Cemeteries - In the news ...

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This list covers references to cemeteries in Placer County. Please feel free to contribute if you see a reference to one of the Placer County cemeteries 'in the news...'


    Roseville Register, 11-18-1909 -
    A Deserted Cemetery

    The old, deserted cemetery on the Folsom road about a mile from Roseville, for years abandoned as a burial place, now presents a desolate and dilapidated appearance. The undergrowth has been allowed to grow unhindered while the fence of barb-wire is broken down. To add to the desolation, fire swept over the cemetery some years ago, and charred posts and pickets are frequently seen. It is certainly a deserted cemetery. At one time many bodies were buried but excavations in many places within the enclosure show that surviving relatives have removed the remains of their beloved ones to some more inviting places, and now not over a dozen graves remain. One of the remaining tombstones shows that the remains of a two-months-old son of John and Eliza Freeman died July 7, 1857. Another tombstone shows that John and Rose Bane were terribly afflicted, for they lost three small sons within six weeks; two of them dying on July 2, 1873, and the third on August 11th following. At this date it is quite probable that none of the present residents of Roseville remember the parents of the children above referred or what became of them. Maybe they, too, have gone to their final reward.


    Auburn Journal, 5-18-2010 -
    Cemetery Sheep “Mowers” Give Highway 49 Drivers Something to Chew On

    An overgrown lot off Highway 49 in Auburn is getting plenty of double-takes from motorists since a herd of sheep moved in and started chewing away Tuesday. The 25 sheep and one guard llama are making quick work of the star thistle, vetch, and other weeds in the Chinese Cemetery, an oak dotted, 2-acre parcel near Nevada Street. The sheep and Clara, a 200-pound-plus llama, were delivered to the property Tuesday by North Auburn farmer Dan Macon and were soon grazing on the undergrowth, oblivious to the heavy traffic rolling along Highway 49 nearby. Macon’s Flying Mule Farm hires out the herd to property owners as an alternative to mowing or spraying. It’s also seen as a way of reducing fire danger by controlling dry grass and brush. Richard Yue, a member of the Joss House Museum Society in Auburn, said Flying Mule Farm and its sheep just made sense the 2-acre property, near the Nevada Street crossroad. “I try thinking out of the box occasionally,” Yue said. “It seems the main watchword these days is ‘Go Green.’” The century-old cemetery – bought by Yue’s grandfather for $10 in gold – holds 11 members of pioneer Chinese-American families in the area. Upkeep has been done in the past by volunteers and Placer County Jail inmates. Macon said that the two-foot high range of grasses and weeds would be chewed down to the ground within a week. More ewes are expected to arrive soon from another area being grazed in the Robie Point neighborhood, swelling the number of sheep on the property to 50. An electric fence keeps the sheep from wandering out. Clara and the fence keep predators from coming in. Dogs would be the most likely attackers in the urban Auburn environment, Macon said. “She’s very territorial,” Macon said. “We thought of bringing in dogs but they would be stressed because of the level of traffic.” Macon said that because of the regular rain that has fallen on the foothills throughout the spring, it has been an amazing year for grass growth. “But it also means there is a lot of this stuff to control before it dries out,” he said. The sight of livestock on Highway 49 through Auburn is something that hasn’t been seen for at least two decades. “We’ve done public projects in the past and people are just excited to see them,” Macon said. “It’s something you don’t see every day.”


    Sacramento Bee, 10-13-2002 -
    Vandals Topple Headstones - Several Suspects Are Believed to Have Spent Two Hours Destroying Colfax Cemetery's Historic Grave Markers.

    Vandals who toppled dozens of century-old headstones at the Colfax Cemetery have caused at least $100,000 in damage and spurred a reward effort for information leading to their arrest. "I've never seen anything like this," said Craig Ballenger, superintendent of the 20-acre cemetery on North Canyon Way just off Interstate 80. "It's as if they deliberately went after anything that was old just to destroy it." Eighty-one headstones were knocked over by what are believed to be several suspects who spent at least two hours destroying the Gold Rush-era cemetery the night of Oct. 4. Among the headstones toppled was one that marked the grave of an 8-month-old infant who died in 1869 and markers for a husband and wife buried in the late 19th century. Ballenger said damage to just two of the old headstones could total about $20,000. Several of the headstones were made overseas decades ago and cannot be duplicated. "I can't figure it out," he said of the vandalism. "It just almost makes you sick." Placer County Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the incident. Callers can contact Crimestoppers anonymously at (800) 923-8191. "I hope somebody with a conscience will come forward," Ballenger said. Many tombstones can be reset, but about two dozen will require repair. Those costs could be borne by someone convicted for the vandalism, but the cemetery district will not pay for the work. Marie Hills, 84, who lives near the cemetery, said she is puzzled by why anyone would damage the site. "It's just a shame," she said. "I can't even understand what kick they got." Ocho Bravo, 71, went to the cemetery Thursday and saw that the grave site of his uncle, Roque Bravo, had been spared. "It's terrible what they've done," he said of the perpetrators. Law enforcement officials said they have some physical evidence but are looking for someone to help identify the suspects. The vandalism included toppling a headstone that reads, "An Honest Man is the Noblest Work of God."


    Colfax Record, 4-30-2009 -
    Why Lock Cemetery Gate? Native Americans Want Answers – Community, Colfax City Council Upset

    For reasons that are not entirely clear, the Colfax-Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe has been locked out of the Colfax Indian Cemetery since January. About a dozen members and friends of the tribe asked the Colfax City Council Tuesday night to unlock the gate to the cemetery. Council members listened in surprise and shock as tribal spokeswoman Judy Marks read a prepared statement: “[The cemetery] has long been the cremation and burial site of our ancestors — the Miwok, Maidu and Nisenan — who once lived in this region. They used the area for spiritual and ceremonial purposes, and our rights to continue to do so have been ignored and terminated. “It has been told to us that if we were to lose a loved one, at this point we would not be able to bury them alongside their family,” she continued. “We would like to reach some common agreement with the city to let us gain access to the land that was taken away unjustly and without warning.” Other members of the tribe and friends, some near tears, explained how important the cemetery is to them and why they want to be allowed to tend the graves and conduct ceremonies sacred to their community. According to a March 16 letter Marks wrote to the city, “Placer County has issued a request through Craig Ballenger, Colfax city cemetery manager, to have the tribe purchase the land containing the Indian Cemetery ASAP due to … the liability to the county.” “The city will do what it can,” Council member Steve Harvey pledged, adding, “We don’t hold the strings on this.” About size of a house lot, the Indian Cemetery is just outside the city limits at the intersection of S. Canyon Way and Iowa Hill Road. The city has no jurisdiction over the cemetery. Rob Haswell, Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery’s aide, told the Record Wednesday morning that Colfax’s cemetery district is an independent entity. “We [the county] don’t really have any jurisdiction at all.” Cemetery District Manager Ballenger responded that the county counsel’s office advised the district to lock the cemetery because the liability risk was too high. He said the tribe had clear-cut about 10 Ponderosa pines without consulting the district. Additionally, hand-digging graves and bonfires are considered dangerous activities at the cemetery. “We’re lucky nobody’s been hurt,” he said, explaining the district could not afford to be sued again. He emphasized he is personally sympathetic to the tribe’s plight. Apparently, there is a $3,000 mall claims court decision against the district for a tree that blew down in a storm and damaged a neighbor’s fence. Ballenger said that incident made the district realize it could not afford the risk exposure. County counsel’s advice to the district was to sell the property. Haswell indicated Wednesday he was unable to find evidence the county counsel’s office had — or would — advise the district about how to handle the liability issue. Meanwhile, Ballenger stated the district offered to sell the property — appraised at $80,000 to $100,000 — to the tribe for $37,000. Ballenger asserted the Auburn Indian Community is in the process of buying the property. However, the Record was unable to confirm this information as of press time. In her presentation Tuesday night, Marks noted her tribe could not afford to buy the cemetery. She acknowledged that some members of the Auburn tribe are buried there, but she said the Colfax-Todds Valley tribe wants to own their ancestral burial ground. Tuesday night, community members Robbie Robinson and Elan Vitkoff both spoke out in support of the tribe. Vitkoff announced she was organizing a community meeting with the tribe at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 7 at the old Colfax Pharmacy building, 30 N. Main St. Mayor Suzanne Roberts explained that, as much as the council members wanted to, they legally could not vote on a resolution of support since the issue was not an action item on the agenda.

