HISTORY OF THE OGBURN – INWOOD CEMETERY


It has been more than one hundred years since the first known burial here. It is hard now to decide why this particular spot was chosen for such use. The probable answer lies in the name of the cemetery, as the Ogburns were the first permanent settlers in this locality. Their home was directly across the Noble Pass Emigrant Trail from the present cemetery.

In 1849, Charles Ogburn came from North Carolina and took up land here. The following year he returned to North Carolina where his younger brother, John Ogburn, and his friend Isaac Shouse were interested in Charles’ tales of the West and of the land he had located. On June 2, 1852 the three young men left for California arriving here in August 1853. John and Isaac remained as settlers but after three years Charles returned to his home state and never returned to California.

When Harriet Ball, young wife of W.W. Ball, died on April 30, 1860 at the Ball Mill on Mill Creek (across the present Highway 44 from Big Wheels), the family was in need of a place to lay the body. The Ogburn family may have given land which they thought belonged to them for a cemetery, or the land may have been public domain. Since this was a level strip of ground near the Emigrant Trail, close to an established home, and below the deep snow, the family may have thought it an ideal place to inter the body. Mrs. Ball’s gravestone bears the date of the earliest burial here, but There may have been burials before that time, as families had lived in the area for several years and there was no other cemetery in the immediate vicinity. This may account for the several unknown graves.

John Ogburn married Emma Jones on November 10, 1856. In 1859 A daughter, Harriet, was born to them. This small child, growing up so near the cemetery, was much interested in it from her earliest years. In those times when the country was so sparsely settled, people were much closer to one another than in this age. A man’s good luck or bad was of interest to all; most people felt they were “their brother’s keeper.” Consequently, a death in the neighborhood greatly impressed this little girl and she grew up knowing nearly every grave, whether it had a marker or not.

After fifty years after the first known burial, the people of Inwood decided more land should be added to the original. A survey Was made by Clifford Weigle, County Surveyor, and additional land was added to the north and east sides. An association was also formed to care for the cemetery. Members of the committee were Alexander Thatcher, Chairman, Minnie E. Aldridge, Secretary – Treasurer, Jefferson D. Ogburn, Morgan Albery, Arthur McMurray and Jefferson D. Aldridge, Directors. Also, at this time, a wire fence was built around the entire plot, replacing an old board fence around the original plot. Funds and labor were donated by local families.

Harriet Ogburn, meanwhile had grown and married and they had one child, John Grout. However, Mrs. Grout never lived far from the cemetery, so when a map of the grounds was proposed, Mrs. Grout was instrumental in placing all the graves on it. In 1935 this pioneer woman known to all as “Aunt Sis Grout” passed on. Her husband and son had preceded her by several years, as she left no direct heirs, her brother and sisters gave the funds she had left to replace the strip of fence on the south side of the cemetery, which was netting and barbed wire, with the present fence. Arthur McMurray was responsible for the construction.

All the members of the original association are now at rest here, with the exception of Alex Thatcher, who is buried in the family plot at Parkville Cemetery. Land for the Parkville Cemetery was donated by Mr. Thatcher’s father, Ezekiel, who homesteaded the land there in 1853.

In 1954 the Bear Creek 4-H Club made more than one hundred cement markers and placed these at the heads of all unmarked graves. The club also sowed wild flower seed in the cemetery.

In 1963 land was needed for a parking area. One quarter of an acre was purchased from the owner on the south. Clean Up Day that year was devoted to clearing trees, brush and rocks from this strip the woods rang with the sound of tractors working, chain whining and the voices and laughter of many people working together for a common cause.

The same year, when the idea of a memorial for the pioneers was suggested, everyone agreed enthusiastically. A committee was formed and many letters were written to relatives of the deceased for contributions, records and history. The response was over- whelming, all contacted were so ready to give both money and information. As one contributor far away wrote, “I am so happy to give. It makes me feel like I am a part of the community again.” This same pleasure of helping has been expressed by all. Much gratitude is due Roscoe Fillmore for the many hours of thoughts and work that he has put into the building of the memorial. He has no one buried here, he is just a “good neighbor.” Many others assisted the committee with labor as well as material.

Ogburn-Inwood Cemetery Association Directory 1964 are:
Chairman -
Walter Aldridge Shingletown, California
Sec-Treas. -
Martha Aldridge Shingletown, California
Ross Edwards Shingletown, California
Ernest Wangler Shingletown, California
Bill Sutter Cottonwood, California
John R. Shuford Redding, California

Donated by JoAnne Saysette

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