Joaquin County, CA
on the above link to go to the
Graves main website
& it's Decline
were at least two Stockton State Hospital Cemeteries. I will
give a brief History of each one on this page. My research is
from local histories, San Joaquin County & California State
Records. I will list source information at the end of this history.
be aware some of the stories printed here (those from local papers,
etc.) are graphic and are meant to give a sense of how poorly the
individuals were treated in life as well as in death. It is
through finding these injustices that I have felt a duty to bring a
bit of respect & dignity to those who may have known little or
none during their lives.
# 1a & 1b: STATE HOSPITAL GROUNDS, behind the Women's
Facility & at end of Acacia Street.
found the location for this site from Stockton/San Joaquin
Directories for 1873-1930. Also, it is mentioned in
V. Covert Martin with R. Coke Wood, PhD, College of the Pacific &
Stckton College. Also Leon Bush, Stockton College.
Collaborators in writing the manuscript. Stockton, CA 1959).
The original State Hospital/Asylum cemetery was located behind the
Women's Facility, as stated above. The Women's facility is
located at what is now 510 E. Magnolia St, Stockton, CA.
Nothing of this site remains. There were 4,467 known burials at
this location, with, according to sources stated above, only 1,619
being removed to the new site located on N. California Street before
March 1875. The cemetery behind the Women's Facility was used
from about 1854 until January 1875, when the site on California
Street was purchased.
was another cemetery that is noted on the property of the State
Hospital Grounds (now University of Stanislaus at Stockton) located
at the end of Acacia Street behind the maintainence building.
This location is from a city of Stockton Map viewed at the Assessors
office. As of this date (June 8, 2002) I have not found any
other information on this site.
# 2: 2800 N. CALIFORNIA STREET, behind the Physicians Medical
Condos, north of Beverly Manor Care Home.
location is very well documented. The land for the
California Street site was purchased in January 1875, from Albina
Sedgewick, for $2,700. This was either a 14 or 15 acres plot of
land, depending on the source. The plot was landscaped with
cypress trees, and abors were built under the shady oaks according to
the custom of that time (Stockton Album
Through the Years). As
of today (June 8, 2002), not much remains of the
cemetery. There is a 1.39 acre plot, which consists of
weeds and a few bushes. There are a few trees along the
northern boundary. This site is in horrid condition. It
has not had any care since the State ceased using the site as a
burial ground in 1918-19. Some of the graves were removed about
1925- 26 (Stockton Album Through the Years). It is
believed that out of about 6,000 burials (including those brought
from the Women's Facility site), at least 3,572, and probably more,
as we don't know if those from the Women's Facility were included in
these numbers, remain in unmarked graves.
the legal description listed for the site of these parcels, and only
looking at parcel one, there is less than 1/3 of this site left
unimproved. The other 2/3 of the site have buildings or
parking lots built on them.
old San Joaquin County & Stockton maps located at the Stockotn
Library (Cesar Chavez branch), the entire 15 acre parcel was
considered by the planning departments (both county & city) to be
one looks at the map of the area (Por. Sec. 18 W.G., SJCo Assessors
map # 125-360-21, and tries to come up with a five acre parcel from
the listed parcels, you must come to the conclusion that Beverly
Manor (site 16), and a portion of Stockton Med Center Condos (site
40), a portion of the parking lot (site 27), are all incroaching upon
to law, this site is a cemetery until ALL remains have been moved to
another location. This has not taken place as far as the
records researched have shown. This is substanciated by a
letter received from a member of Karl Ross Post of the American
Legion (documents have been given to all city & county offices by
the person who wrote the letter. I will not name this person
here, as he is still living, and was kind enough to come forward).
State sold the property to the American Legion, Karl Ross Post
16. The land was divided into two parcels, with parcel one
being containing the only burials (Per Deeds).
We are told that in the first two weeks of March much happened with
Rezoning of the parcels was turned down in the end of Feburary 1955 (Stockton
Tuesday March 1, 1955, page 17).