    Sacramento Bee, 5-26-2009 -
    Little Peace for Colfax Indian Cemetery - Suit Raises Access, Ownership Issues

    When a tree falls in the Colfax Indian Cemetery, who hears it? Kathy Keck and her dogs, cats, goats and horses did when one of the cemetery's giant Ponderosa pines crushed part of her fence one stormy February night in 2007. So began a controversy that closed the cemetery where local chiefs are buried and raised an outcry from area Indians who claim their religious freedom is being violated. Keck, whose family has lived in harmony with the cemetery and the Maidu, Miwok and Nisenan who have used it since the 1800s, sued in small claims court and won $3,000 from the Colfax Cemetery District. Until Keck's suit, both the district and the Colfax Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe believed the Indians owned the cemetery. The Indians still think so, but the district had to pay off Keck's lawsuit, forcing it to lock the cemetery in January because it had no liability insurance and couldn't afford to pay off any more lawsuits. "It's a story about a clash of culture," said Helen Wayland of the all-volunteer Colfax Cemetery District board. Fellow board member John Dugan said he feels like he's been demonized as "the hated white man." Dugan, a retired auto parts manager for a Bay Area Cadillac dealership, rues the day he volunteered for the cemetery board, which he calls "the most thankless job I've ever done in my life." The district recently bought month-to-month insurance and unlocked the cemetery gate May 14, but the conditions only inflamed the CTVC tribe, the unrecognized band of Indians who are the primary users of the burial ground. To insure the property, the district had to agree graves could no longer be dug by hand, and no alcohol would be allowed on the grounds. If the Indians don't sign a letter agreeing to these conditions, the locks will have to go back on until somebody else buys the half-acre cemetery for $37,000. Steve Prout, vice chairman of the 300-member tribe, nearly wept after reading the conditions next to his father's grave last Wednesday. "We don't even drink, we don't allow that," he said. Prout and other members are hurt more by the ban on traditional Indian burials. Prout and his family hand-dug his mother Lola Prout's grave in December 2007, just before the tree fell on it. "It's heartbreaking to lose our traditions," said Judy Marks. "We have -- ever since anyone can remember -- hand-dug graves. That's not just our tribe but all native tribes." Wayland said the ban on alcohol and hand-dug graves applies to all Colfax cemeteries. "We have the same guidelines for our cemetery where the white people are buried," she said. "We don't allow parties out there with alcohol on the premises, and digging graves by hand is against state law." Wayland, who has lived in Colfax since 1955 and belongs to the Colfax Historical Society, recognizes the native burial ground's long history. "Since the late 1800s, the Indians have pretty much had free rein and done their own burials and their own digging," she said. "It's almost full." The tribe, like dozens of other bands of landless California Indians, was given a rancheria. It was located on Highway 174 along the Bear River, but the tribe never occupied it because it sits on a cliff. "It was undesirable back then and it's probably worse now," said Marks. "Because we never lived on it, the property was sold and we lost our federal recognition when the federal government terminated the rancheria in the 1960s." The tribe, which has traced its local ancestry back to the Gold Rush, has been working on federal recognition for eight years, Marks said. But the tribe, whose members are scattered throughout the foothills, has no money for lawyers, let alone the $37,000 the district is asking for the cemetery, Prout said. Dugan said the district -- which was deeded the Indian cemetery in 1961 -- can't just give the land to the Indians for free. The recession has taken its toll on the cemetery business. "People can't afford to die -- we've had one full burial this year," he said. More people are opting for cremation, given the average $2,000 price of a full burial, said cemetery manager Craig Ballenger. The district board would love to see the tribe -- or another tribe -- take ownership and responsibility for the half-acre plot dotted with yellow California poppies. Then the Indians could bury their dead however they saw fit, Dugan said. "We want the Indians to own the property and be gone and done with it." "We're not selling it to developers from Reno," added Ballenger. The United Auburn Indian Community -- which operates Thunder Valley Casino -- also has ancestors buried there and is considering buying the property, said spokesman Doug Elmets. "We're in discussions with the cemetery district to possibly assist in preserving the cemetery for Native Americans who may be buried there in the future," Elmets said. "It's yet to be defined what roles the district and the tribes will play." The Colfax-area tribe has cut down several other giant Ponderosa pines in the cemetery to minimize the liability, said Prout. The 100-foot-tall tree with the 6-foot base that crushed Kathy Keck's fence also fell on the graves of Prout's mother and brother. Prout's nephew, Clyde Prout, was finally able to get into the cemetery on his 18th birthday, so he could honor the memory of his mom, who died when he was about 6 years old. The need to preserve the native cemetery has taken on a sense of urgency in recent years as elders are stricken with diabetes and heart problems, "which often are hand-in-hand with native peoples," Marks said. Keck, who has lived across the street for 50 years, was friends with Prout's mother and gave the Indians a large military flag to put in the cemetery. She said the Indians have always dug their graves by hand except for one chief from Foresthill whose grave was dug by a backhoe last year. Keck makes no apologies for her lawsuit. "If that tree fell the other way they'd have been after me like a duck on a June bug," she said.

    Colfax Record, 5-6-2010 -
    Deadline Set for Sale of Indian Cemetery – Tribe Given Until August 1 to Obtain Funds

    The Colfax Cemetery District board has set a deadline of Aug. 1 to resolve ownership of the Colfax Indian Cemetery. Members of the Colfax-Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe have been attempting to acquire the property since last spring’s controversial decision to lock the gates to the burial grounds on So. Canyon Way near Iowa Hill Road. After settling a lawsuit over property damage caused by a tree falling into a residence next to the property, the cemetery board realized it could not afford liability insurance on the land and closed it to the public. Angry feelings ran high for several months until the board obtained insurance and unlocked the gates in time for 2009 Memorial Day ceremonies. Since then, tempers have cooled between the district and the tribe, but the issue remains unresolved. The board has offered to sell the land to the tribe for $30,000. Several reported deals to purchase the cemetery have fallen through, but increasingly, the district and tribe are working together to find a common solution. “We want the tribe to have the cemetery, but we can’t give it away,” board member John Dugan said in an earlier interview. As he explained at the April 29 meeting, the law requires the district to sell the property to a legal entity. Loomis resident Judy Marks, a member of the tribe, confirmed the existence of the Todds Valley Miwok Maidu Cultural Foundation, a non-profit corporation that may be able to enter into a purchase agreement. Marks said the tribe is working with the LaPena Law Corp. of Sacramento to develop a plan for transfer of ownership. At last week’s meeting, Dugan offered Marks a number of documents, including information on how the tribe could obtain a $30,000 “minority small business loan.” Dugan’s plan suggested that if 50 members of the 300-member tribe each pledged $10 a month for five years, the purchase could be completed. Trustee terms in office have expired. The terms of the three cemetery district trustees expired on May 1. However, the three trustees – John Dugan, Helen Wayland and Charles Gray – are expected to remain in office until the Placer County Board of Supervisors either reappoints or replaces them. Dugan and Wayland hinted they might not accept reappointment. Gray, who is recovering from triple bypass heart surgery, was not available for comment. Pat Mahlberg, field representative for Placer County District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, said Tuesday there are currently six applications on file for appointment to the board and applications are still being accepted. An applicant must live within the cemetery district boundaries. The Bear and American rivers delineate the east and west boundaries, while the north and south boundaries range from Alpine Meadows to Heather Glen. Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery will submit the proposed board members to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Applications can be obtained from the Clerk of the Placer County Board of Supervisors, 175 Fulweiler Ave. in Auburn. Call 889-4020 for more information.


