GOLD RUSH ERA CEMETERIES IN THE SIERRA NEVADA FOOTHILLS

More photographs taken in "pioneer cemeteries" of the "Gold Country".

Click here to see the first page of old cemetery photos.



This marker has the stylized "weeping willow" image, a favorite mourning symbol in Victorian times. The inscription reads, "Sarah, Wife of Chas. H. Payne, of St. Clair Co., Ill. DIED Dec. 13, 1858, AE 37 years." The term "AE" was a common abbreviation of "Aged".




This headstone marks the grave of two brothers who died within weeks of each other. It reads, "C.O. Coy, DIED Sept. 5, 1850, AE 23 yrs. o. J.M. Coy, DIED Oct. 27, 1850, AE 20 yrs."

I can imagine the heartbreak of their parents, living somewhere on the East Coast, receiving a letter months after the fact, informing them that both their sons had perished in the gold fields of California.




This marker indicates a baby's grave, as the headstone includes a small sculpture of a lamb. The engraving reads, "In memory of Anna Doretta, Infant Daughter of Fred & Barbara Bauer. Born Feb. 13, 1903, Died July 31, 1903. Aged 5 Mos. & 18 Ds. Gone but not forgotten."




The cast iron fence around this grave is fancier than most, with curved wires and elaborate finials. The tombstone is inscribed, "Sacred to the memory of Samuel Stevenson, of Albany, N.Y., who died Nov. 30, 1854, AE 31 yrs."


Click here to see the first page of old cemetery photos.

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This is another one of my favorite images; for some reason it seems to me that it has a more "ghostly" feel than the other photos. The tombstone reads, "Ida M., Daughter of J. & C.F. Brewster, Born in Plac'lle. Oct. 25, 1862, Died Oct. 15, 1864." Sadly, little Ida died just 10 days before her 2nd birthday.




The Mahler family must have been well off; like Metta, Agnes Mahler received a fancy tombstone. This one is inscribed, "Agnes Mahler, Native of California, DIED April 12, 1885, AGED 28 Yrs., 10 Mos., 25 Days. Erected in Loving Remembrance by Her Brothers and Sister." The carved hand holds a rose; in Victorian times white roses were symbols of innocence, while rosebuds symbolized youth.




This pioneer cemetery, like many, has an air of benign neglect.




This grave has both a large marker at the head and a smaller marker at the foot, not uncommon on 19th century graves. The headstone has a carving of a female hand pointing up to a crown. I'm not sure about the symbolism; perhaps the woman was Catholic, and the crown is symbolic of the Virgin Mary.

The inscription reads, "Mary C. Forbes. Born to Thomas and Catherine Mitchell, May 5, 1847. Died, Wife of W.J. Forbes, October 16, 1870. Blessed are the pure in heart: For they shall see God." The small marker at the foot of the grave is inscribed with her initials, "M.C.F.".

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