Endangered Cemetery Report


(aka Fickert Family Cemetery)
Bear Valley Springs, Kern County, California

We need your help!

We have learned that the Bear Valley Community Services District owns the residential home lot on which the Fickert Ranch Cemetery was established in the 1860s.  The CSD is presently attempting to sell the lot to private ownership even though a deed condition made by the Fickert family in the mid-1960s has been in operation since the date the family sold that portion of the ranch.  They will act on AUGUST 14, 2004.  

Frederick Wallace Fickert, the great-grandson of pioneer patriarch Frederick William Fickert, is protesting the sale of the lot and the CSD's attempt to terminate the family's right to use, enjoyment and access to the cemetery.

We believe the Fickert family erred in the language they used in the deed setting out the family's rights and access to the cemetery.  While the deed could have been better written, such an error should not be used as a tool to ignore a family's right to use their cemetery or to visit and protect the graves of their ancestors and loved ones.

If you agree, please contact the Bear Valley Community Services District and let them know that you believe the district should retain the property for the preservation of the Fickert Cemetery and to promote the area's history.

To contact the District:

By Email:
By Phone:  (661) 821-4428
By Fax:  (661) 821-0180

By Mail:

Robert T. Sheppard, Jr., President
Bear Valley Community Services District
28999 South Lower Valley Road
Tehachapi, CA  93561

Other Board Members are:  Ron Samuels, Vice President; Don Kordes; Phillip Darling, and
Al Romano.

Thank you,

Sue Silver, State Coordinator
August 5, 2004

We appreciate the support of the following individuals who responded in support of our opposition to the sale of this cemetery:

Patricia Borden, Newport Beach, California
Virginia W. Thomas, Durham, North Carolina
Carolyn Feroben, Mariposa, California
Lacy Summers, Adin, California
Judith Stevens, Tehachapi, California
Wanda VanderVeen, Etowah, Tennessee
J. Clark Wicke, Eureka, California
Beth Humphrey, Stockton, California
Debbie Peevyhouse, San Jose, California
Jean Ebenhack, Stockton, California
James R. Hewitt, Jr., Roseburg, Oregon
Jeremy Nichols, Santa Rosa, California
Lorry E. Tibbetts, Diamond Springs, California
Toy Lynn Cross, Coldwater, Michigan
Carol & Lance Lackey, Oakhurst, California
Marcia Kettering, Indianapolis, Indiana
Cheryl Heryford Jones, Anderson, California
Barbara Drummer, Albion, Iowa
Marti Hurley, San Francisco, California
Michael Wimmer-Gonzalez, Bulverde, Texas
Kay Sutherland, Elma, Washington
Jackie Pauley, Newark, California
John C. & Evelyn Sammis
Kim Depenbrok
Patricia O'Neal, Wilcox, Arizona
Jack E. Briles, Sr., New Albany, Indiana
John & Tess Gingras, Bakersfield, California
Fran Forni, Placerville, California
Jeff Nickell, President, Kern County Historical Society
Marilyn Ann Flemmer, Trustee, Elk Grove-Cosumnes Cemetery District, California
Debby Bailen, St. Louis, Missouri

This page contains the following sections:

Historical Brief
     Information about the history of the area where the cemetery is located.
Cemetery Information
    General information about the cemetery and its history.
Interment List
    Listing of those who are known to be buried in the cemetery and information about
    other possible burials therein.

Historical Brief:

Excerpted from "The Fickert's of Bear Valley" by Eleanor Englestad]

Frederick William Fickert
probably never expected to become a California cattle baron. He was born August 27, 1830, in Prussia of German parents. A restless and ambitious Fred Fickert left home at the age of fifteen and went to sea. Five years later, in 1850, after a voyage from Hamburg as provision master on a merchant ship, he arrived in New York. Within a month he was aboard a ship to San Francisco by way of Cape Horn. The young man had decided to leave seafaring life and seek his fortune in the mining regions of California. He spent most of the next nineteen years pursuing the ever elusive promise of riches which beckoned from the gold fields of Sierra, Butte, Yuba, Inyo, and upper Kern counties.

Mary Glynn Fickert was born in Barney's Slough, Ireland, on March 27, 1839, the daughter of Thomas Glynn and Mary Toohey Glynn. One of six sisters who emigrated to the United States, she arrived in New York in 1859 accompanied by her brother-in-law, Charles Boland. From New York she traveled by sea and land across the Isthmus of Panama to San Francisco. There is no record of Mary's life in California in the year or two after her arrival, or any record of when and where she met her future husband, but on December 19, 1861, Mary and Fred were married in San Francisco.