    Sacramento Bee, 6-19-1987 -
    Getting Out From Under a Cemetery - Owner Can’t Sell It, Can’t Give It Away

    Rod Delmue can't sell off a 60-acre parcel he owns here because it contains the local cemetery. His options are to go into the private cemetery business or give the historic, 130-year-old cemetery away. Delmue has told officials he doesn't want to be in the burial business, and there's nobody to give the graveyard to. So this week he carried his Catch-22 to the Placer County Board of Zoning Appeals. The matter couldn't be untangled in an hour-long discussion, and it was continued to July 15. The cemetery, which has only eight to 10 burials per year, is the stumbling block in Delmue's plan to split the 60-acre parcel four ways. The 2.5-acre cemetery, dating from the 1850s, would be part of one of the newly created lots. Delmue only recently bought the land for resale, but under county Planning Commission conditions that he appealed Wednesday, he must either operate a private memorial park or donate the grave sites to a cemetery district. Although preliminary talks are under way to form one, there's no such district in the Foresthill area. The cemetery is on a hillside on the east edge of this unincorporated community of 4,000. According to an Auburn mortician, Foresthill families historically have been able to claim burial plots of their choosing at no cost -- so long as the site had no previous occupants: Although there are some head stones and other markers, many of the graves date back more than a century and there are no records to refer to. "It's been going since the 1850s, and it's pretty darn full,'' said Foresthill resident George Grant. "It is sort of a non-cemetery cemetery,'' said Planning Department spokesman Dean Prigmore. "It does not exist under state law, but it is there.'' "We do have a unique situation. It is neither a private nor a public cemetery,'' added Lyle Rose, deputy county counsel. And Rose told the zoning board that the matter may get even more complicated for Delmue: The cemetery is almost full, and in order to donate it, Delmue would have to add more property so it could accommodate more burials. Gerda Percival, a member of the appeals board, said Foresthill's is one of many old cemeteries maintained by volunteers. "This has been a terrible problem for Mr. Delmue. I believe he is caught in the absolute Catch-22 situation.'' Legal counsel Rose said cemetery records are virtually non-existent. "There have been people buried there within the last month. There are no plots and no records that identify who may be there. It's a guess,'' Rose said. Rose suggested Delmue may be able to proceed by submitting a new map with four parcels and a so-called "remainder'' containing the cemetery. The remainder couldn't be sold but might be deeded to a cemetery district. For Delmue, a fourth-generation Foresthill resident whose father is buried in the cemetery, his efforts to get what he hoped would be normal approval have turned into a frustrating ordeal. He started dealing with the county Planning Commission in January, and said Thursday the delays are "costing us thousands of dollars a month'' because he must keep up the payments but still cannot sell the lots. "We're just frustrated beyond what we could have imagined.'' Delmue said he is working on a plan that would include the four-way split with the cemetery separate, as recommended by Rose. A committee headed by George Grant is working to determine the feasibility of a cemetery district. He said any election to form a district would be at least a year away. Other cemeteries in the area include the Foresthill Catholic Cemetery and graveyards at Spring Garden, Todd Valley, Michigan Bluff and Yankee Jim's. "There's lots of those throughout the foothills, and from Alturas to Imperial,'' said John Gill, executive officer of the State Cemetery Board in Sacramento. He said his board doesn't govern cemeteries of less than 10 acres or those operated by public agencies, districts or religious groups. By Gill's estimate, there are 2,000 cemeteries in California. About 10 per cent of those, with 10 or more burials per year, are considered active, he said.


    Sacramento Bee, 9-17-1988 -
    Cemetery Is Short of Space, Records

    The unmarked graves of Lincoln Cemetery tell no tales, so officials are relying on the living to help fill in the holes about who's buried where. Placer County Cemetery District No. 1, headquartered in Lincoln, has a dual problem:  Burial records were destroyed by a fire in the 1950s, and the main cemetery in Lincoln is running out of room. The 11-acre Lincoln Cemetery will use up its space in six to eight years, and perhaps sooner if the city of 6,225 continues its rapid growth. But District Superintendent Roger N. Jerez just isn't sure how much undisturbed soil is left. It is a matter of probing unmarked ground and prodding the public to help piece together the puzzle. "In certain areas we have to probe more to see if there are graves,'' he said. "I'd say there are 25 to 30 percent of the graves that are unmarked.'' The district's three cemeteries -- Lincoln, Sheridan and rural Manzanita -- hold an estimated 7,000 or 8,000 graves, Jerez said. While the latter two still have ample space, the majority of district residents are Lincolnites who want to be buried in their hometown, he said. "The records we'll never get back. And a lot of old folks that do know just never make it over here to tell us,'' Jerez said as he sat at his desk in the district's new office at the Lincoln Cemetery  "It's a shame because we're just losing history here. A big chunk of Lincoln's past is missing,” he said. "Anything from the late 1950s I have. Prior to that, it's hit and miss.'' Lost are names of people originally buried in unmarked graves or beneath wooden placards. "We probably have more space here than we think we do; we just have to know for sure,'' said Melinda Landrith, the district's secretary-bookkeeper. ''You have to probe to make sure. If we do hit something we have to leave it alone and go to another spot. With the growth that's occurring, we don't know how fast we are going to fill up,'' Landrith said. Manzanita has a lot of ranch hands who were buried in the family plots of the ranchers, but there are no markers,'' she said. “A lot of the old-timers are gone. There's not a lot of people left to say somebody's buried right here,'' she said as she meandered through 10-acre Manzanita Cemetery. Manzanita, on a knoll in pastureland north of Lincoln, looks like a gold rush-era Boot Hill. It dates from the 1850s, when the Lincoln area lured gold- seeking immigrants. The six-acre cemetery for the community of Sheridan, located a few miles to the northwest, has a section containing the graves of Russian immigrants and succeeding generations. "This area was a melting pot because of the mining, but not all of the people mined. They had stores and made their living that way,'' Landrith said. She has done extensive independent research on the cemeteries of the Sierra Nevada foothills. She and her partner in research, Anita DuVall, have compiled data from the headstones of 300 cemeteries from Tuolumne County to Plumas County. "I have been chased out of cemeteries by pot farmers, and I have been chased out by gold miners with a gun,'' Landrith said of some of her backwoods excursions. In places where burial records are gone, the research narrows down to the grave marker. "There's just the headstone. If there's no other record, there's nowhere else you can go,'' she said. That is the situation in the southeast sector of the Manzanita Cemetery, where large oak trees have grown up in the hard, red dirt holding some of the earliest graves. Rain, wind, sun and vandalism have taken their toll, destroying, breaking, or scattering the markers, and hindering research, she said.

