896, and Michael Marquardt in 1899. The earliest notice of a death that occurred at Gold Hill was that of little Augustus Tilson, the infant son of Dr. J.D. and Martha Tilson, who died in May of 1854.
Research reveals the names of 28 individuals who were buried or who have a probability to have been buried at the Gold Hill Cemetery.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law. It is the cemetery of the early town of Gold Hill that, by the end of the century, was reduced to but a "village." The county needs to accept it's mandated public title to this historic public cemetery.
Indian Diggings Cemetery Cemetery Type: Public Federal
is the cemetery of the town of Indian Diggings which was established in the
early 1850s. The earliest dated tombstone within the cemetery is that of Mrs.
Hannah P. Bradley and dated 1859. The most current interment identified is that
of Dominick LaRobadier, who died in 1928. Title to this cemetery vested in the
public by 1879 through operation of former Political Code section 3105.
In the several times this cemetery has been visited since 1996 by members of EDCPCC, it has almost always been immaculately kept and maintained. It's placement on the "Exhibit A" listing as an "Uncared-For" cemetery defies the imagination.
The Indian Diggings Cemetery is identified as Lots 13 and 14 of Section 18 in Township 8 North, Range 13 East, Mt. Diablo Base and Meridian. It is part of land recovered into federal ownership by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In discussion with Dean K. Swickard, Area Manager with the BLM Folsom Resource Area, it would appear that the more recently acquired federal title to this cemetery land does supersede the effect of the state's law that ascribed the public title to the board of supervisors of the County of El Dorado. Because of this we have typed it as a "Public Federal" cemetery.
It was interesting to learn that Mr. Swickard said that his office has never been contacted about this cemetery by anyone from the County of El Dorado. Yet, in 1996, during a proposed Public/Private land exchange, EDCPCC contacted the BLM to ensure that the Indian Diggings Cemetery was not to be included in the proposed exchange. As a result, the cemetery parcel was withdrawn from the land exchange.
We believe the inclusion of the Indian Diggings Cemetery as an "Uncared-For Cemetery" on the "Exhibit A" listing, is grossly negligent on the part of the county, especially in light of the fact that the county does not identify that the land is federally owned, and has never taken the time to contact the federal government authorities now responsible for the legal ownership of the cemetery.
Litten-McDonald Cemetery Cemetery Type: County Public
is the cemetery of the Arthur Litten family which included Litten's daughter,
Julia Litten McDonald, and her husband John McDonald. The earliest Litten burial
to occur here was in 1873. The last interment was that of Julia Litten McDonald
in the 1940s. It was Mrs. McDonald's express wish that after her burial, the
gate to this small fenced cemetery be locked and the key thrown away.
The Litten-McDonald ranch is presently owned by Mrs. Mary (nee Cridge) Smith and her son. Both were present at Julia McDonald's funeral, the son having sung at Mrs. McDonald's request. Mrs. Smith's parents purchased the ranch from Mrs. McDonald shortly before her death, and their family has remained there since then.
If we evaluate this cemetery according to the law, we would say that title to it vested in the public. The law did not differentiate between familial and non-familial burials, and burials in this cemetery occurred sufficient to satisfy the prescriptive use period under the law. Additionally, no effort was made by the Litten and McDonald families to provide otherwise for the cemetery, making it even more important for the title to have vested in the public in order to properly protect it.
This small, fenced enclosure is nearly unrecognizable as being a cemetery. It is as Julia McDonald desired it to be upon interment, though we doubt she understood how unkempt it might become without some modicum of maintenance. We are concerned that at some time in the future, later owners will abuse it or cause it's total destruction. We do not have that fear while it is still "owned" by the Smith family.
We believe it would be in the best interest of those interred within this cemetery for the county to either determine that title vested in the public according to law, or to establish this as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park.
Rupley Ranch Cemetery (aka Rupley Family) Cemetery Type: Public County
are eleven known burials within this cemetery, but a Ground Penetrating Radar
survey identified fifteen graves. None of the graves are marked.
While the majority of the interments here are of members of the pioneer Rupley family, many are not. Even given that, the law which vested title in the public did not differentiate between familial burials and non-familial burials. It merely stated that title to lands used as a public cemetery or grave yard...located in or near any city, town, or village, and used by the inhabitants....is vested in the public. There is nothing in the statute's language that says, "unless the deceased are all related to one another." Which, in this case, would not apply anyway.
This cemetery is known to have been used since at least 1858, and the last interment occurred in 1897. This was sufficient time to comply with the prescriptive use period established by former Political Code section 3105, that provided that the title did vest in the public.
Even if the county were not to accept this as fact, this is one cemetery we would recommend that the board of supervisors establish as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park. Members of the remaining Rupley family living here and elsewhere, would support such an action by the County.
