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This cemetery is in the west part of the valley of the North Tule, in an uncultivated pasture field and west of south of the old Cramer house about a quarter of a mile, the pasture was probably used by Mrs. Cramer, hence the name Cramer Cemetery. After 20 or so years a man by the name of Main, of Plano, discovered that no one had a title to this 80 acres of pasture and bought it from the government he wanted to destroy the cemetery and did put a fence across the entering road. George Dillon, Sr., bought it from him and gave it to his daughter, Edna, when she married Frank Meddick, about 1901. They sold it to Earl Kinyon who had bought the Phariss place, just back of where the old Mt. View school house was. Mrs. Meddick gave this history and with Mr. Killian of the Cramer place helped count the graves, of which there seemed to be 35, possibly six or so more. This was one of the oldest cemeteries; and it and the Crabtree cemetery were deeded before the Hubbs or Springville cemetery was started in 1889. Geo. Dillon sold some lots; and it was generally accepted as a public cemetery. Mrs. M. A. Richardson gave the dates for her relatives, the Ainsworths, Mrs. Alice Cramer, those for the Cramers; Tilman Phariss, the Phariss, Mrs. Irene Talley Dillon; the Talley dates
This small burial plot is above Springville near the road to Racheria on the old Joseph Duncan homestead.
The Springville or Hubbs Cemetery was begun by Jas. R. Hubbs at the death of his daughter, Eva (wife of Chas. Elster) in 1889. It is described by the location of its Southwest corner thus: "The SW corner is a point 1273 ft. south and 660 ft. west of the l/4 corner of the North line of Section 2, Township 21 S. Range 29 E, M. D. B. & M. It adjoins the south side of the Tuberculosis Sanitarium of Springville. The numbering of the lots begins at this SW corner and runs east, then west, then east and then west again to Lot No. 52, in four ranges.
This small burial plot is on the ranch first owned by Shelby Pepper near the edge of the valley of Coho Creek.
This is the public cemetery of the old mining town of Tailholt or White River. The earliest known graves seem to be of those who died in the diphtheria epidemic of 1877-8. It is on the west slope of Bald Mountain, in mining days on open land. When patenting of mining claims was allowed it was included in the patent of the Bald Mountain Mining Company. The ownership of this particular piece of land went from the executive of the company to a member of the family of Lee Danner who had the White River Store, and the Danners sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Les Guthrie. So the cemetery is now within the field of a cattle ranch, but is enclosed by a fence and gate and has a road leading to it.
The name of this cemetery means that these men met a violent death of mirder, some in drunken brawls, two in quarrels between partners. A story of the cemetery can be found in the November 5, 1949 issue of the Porterville Recorder.
This family burying ground is in pasture land of young oak trees on the homestead of Sam Webb, adjoining the Flagg place (later Shackleford's, then Lee's) it is near the northern end of the valley of the North Tule and very near the river and Cramer Creek. There are 14 or more graves, one with double marker in a cobblestone enclosure, and four other stones of white marble lying flat, and one discernible wooden marker. Mrs. M. A. Richardson said that the burial place was started by her sister-in-law, Georgianne Richardson Flagg, the first wife of Jas. P. Flagg.
This is probably the oldest burial place still existing in the Porterville area. When Sardis Wilcox died in- 1861 his wife buried him on their home farm, which is just below and south of the junction of South Tule with the main Tu!e River. The flood of early 1862 washed over the grave so she had it moved several roads to higher land, and not far north of the home buildings. Their two sons, Douglas and Car!os, and Sardis' brother, Alfred, were buried there. Then Mrs. Sardis Wilcox, who had married Dr. S. (if. (George, was probably the last to be buried there, In the meantime others not of the family found a resting place there: small children of transients, Mexicans who worked on the ranch, and Indians, severe! families of whom would not leave the location to live at the Reservation, and two neighbors, according to Sardis Templeton, grandson of Sardis Wilcox the number graves is about 20 graves.
This burial plot is in the Dennison School district and near the southeast point of Battle Mpuntain. It is an eighth of a mile north and west of the old Wm. Goodin house near the Crooks gate, that is a half mile above and west of the road. Nothing marks it the field has been cultivated over the graves.