    Sacramento Bee, 3-23-2009 -
    Empty Grave – Lawsuit Finds Holes in Historical Record - Father's Body Missing at Lincoln Cemetery – Family Frustrated That Last Wish of Mother, 105, Can’t Be Fulfilled

    A body recently discovered missing from a Placer County cemetery has raised questions over the whereabouts of others buried there more than 100 years ago. "We don't know where he is," said Mario Farinha, the 75-year-old son of Frank Farinha, who died Dec. 3, 1947, and was buried at the Lincoln Cemetery. The father's remains were discovered missing in late January when family members attempted to disinter the body from the 11-acre Lincoln graveyard. They want to bury him next to his wife in a cemetery in Auburn. Mary Farinha's last wish was to be buried next to her husband at the Lincoln Cemetery, but cemetery officials said that because of missing burial records, the adjacent plot was sold to another woman. The mix-ups have sparked a lawsuit in Placer Superior Court, focusing attention on record-keeping irregularities at historical cemeteries. Thinking that the other woman had been buried over Frank Farinha, whose 62-year-old double tombstone had been moved slightly, the family had the woman's grave opened. Another later excavation and ground probing also yielded no sign of Frank Farinha, who the family says was buried in a metal coffin. "To watch them digging and then to find there wasn't anything there was traumatic," said the 70-year-old daughter, Teresa Farinha, her eyes welling with tears as she talked about the diggings in January and February witnessed by at least 15 people, including an anthropologist and a mortician. Named as defendants in the legal action are the Lincoln Cemetery and the Placer County Cemetery District No. 1, the agency that runs the public memorial park. Placer County, which appoints the agency's five trustees, also is named, but attorneys for the county contend the cemetery district operates independently. Robert William Hunt, the Roseville attorney who represents the Lincoln cemetery district, along with 25 other cemeteries in the region, said records exist for Frank Farinha's plot, but no documents or receipts have been found showing a burial site was purchased for his wife. Various cemetery records over the years, including large ledgers filled with pages of hand-drawn plots and scribbled names, are missing, Hunt said. They are believed lost in a fire or misplaced in a transfer of ownership, he said. According to local historian Jerry Logan, the Lincoln Cemetery was established in 1867. From the beginning, the site was operated by six organizations, including the Masons, the Odd Fellows, and a Catholic church that oversaw a one-acre parcel called the Catholic section. "There was not much record keeping done by the organizations," said Logan, a former Placer County cemetery district trustee. The Catholic section, where Frank Farinha was buried, now holds the remains of about 600 Catholics. In 1954, the Catholic section was transferred to Placer County, both sides in the lawsuit agree. "When that transfer took place, there was no transfer of documents," Hunt said. "Over the years, we have attempted to create some records, and in the intervening years, this is the first problem we have encountered," Hunt said of the Farinha suit. The cemetery's recently retired senior manager, Sandra Calise, found a record that shows a plot was sold for Frank Farinha, but other questions remain. "It is not known when the plot book was received by the church or whether it was created after the transfer," Calise said in a declaration contained in the suit. Ralph E. Laird, the Farinha family's attorney, said the Farinha tombstone has been in the graveyard for six decades. It is strong evidence that supports the family's contentions that both the father and mother would be buried there, Laird claims. The double headstone was inscribed with the family name on top, the father's name on the left side and a blank space on the right for the mother's. "They considered it bad luck to put someone's name on a headstone if they weren't dead," said Teresa Farinha. Bob La Perriere, an expert on historical cemeteries in the Sacramento region, said it is not uncommon to use a headstone as documentation when records of graves have been lost or damaged. "Unfortunately, poor record keeping is not unusual," La Perriere said. Lyndell Grey said her family discovered there were problems with Lincoln Cemetery records in 1998 when looking for a place for her father's ashes. "We couldn't tell where our plots began and others ended," Grey said. The questionable record keeping was particularly distressing because Grey's grandmother, Mildred Grey, was the Lincoln city clerk, whose duties included keeping cemetery records. She was clerk for 28 years, beginning in 1924. The grandmother was married to Ed Grey, a former justice of the peace then known as the unofficial "mayor of Lincoln," local historians said. "I remember when I was a girl, she would be working on the ledgers on the kitchen table," Lyndell Grey, now 62, said of her grandmother. "She would keep them at home because there was no office at the cemetery," Grey said. The Grey family handed over the ledgers to the cemetery district in 1952 when Mildred Grey retired, the younger Grey said. Hunt said there are unconfirmed reports that ledgers other than those for Catholic section were destroyed in a fire in the 1950s. Teresa Farinha said her mother, who died in January 2008 at age 105, would have wanted to get to the bottom of the mix-up. "She was a fighter, a fighter big-time," Teresa Farinha said. "Things like this are not supposed to happen."

    Lincoln News-Messenger, Tuesday, 1-18-2011
    $200,000 Payout by Lincoln Cemetery, Catholic Church in Missing Remains Case

    Frank Farinha’s body is still missing but his descendents have settled a legal dispute with the Lincoln cemetery he was buried in 64 years ago. According to terms of a settlement made public Tuesday, four Farinha family members – Terry, Ernest and Mario, of the Auburn area, and Lorraine Adams of Southern California – are being paid a total of $200,000. The Roman Catholic Church’s Northern California diocese will pay $25,000 and Placer County Cemetery District No. 1 will pay $175,000. Ralph Laird, Auburn attorney for the Farinha family, said extensive efforts were made at the cemetery to find the body of Frank Farinha, who died in 1947. “Unfortunately, they never did find the remains of Mr. Farinha and at this point, I doubt they ever will be found,” Laird said. The family sued after the death of Frank Farinha’s widow, Mary Farinha in early 2008. She had lived to be 105 and the family requested she be buried next to Frank’s plot. The cemetery refused the burial despite the fact that Frank Farinha’s grave marker in Lincoln was a double headstone, with room on one side for his wife’s name and dates of birth and death. When the cemetery said there was no record of a second plot for Mary, the family asked for Frank’s body to be exhumed so it could be placed next to Mary’s at the New Auburn Cemetery in Auburn. According to Laird, the Farinha family’s attempts to have the cemetery district exhume the body under the marker were not successful. An adjacent vault for a resident buried in 2007 was opened on the premise the Farinha body rested underneath it. But nothing was found, Laird said. The cemetery district dug up adjacent plots in an attempt to find the Frank Farinha remains and also probed with sonar in other nearby locations without success, Laird said. The family sued on the grounds that Frank Farinha’s remains had been mishandled, leading to the recent six-figure settlement. The Catholic Church was the original operator of the cemetery and it was later taken over by the cemetery district. Complicating the case was the initial stance by the cemetery district that – despite the double headstone – proof was needed in the form of a receipt to show that two plots had initially been purchased. The plot next to Frank Farinha intended for Mary Farinha had been used for another burial. Mary Farinha’s daughter, Terry, eventually did find a receipt, some time after the family decided to disinter Frank Farinha’s remains for reburial in Auburn – resulting in the discovery that the remains of a man who had died in 1947 were not there. Attorneys for both the church and cemetery district could not be reached for comment.


    Sacramento Bee, Friday, 01-28-2011
    2 teens arrested in $100,000 vandalism attack on Lincoln cemetery

    An anonymous tip to Placer County Crime Stoppers has led to the arrest of two Lincoln men in connection with more than $100,000 in damage to the Manzanita Cemetery near Lincoln in November. The Placer County Sheriff's Department said that Cody Lee Piland and Steven Robert Warn III, both 19, have been arrested and are cooperating with detectives in the ongoing investigation of a crime spree in major damages to the cemetery.An estimated 100 to 150 headstones, some more than 100 years old, were overturned, pulled out of the ground or broken into pieces. The vandalism occurred between Nov. 12 and 14. Piland and Warn were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism and conspiracy, according to a Sheriff's Department news release. Piland was arrested Jan. 19. He was released Jan. 24 on $50,000 bail and is on electronic monitoring, officials reported. Warn was arrested today and booked at Placer County Jail. Detectives requested and were granted a bail enhancement for Warn. His bail is set at $50,000.