Schenck Hotel Cemetery (aka Schenck-Bradshaw Ranch) Cemetery Type: Public County
Similar to the Rupley Ranch and Pleasant Grove House cemeteries, many of the
interments in this cemetery are members of the Schenck family and extended
family through marriage. Other unrelated individuals, however, are also buried
here. This indicates that this cemetery was used by members of the local
community. The true number of burials in the cemetery is not known.
We believe this cemetery is also a prime candidate to be established as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park. It is unfenced, and cattle graze through it routinely. Because of this, surface evidence of the location of documented but unmarked graves, is almost impossible to detect.
Upper Mosquito Cemetery (aka Dickenson Family) Cemetery Type: Not Evaluated
is evidence that this cemetery was used by members of the public, although the
majority of the burials are those of the Dickenson family who owned the land
around it. It is presently owned by the Chapman family who purchased the ranch
in the mid-1990s.
A picket fence surrounds the cemetery which is fully overgrown with Vinca major plants that obscure the ground of the cemetery. A gate to allow entrance to the cemetery is located near the curve of the road east of the main gate to the house.
In keeping with our prior assertions that the law did not differentiate between familial and non-familial use, we believe title to this cemetery vested in the public through operation of law. Given that we do not believe the county will concur there is a vested public title, we believe this cemetery should be established as a legal Pioneer Memorial Park.
Volcanoville Cemetery (aka Volcanoville #2 & Josephine) Cemetery Type: Public County
is the cemetery of the early mining town of Volcanoville, which first emerged in
1852 or 1853. Eleven graves are presently enclosed within a fenced plot, only
one of which is marked by a grave marker. Overgrowth of Manzanita and other
brush make it difficult to determine if other common marked graves exist outside
the fence line.
In 1909, Georgetown resident William Ogle purchased the property within which the cemetery is located, and paid Charles Wentz to clear the road into the cemetery. Ogle also gave Wentz the names of the people that Ogle knew to be buried within the fenced plot. Ogle's niece received his property after his death and, in 1974, Vera Frazier executed a quitclaim deed to the cemetery to the Native Sons of the Golden West. The acreage deeded was nearly two acres in size; far smaller than the present fenced plot.
Title to this cemetery vested in the public by 1879, long before Ogle's ownership. This is yet another public county cemetery which the county ignores it's mandated public title.
Wakamatsu Silk & Tea Colony Cemetery Cemetery Type: Not Evaluated
This is purported to be the single grave of the Japanese maiden, Okei. However, without archaeological review of the area of this "one grave," it is difficult to know if other graves may also exist. It is known that when Schnell, the owner of the Colony, left with his wife and children, he left his Japanese employees at the Colony, and never returned. U.S. Census information for 1870 indicates there were many Japanese enumerated at the Colony, just one year before Okeiís reported date of death. It is quite likely there may be other graves near hers.
White Ranch Cemetery (aka Agra Ranch) Cemetery Type: Not a Cemetery
difficult to determine if this cemetery may have been used prior to Noel White's
ownership of the place. There is some concern that the first husband White's
wife, the former Mrs. James W. (Elizabeth) Gregory, may have been buried at or
near this cemetery.
Overall, the earliest White family member buried here was Myrtle White, the infant daughter of Noel and Elizabeth White, who died around the year 1900. The last White family member buried here was Thomas White in 1989. Descendants of Noel White still retain ownership to the ranch.
Since we are only able to document five interments at this cemetery, it technically does not meet the state's definition of a cemetery. It certainly is not as the proposed ordinance "Exhibit A" categorizes it, a "Privately-Cared-For Cemetery," since it is neither a cemetery nor would there be any ownership question given the recent evaluation of cemeteries by members of the Cultural Resources Preservation Commission led by Sue Silver of EDCPCC. The land is clearly privately owned by the White family descendants, and therefore this "burial ground" that contains only five burials, is privately owned.
Bonetti Ranch Cemetery Cemetery Type: Not a Cemetery
All indications evidenced in the archival research conducted by EDCPCC note just the burial of two Bonetti family infants. Their little graves may have been found during the Fall 2001 CRPC cemetery tour, but without further exploration, even that find may be in question. There is a more likelihood that this area will net the finding of a Native American Cry Site and cemetery.
Entenmann Ranch Cemetery Cemetery Type: Not a Cemetery
The Staff Summary Report states there is only one marked grave at this site and ignores the archival research indicating that both Mr. and Mrs. Konrad Entenmann were buried in this cemetery. During the Fall 2001 CRPC cemetery tour, it was noted that evidence of a Native American Cry Site and cemetery were discovered. As we have seen in the instance of the Planters House (aka Margona-Hall Cemetery), this is not an isolated instance of this type of occurrence.
Agenda Item No. 63 HOME