This place is also called the old Slocum place, and Jean Marson lived there. Three or four members of a Hayes or Haynes family were buried there and Paul Showalter erected a picket fence around the plot.
Three Northrup children died about 1903 or 1906 of diphtheria, and the parents made coffins, and the neighbors (Frank Meddick and others) came near the house and took them to the hillside and buried them. These were girls, as the one son in the large family grew up, it is said.
Joe Street, who owned the Griswold place, about two miles above the Tule River crossing at Milo, was buried on the hillside where his dog had been buried. He was with the Frank Meddicks when he died, and they carried out his request, as the dog had been his best friend.
The old mining town of Tailholt on White River was about as old as Visalia, which was the earliest town in the San Joaquin Valley. There must have been earlier graves at White River than those that lie on the bare western flank of Bald Mountain, but we do not know where they lie—perhaps across the canyon on Boot Hill among those who met death by violent means and thus gave the hill its name. Apparently the first graves in the present cemetery were those of victims of the dread epidemic of diphtheria in 1877. Five children of DeWitt Clinton Riggs and his wife were buried within a few days. A white picket fence was put around their graves. Other white picket fences showed to the townspeople other burials in the years that followed. However, the little girls of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Mitchell, who died of the diphtheria epidemic, were brought to the Visalia Cemetery. And on through the 1880s and 1890s while the mines were flourishing many of the dead were taken by slow- moving carriages to Visalia or Vandalia or the nearer Woody and Glenville. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that at White River there are relatively few graves for the size of the population. Bald Mountain was one of two or three mountains that contained the valuable mineral lode, so when ultimately patents could be secured for mineral land as such, the slopes of Bald Mountain became the property of the Bald Mountain Mining Company, and then when the mines ceased operation, this piece of hill-slope came into the possession of the Danners, and now is included in the Guthrie Cattle Ranch. The cemetery is enclosed by a good barbed-wire fence with a road and gate leading into it. But the white picket fences have disintegrated; and only a few white stones show the passer-by that a cemetery lies on the hillside, with one oak tree in the waving wild oat grass. The old-time families have left White River; and there is no record but memory to tell who lie in the unmarked graves. At his earlier request Les Guthrie was buried there in 1946.
One event stands out in the memory of old-timers. A family by the name of Golden was traveling into Tailholt in a large, heavy wagon, without adequate brakes. Mrs. Golden was driving; and her husband, whose eye had been in lured, was carrying the baby. Down the steep hill the wagon pressed upon the horses, and they ran away, throwing out part of the family, the baby and a little girl were killed. The miners raised money and sent for James McCabe, the Porterville undertaker, who brought the first coffin that was not made by the men in Tailholt. A miner read a burial service, and some women sang a hymn—and Mr. McCabe gave the money to the Golden family. Heretofore coffins had been made of what lumber was at hand and were covered with black cloth and lined with white; and the women of the neighborhood made the shrouds. In small rural communities there was no caretaker for the cemetery, and graves were dug without fee. Before Memorial Day the people gathered for a general cleaning up of the cemetery; and on that day all graves were decorated with flowers.
In 1941 the Frazier Valley Cemetery was included to receive the care of the Lindsay-Strathmore Public Cemetery Board, by what amounted to court-order. The older residents of Frazier Valley, who are tax-payers of the district, wanted to make sure that their cemetery would receive care after they were gone. It is a much older cemetery than the Lindsay-Strathmore. James A. Kincaid, who had settled there in 1871, gave, for the purpose, two acres on a granite ridge which seemed to him an ideal place for a cemetery. But the cemetery was started by a diphtheria epidemic in the early summer of 1882, during which the Hotchkiss, W. W. Brown, and Clint Brown families lost several children. However, Mrs. Kincaid was desirous that a young son, who had been buried in 1876 near Milo, be brought nearer home. In the burials that followed there were those also from the (Hill and Hodges families and others. The public status of the cemetery came to be recognized, and in later years the community as a whole erected a galvanized iron fence and gate. Mrs. Bessie Kincaid Gill had general charge and kept the records. In transactions it was practically a family cemetery. When it came into the Lindsay-Strathmore Public Cemetery District care, that board and caretaker inserted at each unmarked grave a little cement plaque with the initials of the person buried there. As the ground is disintegrated granite, the chief desire of the Frazier Valley people is that it be kept free from obnoxious weeds and squirrels and that the grave-stones be kept upright.