    Lincoln News-Messenger, Wednesday, 11-17-2010
    Manzanita Cemetery Vandalized

    More than 150 gravesites at Manzanita Cemetery were vandalized this week. Headstones, fences, and flower vases were knocked over and several stones were broken. Some of the headstones date back to the 1870s. The damage was discovered Sunday afternoon by Michael Lane, according to Lane’s sister, Ann Lewis. “He got there, and as soon as he pulled up, he could see it (the damage),” Lewis said. Peter Barmettler, the Placer County Cemetery District One manager, said the damage ”is believed to have happened Saturday night” because Lane visited the cemetery Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and “everything was fine” but saw the damage at 2 p.m. Sunday. Manzanita Cemetery is near the corner of Gladding and Manzanita Roads. Barmettler estimates the damage is $100,000 and said some stones can be uprighted while others will have to be repaired. “I’m estimating 150 to 200 grave sites were damaged, and a lot of them are in the historic part of the cemetery. Some are 150 years old,” Barmettler said. Some older headstones broke into pieces, according to Barmettler. The Placer County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the vandalism, according to Barmettler, and those arrested could face up to one year in prison. “I think it’s pretty disgusting and it’s pretty thoughtless. Whoever did this had to have not thought about how the families would be affected,” Barmettler said. While cemeteries “get vandalism from time to time,” Barmettler said, “there hasn’t been vandalism to this degree at any of our cemeteries.” Crews have started cleaning up the cemetery, making small repairs and putting some grave markers back up as of Wednesday, according to Barmettler. Pat Clinton of Lincoln was at Manzanita Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon to make sure the gravesites of his family members were not harmed. “We’re fortunate that nothing happened to ours,” Clinton said. “I think it’s devastating. A lot of the old stones, I don’t think they can be repaired.” Barbara Vineyard, a cemetery trustee, said some of the first pioneers are buried at the cemetery. “I think it’s a terrible destruction of history and it’s not just history,” Vineyard said. “To me, it is a sacred place and to destroy monuments in that sacred place is unbelievable.” Lewis said her brother visits the grave of his son, Michael Lane, Jr., daily, and his headstone was damaged as well. “We have two benches out there and they weren’t able to pick them up and throw them, so they flipped them over and broke everything they could,” Lewis said. The vandals gouged her nephew’s headstone, according to Lewis. “I’m in shock right now,” Lewis said. “I can’t believe somebody would be that hateful and mean and uncaring.” Anyone with information and tips about who committed the vandalism are urged to call 1 (800) 78-CRIME or go online to wetip.com to leave an anonymous tip.

    Sacramento Bee, 11-10-1994 -
    Oldest Cemetery Quiet Reminder of Past

    Manzanita Cemetery is the oldest in Placer County Cemetery District No. 1. Founded in 1855, its gravestones are memorials to a community as well as to the individuals who lie beneath them. The history of the farmland of northern Placer is written on the granite faces of the markers, where the passage of plagues can be gauged by the lists of dead children. A certain artistry is recorded as well, from elaborate granite curls marking a grave to the concrete tree stump and its imitation rough-hewn rope and wood sign bearing the names of the dead to the hand-carved fence surrounding the plot of a nameless family. But the burial ground is not just a historical site; plots still are being sold to the 10,000 to 15,000 people who live within the cemetery district boundaries. Only 1,000 plots remain, Talbot said. A few hundred more are available at the district's other two cemeteries in Lincoln and Sheridan. Land has not been reserved for cemeteries in new developments in South Lincoln, such as Twelve Bridges, where as many as 38,000 people are expected to live and, perhaps, die. "We've got the baby boomers coming of age to get buried," said Dave Talbot, manager of grounds for the district. "There's a bunch of us." "Most people don't like to think about the fact that they will be in a cemetery," said district board member Barbara Vineyard, noting the gaps between supply and potential demand for grave sites.


    Sacramento Bee, 1-28-1993
    Newcastle Cemetery Rests in Peace

    If you've got a question about cemeteries, ask Gene Gieck. "You're not inclined to see cemeteries," said Gieck, a Rocklin resident who serves as a trustee on the Newcastle, Rocklin, Gold Hill Cemetery District. "I see them all the time wherever I go. If you drive a Ford you notice other Fords," added Gieck, explaining that as a cemetery district trustee he notices gravesites. The usual public profile for the five-member cemetery district board is as low as the gravestones that dot the agency's four cemeteries, although a controversy hit the neighboring Roseville Cemetery District last year. Board members in Roseville a separate agency from the Newcastle-Rocklin district fired a supervisor in a dispute some saw as mostly local politics. The discord was the first introduction for many people to the property-tax supported agencies, whose members are appointed by the county Board of Supervisors. More typically, the cemetery districts operate as quietly as a graveside burial ceremony, although even those don't always go to form. At the Newcastle Cemetery, a funeral for a gypsy included a family member chopping off a chicken head as part of the ceremony. A biker's burial was marked by sprinkling whiskey over the casket. Normally, however, Newcastle and the other cemeteries operate with the decorum associated with such places. Nearly 200 people are buried yearly, most at the hillside Newcastle cemetery. Ophir, added to the district four years ago, hasn't had a burial since 1902. The Gold Hill Cemetery averages about one burial a year. The largest of four cemeteries in the Newcastle-Rocklin-Gold Hill Cemetery District, Newcastle could persuade a just-scatter-my-ashes-when-I'm-gone type that maybe a burial plot and gravestone really is a proper final resting place. "It's a beautiful cemetery," said cemetery district trustee Gordon Takemoto of Loomis. Some residents of Rocklin choose burial at the Newcastle site. "People like the hillside," said Linda Johnson, district secretary. On a January morning, amid the rolling green foothills that surround the grounds, it's easy to understand why some gravesites at the century-old cemetery are visited daily by family members. "We're glad to have them come out," Bill Emerson, district superintendent, said. Some bring music, some lunch to eat beside the graves. "You never get over it, because they're gone," Emerson said of losing loved ones. For visitors to the cemetery, off Taylor Road a mile from downtown Newcastle, "we just try to make it as pleasant for them as possible." Emerson, 37, who began working at the district as a groundskeeper, moved up to foreman and now as superintendent, oversees the four cemeteries in the district: Newcastle; a Rocklin cemetery on Kanasto Street; one in Gold Hill, between Newcastle and Lincoln; and one in Ophir, off Boot Hill Lane. "Two wet ones and two dry ones," said Gieck referring to water supplies available to the cemetery sites. The older, rarely used cemeteries lack water supplies. More than two dozen people a day may visit the cemeteries, where each gravestone is its own story. "Born 1925, Died 1925," reads one in Newcastle. "To the memory of my husband," reads another marking the death of a Norway native who died in 1880 at the age of 52. "Sleep in Jesus' blessed sleep, from which none ever wake to weep." A 1922 Civil War Memorial, dedicated to the patriotism of Union soldiers, is at the Newcastle Cemetery, which is also the burial spot for many Japanese-Americans. The Placer Buddhist Church often holds burial ceremonies at the cemetery. Residence within the district's boundaries ensures the right to burial at the local cemeteries. Former residents can also be laid to rest there as long as a relative is buried at the cemetery. Cemeteries have their own seasonal rhythms. Summertime when some elderly succumb to the heat and flu season are peak burial times. Residential development in the foothills may have slowed, but the Newcastle Cemetery is expanding, adding 20 acres. Trustee Takemoto said officials want to be sure the district doesn't get caught in a land crunch. Wait too long to acquire property, he said, and "you won't be able to find it when the time comes."

