Remember my post from Mothers Day? I wrote about a drive around the area that my daughter, son-in-law, grandson and I went on and visits to 2 old cemeteries. Well, in the days after Mothers Day, I did some looking around on the Internet and found that as far as the genealogy sites go, the two cemeteries we visited are not well documented. Sure, there are lists on one site, but very few photos. And on one of the sites that I use for looking for my ancestors, there were no names, no photos or anything. (That site is called "Find a Grave".) So, I started making lists of names, dates and whatever other information I could find. Then I spent some time entering the names, dates and etc. on Find a Grave page for one of the cemeteries. About 150 names...
Then yesterday I asked my 14 year old granddaughter if she'd like to go out there and help me. My 5 year old grandson heard us talking about it and he piped up that he wanted to go too. So we piled in my car and headed out there. And now I'm going to share a few of the pictures that I took out there yesterday.
This is the view of the cemetery as you drive down the dirt road. There are no signs identifying the place as the Pennington or North Butte cemetery. Just a couple signs placed out by the road and then again back there under that big tree that tell you that the county does not want people hanging around there after dark. The urban legend around here is that there is a witch buried somewhere in the graveyard, but no one seems to know which grave is hers or even if her grave has a tombstone on it. It all depends on who you talk to. Local teenagers have come out to this cemetery at night for years now, and unfortunately some of them had no respect and spent their time damaging the old tombstones and other grave markers. Take a look at the grave in the photo to the right. The name or names are gone, so are the dates and just about anything else that might identify the poor soul who is buried there. The pieces of the large stone that the name would have been on are gone. The three small pieces that are laying there are blank. Nothing on them. So now, it's a misdemeanor to be caught in this old cemetery at night. Unfortunately, it's not exactly on a main street.. It's on a back road among the orchards at the base of the Sutter Buttes, and there is no one living close by. It's a sad place.
Some of the makers on the graves are really hard to figure out. Four or five of the graves are marked with a piece of metal on a stake that had been painted at one time with the person's name. No dates or anything else. Perhaps these were the "pauper's graves"? Unfortunately, the one in the picture to the left is the one that is the most readable now. Others have no paint left and are rusting, so there is no way of knowing who is lying below.
This being the Memorial Day weekend, I knew that most cemeteries would have flags placed at all the veteran's graves. I did not expect it here at this old cemetery. But, someone had come out and placed flags and crosses on each of the gravestones that identified a veteran. My granddaughter told me that it is good that people haven't completely forgotten these people. And I agree with her. Both of these graves are for World War I veterans. There are also a couple World War II veterans buried in this old cemetery.
By the way, this is not an abandoned cemetery. There have been burials there as recent as last year. Not many, only two, and the surnames of the two who were buried there last year were common ones among the other "residents" of the cemetery. The earliest tombstone is for Sylvanus Sanborn in 1859 and it's one of the more ornate ones there.
In wandering around the cemetery reading and photographing the tombstones it was interesting to see the ones that told where the deceased had come from. Kentucky, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey were among the places mentioned. There are even natives of Belfast, Ireland and Portugal buried here in this small, old pioneer cemetery. These weren't the "49'rs" who came to California to mine for gold. These were the people who came with their families to build a life, to build farms and grow orchards around the base of the Sutter Buttes.
Well, I guess I'll get back to uploading the photos of the tombstones to the "Find a Grave" site and reviewing the information from the other list I acquired. Some of the photos aren't matching up with the information on the list... A date wrong here, a name misspelled there. I'm making notes and will send what information I've worked out to the other sites that were my sources. Maybe someday it'll help someone who's trying to track down their family tree.
Happy Memorial Day everyone.... Remember to stop, think and give thanks to all the veterans who have served this country...Before I go, though.. I'll share a photo of a one-room school-house here in the area... They had a fire in it a couple years back, but overall the school house looks pretty good, huh?