The article states that "Commercial rezoning of a former
Stockton State Hospital burial grounds on North California St that
won approval of the County Planning Commission in January was denied
yesterday by the Coutny Board of Supervisors. The petition of
Karl Ross Psot fo the American Legion for the rezoning was referred
back to the planning group for reconsideration. Unanimous
supervisor disapproval of the proposed zoning came after a lengthy
report by County Counsel Frederick Felton, who said such a
reclassification would be illegal."
article goes on to state: "The 15-acre Legion property is on
the east side of California Street, south of the Alpine Lumber
company and west of Stockton Rural Cemetery. A trailer court
now occupies much of the ground. Felton said that the five
acres which graves are located should be reclassified as a cemetery
and the 10 remaining acres should be changed to commercial
zoning. The entire area is now residencial-surburban-farming zoning."
Remain: (It seems this article was used in
the writing of the above mentioned book, so this section will omit
the numbers of those buried here).
The site was used for burials for 45 years. During this time
4,467 burials took place. During 1925 & 1926 some of the
bodies were removed, with 3,572 remaining to be moved later (This is
where the confusion comes in for some... does the above number of
burials include those moved from the old site behind the
Women's Facility, or are they "new" burials?).
article goes on to state the condition of the site in March of
1955: The graveyard is in a state of neglect with the wooen
markers burned off by grass fires, and no evidence of care of any
kind. Names of the persons still buried in the plot are in the
records of the Stockton State Hospital.
article then states: PLAN MADE. In 1948 the state
sold the property to Karl Ross Post of the American Legion for
$15,323. At that time the post planned to build a clubhouseon
the property and develop the graveyard section into a park.
However, the plans never materialized.
clause in the statutes of 1939, as well as the property deed, states
that the conveyance of the property to the Legion should not be
construed as permission to use the land dedicated to cemetery
purposes for other than such purposes until the human remains have
been removed pursuant to law.
the area was given blanket suburban farming zoning, this was
in error. According to Felton, since the plot never has been
abandoned as a cemetery, it must be used only for burial purposes.
DID THE PROPERTY GET REZONED?
the refussal of the requested zone change, Attorney Chas. Epperson
set up a private hearing with Superior Court Judge George Buck.
The witness (our informant) was sworn in, and asked by Judge
Buck about records of those buried on the site. The informant
said that he had seen a large book with plot numbers and a list of
about 900 names of those buried at the site (this book was, later
found to be a list of those aprox. 895 bodies removed from the site
in 1925-26). Questions were then asked of the ability of Karl
Ross post to move all the remains from parcel "one".
The judge suggested they remove to his chambers, and there observed
that the only course seemed to be a common burial area.
many HOURS intervened after the session with Judge Buck, when the
removal was complete. I (informant) recall the suggestion was
made to use the area net to the fence for Rural Cemetery, north of
the driveway to Happell's Pharmacy int he Medical Arts Property.
is another article, sited by the informant (It Happened in
Stockton 1900-25, Glenn A Kennedy):
Cemetery (Stockton State Hospital) on NOrth California directly wes
of Rural Cemetery. The land was purchased in 1875 and was used
until 1919, when a crematory was built at the State Hospital Farm...
Some of the 4,000 plus bodies were disenterred and cremated in
1925-26 (MC: Where are these bodies now? Some say they
are buried under what is now Delta College)."
OF THE SITE TODAY: The site remains in sad condition.
There are vagrants living along the northern edge, under what few
trees remain. The city plows the area on occassion to keep
weeds down. Any trash, old furniture & other garbage is
shoved to the edges of the site. It is so sad to know that this
is how we treat some of the earliest pioneers of our city &
state. How can we expect our children to respect themselves and
others, when we can't even respect our forefathers? These
people were treated without dignity in life, and it continues in death.
Stories of those buried at these sites
Photos & maps of these sites
Records and Research Documents
Stories from old newspapers