    Sacramento Bee, 7-8-1994
    $1,000 for Return of 2 Cannons

    The people of Placer County want their cannons back - and they are willing to pay a $1,000 reward for the guns' return. Thieves sneaked into the Newcastle Cemetery in April and stole two cannons from near a veterans’ memorial. The offer of a reward has produced no clues yet. Detective Mike Thompson of the Placer County Sheriff's Department said the cannons were stolen during the night of April 13-14. The theft was discovered in the morning, said John Marquis, foreman for the Newcastle-Rocklin- Gold Hill Cemetery District. "Somebody during the night, when the gates were locked, knocked out the concrete around the cannons with a sledgehammer or something," he said. The two cannons are believed to have been used in the Civil War, Marquis said. They were donated when the veterans’ planter was built in February 1922. The identical 1860s vintage cannons weighed about 100 pounds each and were worth $3,000 apiece, Thompson said. The 28-inch-long bronze cannons have 4-inch-diameter barrels and are marked "U.S. 198. They were solid brass or bronze, so it would take a couple of good-sized guys to carry them away," Marquis said. "There was no other vandalism. They just came in and took the cannons, so they knew what they were coming for." The cemetery district publicized the offer of a $1,000 reward in the local papers, but got no information, Marquis said. The offer did inspire Dave Richardson to put up three signs on his property along Interstate 80 between Auburn and Roseville. "It's nothing more than a blatant attempt to arouse community interest," Richardson said. "I wanted people to keep their eyes peeled for two loose cannons." Richardson said that his great-grandfather, George D. Kellogg, was a captain of the 23rd Regiment of the Wisconsin infantry during the Civil War. "I know (the cannons) were set there by Civil War survivors in honor of the Grand Army of the Republic," Richardson said. "My part is just to ensure that the desecraters don't blot out the real heroes." He established a "monument account" at the Newcastle branch of the Placer Savings. "We don't have any clues," Detective Thompson said. "It makes me mad. I am a Vietnam veteran, so it's near and dear to me." Anyone with information about the missing cannons is asked to call" 624-2760.


    Sacramento Bee, 10-13-1987
    Tribute to Ophir Pioneers

    Ophir, once one of the liveliest of Placer County communities, will celebrate its quiet cemetery Saturday. A 10:30 a.m. ceremony is scheduled on Boot Hill Lane to rededicate the once-forgotten but now spruced-up site to the pioneers of the Gold Rush town that, in 1852, was Placer County's biggest settlement. "So many people in the Ophir area lived within a quarter of a mile of it and didn't know there was a cemetery there,'' said Slim Goodall, a retired Ophir resident who spent three years hacking away at the brush and weeds that hid the hillside site above Auburn Ravine Creek. Goodall believes about 70 people are buried in the cemetery. The first burial was sometime around 1850; the last interment occurred about 1905. By then, cemeteries with better public access had been established in nearby Auburn, Newcastle, and Gold Hill. “There was no road here into the place, except across a ranch,'' Goodall said. "If you took anybody in there, you had to carry the coffin about 250 yards. And the people who owned it once upon a time didn't want anybody putting footprints on their soil.'' The 2.5-acre site once was surrounded by orchards, and neighbors apparently found the abandoned cemetery a convenient place to dump unwanted granite. Goodall, in his cleanup effort, didn't want it either, and he had an estimated 200 tons of rock hauled away, saving only enough for some masonry gateposts. Ophir, with 500 registered voters, ranked as Placer's biggest town in the early years of the Gold Rush. Its hills later were covered with orchards. Now its population of several hundred lives mostly on small-acreage, rural ranchettes. The old graveyard, to be rededicated Saturday as Ophir Community Cemetery, doesn't have any green lawns. Goodall expects the close-cropped dry weeds to stay that way. "The old cemetery never had any water on it. We want it to be like it was in 1850,'' he said. On his first visit, he found the cemetery overgrown with vines, poison oak and scrawny trees. Now, it has a park-like look with larger oaks shading the dozen tombstones he repaired and placed in concrete. With county financial assistance, a fence and a small, paved parking area were added. "A cemetery is a cemetery, no matter whether it's Ophir or Sacramento or Arlington,'' Goodall said. "The people buried there are human beings. The people are pioneers. I think it's something that should be respected.''


    Sacramento Bee, 8-13-1985
    Placer Pioneers Again Face Move by the Road

    AUBURN - The forgotten pioneers of Placer County history are buried in a pauper's cemetery near Elm Street, where only two of an estimated 1,500 graves are marked by wooden headstones. Transients sleep in the sloping, litter-strewn field, apparently unaware it is a graveyard filled with another generation of the poor and the homeless. No one has been buried in the old graveyard since the late 1930s. But once again, the road that pioneers followed to a new future more than a century ago will move some of the county's early settlers. Stretches of Interstate 80, the modern successor to the wagon trail that crossed Donner Summit, will be widened during the next 18 months. The freeway will cut a swatch from the old cemetery where the county once buried its paupers. No one knows how many people are buried in the cemetery. Incomplete records list at least 1,200 burials from the 1860s to 1915, but historians say the county continued burying its poor there for at least another 20 years. Other information, including a survey of depressions in the earth, put the number of graves closer to 1,500. A small number of remains were moved from the old cemetery in 1946, when Interstate 80 was first built. Officials estimate they must relocate the remains of 300 persons to the New Auburn District Cemetery, two miles away. The work, to begin next month, will be the largest relocation of graves in the history of the state Department of Transportation. "We're trying to play this low-key, ' said Don MacIvor, Caltrans right-of-way agent, who added that the agency avoids the relocation of gravesites.  'We don't want to disturb anybody." He said he has received only one call from a person who had a relative buried in the cemetery, and that caller was in favor of the move. Most of the information about people buried in the old cemetery comes from the old county hospital, which was located next to the cemetery until the hospital closed in 1975. Before the hospital was built, a private doctor's office, a clinic, and the county poor farm operated on the same site. "It used to be a poor farm, where people used to live (because they) had no place else to go," said Dutch Thompson, Placer County health director and former hospital administrator. "They were just misplaced transients. You would call them 'homeless' now." The records show most of the people in the graveyard were men, most of them immigrants. Many died of consumption; others were hanged, shot or even run over by trains. "The people who died in the hospital, if they had no funds or no family, were buried there," said Thompson. "If you looked at the list of the causes of death, you might see, 'laid down on the railroad track' or 'shot in a bar.' " A sweep of the grounds with a metal detector revealed large masses of metal, probably four or five crypts, said MacIvor. The rest of the remains were probably buried in simple wooden caskets or cloth shrouds, he said. John Marin, Placer County facility manager, said he understood many wooden grave markers had been destroyed by grass fires. State law requires Caltrans to place markers at the new gravesites, identifying the remains whenever possible. Hospital records identify the plot where each person was buried, but no plot map of the cemetery has surfaced. MacIvor said counties sometimes placed metal identification tags in paupers' graves, and he hopes that practice was followed by Placer County. "If there is identification, we'll put a marker on each one," he said. "Otherwise, we may just have to put up one marker that says, 'These are the remains of 300 Placer County pioneers.' . . . We have no idea what we're going to find." Copies of cemetery records have been turned over to the Placer County Genealogical Society, which is compiling a directory listing where people are buried in all the county's cemeteries, said Linda Nelson, the society's treasurer. MacIvor said four companies that have expertise in moving human remains have approached Caltrans about doing the work. The state probably will award the contract later this month. Relocation should take two months and cost about $300,000, he said. Work on widening Interstate 80 to three lanes and building two new interchanges is expected to begin in early 1986. The project is expected to take 18 months and cost $50 million.