Marriage evidently didn't dim Fred's dream of the wealth to be found in mining. That he was a persistent hard-working man is confirmed by the many years he spent struggling as a miner. An 1891 biography....relates that he discovered the "world renowned" Sierra Gorda mine in 1863 and formed a mining district. The biography stated that Fickert abandoned the Sierra Gorda because he feared for the safety of his family. In the 1860s it took courage to follow your husband to a desolate mining camp, but Mary was also practical, and she persuaded Fred to move to the safer slopes of Kernville.

After a short stay in Kernville Fred moved the family to Havilah where he once again engaged in mining, and, in addition, took on the operation of a livery stable. Unfortunately the livery stable burned down in 1868 and again in 1869. Since Fickert's mining ventures in Kernville and Havilah had only been moderately successful, after the second loss of the livery stable he decided that ranching might be more profitable and began looking for suitable land.

Traveling over the mountains and into the
Tehachapis Fred found Bear Valley and was impressed by its beauty, fertile soil, and excellent grazing land. He had found his "Garden of Eden" as he later called it. The first Fickert land in Bear Valley was purchased from James Williams, Esq. in 1869. It was a squatter's right to 160 acres.

The 1981 biography concludes with this charming account, very likely written by one of the Fickerts since families furnished the information and paid to have their biographies published:

The Fickert home is known by all to be a place where the friend and also the stranger is always hospitably received and entertained. When generations have passed from the scenes of active life and this beautiful valley shall have advanced to the dignity of a princely paradise, the name of this pioneer family will still stand boldly out on the pages of local history as the founder of the settlement, growth, and prosperity of lovely Bear Valley - one of the most charming of the many beautiful mountain nooks of Central California.

Cemetery Information

The cemetery is located at the back end of a 1 plus acre residential parcel of land on Deertrail Drive in Bear Valley Springs.  The family reserved easement from a public way, which would now be Deertrail Drive.  The cemetery was delineated as being 100 feet by 120 feet in size, though it is presently fenced at a smaller size.

There are reported to be at least seventeen documented burials.  An old-timer in the area voiced that he believes three of these burials are said to be Native American ranch hands employed by the Fickert family in the early years.

The first burial in the cemetery is believed to be that of Thomas Fickert, aged 10 years, who died in 1876.  The most recent burial in the cemetery occurred in 1967.  Among those buried in the cemetery is Charles Marron Fickert (1874-1937), Kern County native son and veteran of the California National Guard.

Charles Marron Fickert

Charles was educated in the public schools of Kern County and Stanford University, class í99, degree Bachelor of Arts. He was admitted to the bar in 1901 and has handled many large cases. Republican and active in politics. In February 1904, he was appointed first assistant United States attorney under Marshall Woodworth. This appointment was by President Roosevelt upon the personal appeal of David Starr Jordan, then president of Stanford University. He served one year and then returned to private practice. In 1909 he defeated Francis J. Heaney by a big majority for the position of district attorney of San Francisco and held that position for ten years, retiring in 1919, to private practice. During that period he became nationally known in the Mooney case, convicting two against tremendous odds, and many other notable cases. He was a big man mentally, morally and physically, with an extraordinary wide circle of friends who looked up to him as one of the most capable attorneys in the city. He stood 6 feet 4 inches. Until the time he went to college he was a cowboy on his fatherís ranch and was a noted rider. He made the football team and played for five years as left guard on the Stanford team, serving as captain in 1898. He was a member of Stanford Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West, also was a member of the Benevolent and Protective order of Elks, Olympic Club, Bohemian Club, National Guards (California). He was married March 1, 1905, in San Francisco to Miss Ethel Wallace, daughter of J.H. Wallace, who was a Southern Pacific engineer on the Maintenance of Way Department and who is now engaged in putting in radio stations in China for the Federal Telegraph Company.  [Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" by Bailey Millard Vol. 3 page 151-152. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.]

Interment List

The following burials, chronologically listed, have been identified to have been made in the Fickert Ranch Cemetery:

1876      Thomas Fickert (aged 10 yrs), son of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
1882      Frank Fickert, son of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
1884      Adeline (Adie) Fickert (aged 6 yrs) and Gertie Fickert (aged 2 yrs),
                       daughters of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
1914      Frederick William Fickert, pioneer settler of the Fickert Ranch
1917      Louis F. Fickert, son of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
1930      Mary Glynn Fickert, matriarch of the Fickert family
1937      Charles Marron Fickert, son of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
1938      Frederick Alford Fickert, son of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
1959      Mary E. (Nellie) Fickert and Louise E. Fickert, daughters of Frederick William
                   and Mary (Glynn) Fickert
            Adolphus Bianchi; About this time, Clara Fickert Bianchi had the remains of her
               husband, Adolphus moved to the Fickert Ranch Cemetery from their original
               place of burial.
1967      Clara (Clare) Fickert Bianchi, daughter of Frederick William and Mary (Glynn)

In addition, an oldtimer of the area said that there were three Indian ranch hands who were also buried in or near the Fickert family cemetery.