    Sacramento Bee, 2-7-1988
    Lost Connection – He Can’t Find his Grandfather’s Grave

    About seven years ago, Willis Dunston-Korff got his first sense of the grandfather he never knew when he visited the old Placer County cemetery in Auburn. He traced William Dunston, a horse wrangler who was penniless and estranged from his family when he died in 1935, to the pauper's cemetery next to what had once been the county hospital. "Even just sitting there, I could feel history all around me, my grandfather and the other people who lived in his day,'' said Dunston-Korff, a 64-year-old prospector who grew up in Placer County and now lives in a remote area of British Columbia. But when he returned last week, he found the cemetery partly bulldozed, the worn picket fence knocked over, and the leavings of transients strewn among the cemetery's unmarked graves. And now Dunston-Korff isn't sure where his grandfather is. Two years ago, the state Department of Transportation moved the remains of 268 people to make way for the widening of Interstate 80. About 1,300 graves were not disturbed. The graves have not been marked since a grass fire burned the wooden stakes many years ago. No one knows whose remains were moved or whose were left undisturbed. Dunston-Korff said it is likely that his grandfather's remains are still in the old cemetery. He was told that the graves that were dug up were in an older section, and his grandfather was one of the later burials. The remains were placed in individual wooden boxes, which were, in turn, buried in vaults at the New Auburn Cemetery across town. The relocated remains are marked "Unknown'' with the notation that they are "Pioneers of Placer County'' moved from the old cemetery. "They did it properly, I understand. They did it quite meticulously, and I approve of that,'' Dunston-Korff said. "He may still be here (in the pauper's cemetery), but how are you going to know?'' It is not just the uncertainty that bothers Dunston-Korff. It is also the neglect evident on the grassy hillside squeezed between the freeway and a shopping center. "It was a really beautiful little cemetery,'' Dunston-Korff said, recalling the first time he saw it. "There were no headstones, but there was nice green grass and trees . . . a nice little white picket fence around it. Now you would never know it was a cemetery.'' The sign that marked the site as a cemetery is gone, and there are bulldozer tracks across the ground. One can only guess that the depressions in the soft earth are graves. Scattered about are empty wine jugs, soup cans, and the crushed cardboard boxes that serve as mattresses in this open-air bedroom for transients. The graveyard is not part of any cemetery district, so there is no ongoing maintenance, said John Marin, facilities manager for Placer County. "We go through in the springtime with trusties from the jail and they pick up everything they can, and then we mow it,'' Marin said. "Quite frankly, we do the minimum.''  After the freeway project is completed in 1989 or 1990, Marin said he probably will recommend that the county replace the picket fence and install a metal sign identifying the cemetery. Dunston-Korff -- who was raised with the name Korff and added his grandfather's name only recently -- said he was saddened by the situation. "That's the kind of thing that kind of makes you sad, eh? That they run big equipment over it. It doesn't say much for our government, what happens to you when you're gone. I hear the Indians complaining all the time because their cemeteries are being flooded or bulldozed. Now I know how they feel.''


    Sacramento Bee, 7-7-1995
    Rocklin Cemetery a Link to City’s Past

    Rocklin's past comes to life in the Rocklin City Cemetery. Community leaders, a slain marshal and just regular folks are buried in the city's resting spot, which was established in 1864. Members of the same ethnic groups are buried together, shedding light on early settlers' origins. Many left Finland, Ireland, Spain and Japan to live - and die - in Rocklin. "It's a wonderful little snapshot on how people lived their lives," said Lani Howes, a member of the local historical society and leader of its cemetery committee. "You can tell people worked hard. Life wasn't easy. People died of diseases that are curable today. They died of accidents, quite a few related to work alls, struck by trains, wagons. From the 1920s on, you start to see car accidents." To help visitors, members of the Rocklin Historical Society put together a self-guided tour brochure of the cemetery detailing notable people and interesting old monuments. It points out the final resting place of Sam Renaldi, a marshal killed in 1914 in a shootout with a saloon owner. "They both drew their pistols and shot at each other. Sam was only 26 years old," said Marie Huson, member of the City Council and the historical society. A child was the first to be buried in the cemetery off Rocklin Road, Howes said. Olive Van Treese, the 4-year-old daughter of Daniel and Rebecca Van Treese, died in 1864. Peter A. Sonne, a native of Denmark, rests beside his wife, Josephine, who was born in Finland. The Sonnes' unusual marker in the shape of a tree trunk is referred to by Howes and Huson as the "tree of life" with flowers at the top. Nearby, Sierra white granite forms a border around the plot dedicated to the Alexson family. Names such as "Hjalmar John" remind visitors of the Finnish heritage of the Alexson family. Most Finnish families were involved in one of Rocklin's 63 granite quarries, Howes said. Spanish and Asian families became ranchers and farmers in Rocklin, she said. In the area where families with Spanish roots are buried, pots of flowering wax begonias and cyclamens grace the grave sites. In the Japanese section, rose trees shade the graves of former fruit farming families with names such as Sasaki, Nitta, and Takuma. Some who have been dead for decades - such as Juan Garcia, who died in 1954 - still are remembered by relatives who come and put flowers on their graves. "In our transient society, there are people who have roots. Family is important; roots are important. They come to honor and respect their dead," Howes said. Irish families with names such as Kelly, Dempsey and Layton tend to be buried together just as they worked together on the railroads, Howes said. Five worn wooden crosses spotted with lichen barely reveal the names of Sheehan family members, whose graves are lined up near a road. Information is known about some of those buried in the city cemetery. Founders of Rocklin - including Ira Delano Jr. and John Sweeney - are buried in the city's cemetery as well as state Assemblyman Lewis Smith and Matt Ruhkala, who established Union Granite Co. in 1904. Then there's James O'Brien, a native of Ireland who died in 1875 at the age of 43. A tall marble marker topped with carved flowers suggests an important or rich Rocklin settler, but members of the historical society are baffled. "What do we know about this man?" Howes asked. "We don't know anything about him except that somebody cared about him a lot to put up that beautiful monument."

    Sacramento Bee, 1-25-1996
    Vandals Shatter Peace of Rocklin Cemetery

    In a senseless rampage, vandals toppled and broke 19 headstones, destroyed memorabilia placed on graves and scattered flowers in the Rocklin Cemetery sometime on the night of Jan. 18. "I don't understand why these things happened," said Marie Huson, a Rocklin City Council member and community historian. "What thrill do they get out of knocking over these very, very old stones?" A Santa Claus candle left on a grave bedecked with Christmas tinsel was smashed in the roadway as the vandals circled the cemetery, randomly selecting graves to damage. "Some of the new graves we'd just done, they scattered the flowers and kicked them all over," said Bill Emerson, superintendent of the cemetery, which is located at 4090 Kannasto Street. The vandals were either numerous or very strong. The waist-high granite headstones were not easily dislodged and required a backhoe to right, said John Marquis, maintenance foreman for the district. Groundskeeper Henry Lorton, Marquis and Emerson devoted most of Friday cleaning up the mess. Huson joined them. "We have children's plots," she said. "It would break your heart to see the toys and flowers people put on their graves just thrown around. I picked things up and tried to put them back." The vandals broke in between 5 p.m. Jan. 18, when Lorton and Marquis locked the gates and left, and Friday morning, when they came to work and found the damage. The gate had been opened, a fountain pushed over and the valve left open so the area was flooded, Marquis said. Then, as the two men looked around, they saw the rest of the mess. A marker that had withstood the vagaries of wind and weather for 110 years didn't survive the casual destruction. Made of sandstone and marking the grave of a woman, "Mary Anne, wife of James H. Neely," the thin tombstone split in half. Parts of the stone shattered so pockmarks will remain, even after Marquis, Lorton, and epoxy do their work. Three tall, gray granite markers otherwise unmarked by the passage of time were discolored by their night of lying face down in the mud. The stones memorialized three members of one family, whose lives started in the East and ended in Rocklin. An inscription read "a native of California, born in 1859, died in 1878." Such incidents are uncommon in Rocklin, Marquis said. Usually empty beer cans accompany the broken sprinklers, uprooted trees, and damaged rosebushes, he said. This time, no evidence of a party was found. "We've been relatively vandalism-free," said Emerson. The last incident was three years ago, he said, when students from Sierra College ran riot, loudly enough to attract the attention of neighbors who called the police. But no one reported anything amiss at the cemetery last week, he said, so chances are slim that the culprits will be caught. "I guess they haven't had anyone destroy anything of their loved ones," Emerson said. The most notable stones damaged marked the graves of people buried before the 1920s, Huson said. "They were Irish, Finnish, Spanish, and Asian," she said. "They would have been devastated to see this. I cry my silent tears over why someone would do this.”

  • ROSEVILLE ODD FELLOWS CEMETERY Roseville Tribune and Register, 5-18-1927
    General Clean-Up at Odd Fellows Cemetery Saturday Afternoon – Project Sponsored by American Legion – Odd Fellows and Boy Scouts to Assist in Preparation for Memorial Day

    The afternoon of Saturday, May 21, has been set aside by Alyn W. Butler, Post No. 169 of the American Legion, as general clean-up day for the Odd Fellows Cemetery of Roseville. The Legion boys, who are the originators of the plan, have secured the hearty co-operation of Roseville Lodge No. 203, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which owns the cemetery. At a meeting of the Odd Fellows last Saturday night, it was decided by that organization to dig in and help the boys, and a committee from their lodge will meet tonight. The Boy Scouts of Roseville through their District Commissioner, W. H. Seaver, have also signified their willingness to help in the general clean-up, and Saturday afternoon will see a large delegation from each of the three organizations busily engaged with hoes, rakes, and shovels, giving the cemetery a general clean-up in preparation for Memorial Day exercises. The Legion boys will also put in Monday afternoon and evening, May 23, at finishing up the job, and making the graves of ex-service men especially clean and tidy. This is an annual project of the local Legion post in cleaning off the graves of their fallen comrades, and this year the suggestion was made to give the entire cemetery a general clean-up met with the hearty response of the Odd Fellows and Boy Scouts. Citizens of Roseville who so desire may also assist in the clean-up Saturday and are cordially invited to come to the cemetery and help the boys. Show your community spirit and make this a community affair. M. M. Daubin is chairman of the Legion committee working with the Odd Fellows and is assisted by Wm. R. Stephens and R. F. Brill.

    Roseville Tribune and Enterprise, Friday, 7-22-1927
    Roseville IOOF Cemetery Now Being Greatly Improved - More Than $2000 Expended For Pumping and Sprinkling Plant and Further Outlay to Come

    One of the most beautiful lawn cemeteries in Northern California," is the objective of the Roseville Lodge of Odd Fellows for their cemetery. More than $2000 has been recently expended by the lodge under direction of the cemetery superintendent, H. C. Nolte, in the sinking of a well, installation of a pumping plant, tower and tank and an underground pipe sprinkling system. This is at present in operation in the new part of the cemetery, additional land for which had been purchased by the lodge a few years ago. The pump has a capacity of 1000 gallons per minute. The sprinkling system has been in operation only a short time, but the growth of grass has worked a wonderful transformation in the appearance of the cemetery. The lodge will continue its program of improvements until the hallowed ground will be a real credit to the community. After the cemetery was purchased and laid out way back in the '50s, the lots were for many years sold at the nominal price of $10.00 each, with the understanding that the purchasers were to care for the lots themselves. This custom has long ago become obsolete in cemeteries. At the present time, the lodge is selling lots at a figure that warrants the guarantee of keeping the lots in first-class condition for all time. Further improvements to be carried out include the grading and surfacing of the road leading to the cemetery as well as additional beautification of the cemetery.


    Sacramento Bee, 9-27-2007
    Lincoln Plans Cemetery - Existing Memorial Parks Are Running Out of Room in the Fast-Growing Community

    Cemetery district trustees hope to break ground on the new Santa Clara Memorial Park as early as next spring, providing a second burial ground for the fast-growing city of Lincoln. Trustees for Placer County Cemetery District No. 1 -- which includes three existing cemeteries in Lincoln, Manzanita, and Sheridan -- plan to go to bid on the $4.3 million first phase of the project within the next 30 days, officials said. If all goes well, construction should begin in the spring and be completed the following year. "Lincoln is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States," cemetery board Chairwoman Roberta Babcock said. "Cemetery boards have to start planning at least 30 to 40 years in advance ... We started working on this maybe two years ago." For the past few years, the city has been using the seven-acre parcel as an off-leash dog park. But as Lincoln's population soared, so did the number of purchased burial plots in the cemetery on First Street. "The cemetery in Lincoln is almost full," trustee Fred Gibbs said. "... We've planned this new facility to be good for a minimum of 75 more years." Escalating construction costs for the seven-acre park caused trustees to plan on building the project in phases, starting with two acres of the parcel. Funding for the first phase will come from the sale of 20 acres on Virginiatown Road and developer impact fees, according to district Manager Sandra Calise. The first phase will include 900 burial plots and 600 cremation niches. Ultimately, the memorial park will have 3,000 burial plots, according to architect Doug James. The trend is toward more cremations, Gibbs said. "On the East Coast, it's not as big, but here in the West it's just shot up. We did 42 percent of our services (in cremations), as compared to years before, which was almost nothing. Other places throughout California have increased also." Plans for the new cemetery include a building that will serve as an office for staff and a community meeting room, a courtyard with walls containing niches for cremains and three water fountains, as well as footbridges and meandering pathways. Babcock said the board wanted to design the new cemetery to be a park, where people could go and contemplate. “We wanted this to be a place where people would feel comfortable just going there," Babcock said. "Most times you go to a cemetery and see a lone person putting flowers on a gravesite and leaving immediately. Ours will have benches and places for people to sit and enjoy the water features or the surrounding nature."

    Lincoln News Messenger, 6-16-2010
    New Cemetery Resembles Park

    With its trees and flowers scattered throughout, Lincoln’s newest cemetery looks more like a park than an eternal resting place. Santa Clara Memorial Park, located at the corner of Third and Santa Clara streets, has been open since July of last year and had an open house June 12. Peter Barmettler, the Placer County Cemetery District One manager, said the new cemetery “has a more modern feel” to accommodate Lincoln’s newer residents. Cemetery construction began in 2008. It was built “because of the growth in Lincoln and the need for a future place to bury loved ones,” Barmettler said. “We’ve sold most of the grave sites in the other ones but you have to be prepared to expand,” Rice said. The new cemetery has three-and-a-half developed acres, with four more acres that aren’t developed for future use, according to Barmettler. He described Santa Clara Memorial Park as “park-like.” “We do just the flat markers so it keeps an open-lawn look,” Barmettler said. “We have the fountains and niche area with benches where people can come sit and reflect.” The park is scattered with trees because the City Council wanted the cemetery to have trees, according to Placer County Cemetery District One chairman of the board Stephen Rice. Barmettler said the new cemetery has plenty of parking and easy access. “It’s a real modern design, very comfortable, and there’s a new office and a reception area,” Barmettler said. Santa Clara Memorial Park is one of four cemeteries in District One, the others being Lincoln, Sheridan, and Manzanita cemeteries. “They all have very unique characteristics to them,” Barmettler said. “The others are at least 150 years old.” He said Manzanita Cemetery dates back to 1850, Lincoln Cemetery goes back to 1863 and Sheridan Cemetery dates back to 1875. “Manzanita is an old pioneer cemetery, a dry cemetery because we don’t water out there because there are no sprinklers, no lawn,” Barmettler said. “There’s a certain group of people that like it that way and it has an old cowboy feel.” Sheridan is on a hillside and overlooks the foothills, according to Barmettler while Lincoln is “more traditional.”