The Lindsay-Strathmore, or Olive, Cemetery had been established in 1910 by a corporation under W. W. French. In 1926 the people of these two communities bought the Olive cemetery by taking advantage of the California cemetery-tax law of 1921. By this law, subdivisions in the counties, known as cemetery districts, could be established and a tax would be levied and added to the county tax of residents of such districts. This tax is for the upkeep of any cemetery that may be included by the vote of the residents of that section or the petition of those interested, the tax is sufficient also for a pumping or other irrigation system and for salaries of the employees. The administration of a cemetery district is in the hands of a board of three members who serve without pay and are appointed for terms of four years by the County Board of Supervisors—to whom they make an annual report. The case of the Lindsay-Strathmore cemetery is unusual, because income was derived from oranges and cotton raised on portions of the cemetery tract.
The Porterville Public Cemetery District covers the southeastern part of Tulare county. The members of the district board are Henry Owen of Ducor and Ervin: (Gibson and Neville Carpenter of Porterville. The secretary-manager is Thos. F. Ferguson. The cemeteries that are under the care of this board are the Porterville Cemetery, which includes the Old Porterville, Home of Peace, and Hillcrest Memorial cemeteries, the Vandalia Cemetery; and the Catholic Cemetery on an old road at the south. Cemeteries within the district but not under the care of the board are: White River, Hubbs at Springville, and Crabtree near Globe, and five or so family burial plots. The WooUville Cemetery, which is an old cemetery, has its own district.
The Vandalia Cemetery is the oldest of the group—the land having Helen given by James M. Martin who with five sons settled in that section in 1860 and '61. The first burials had been made in a spot on the east side of Plano Road on the north slope of the rise where the Vandalia School has stood for the first half of this century. Removals were made from there to the present cemetery; and the oldest grave is said to be that of an infant child of Wm. Martin who died May 5, 1864. James Martin brought with them from Texas his very aged mother, and brought boards for her coffin lest she die on the way. However, the tombstone records the date of her (Ann Martin's) death as November 25, 1869, at the age of 93. Thus she was born in one of the Thirteen Colonies before the Revolutionary War and the beginning of the United States. What geographical changes in North America in her lifetime!
Pioneers from White River, Fountain Springs, Ducor and Terra Bella were buried in this cemetery, which was often called Plano but was named as Vandalia in the deeds and legal papers. Many of the gravestones are the old-time thin slabs of white marble with room for those lines that Thomas Gray in his Elegy says "implore the passing tribute of a sigh" and "teach the rustic moralist to die." In each cemetery there are buried tragedy and some griefs that are more than ordinary, illustrations can be taken from this. Here lie buried Mrs. James Bonsall and her two children who were killed by Indians in the early '70s. In three graves are the five children of A. B. and S. R DuBrutz who died of diptheria in January, 1880. Vandalia Cemetery has the appearance of never having been neglected in upkeep in its 80 odd years. Among the sextons of Vandalia Cemetery have been Wm. Harry Williamson and Michael Hall, who came to Piano in 1887. Besides acting as caretakers they kept the records. Lots were sold through the office of James McCabe, undertaker. When the Porterville Public Cemetery District was formed in 1924 Otto Bastian became sexton and resurveyed the cemetery, but found that the early survey was good.
The first burial plot for the town of Porterville, said W. W. Brown, was on Oak Street. Two acres of land for the present cemetery was bought from Justice George A. Williamson, one of the earliest settlers, by Joseph Lewis, J. E. Conner, Sr., and John Tyler, trustees of the Porterville Cemetery Association, for a consideration of $200.00, deed dated April 29, 1878. This was the description of the property, in the recorded deed: "Two acres of land equal on all sides or as nearly square as can be in the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 30." (does not give the township, etc.)
There were no public funds for the cemetery in the early days, but the people'' were determined that their cemetery be of good appearance. When the trees that are now the largest were planted, water had to be carried in buckets to keep them growing. Plays and shows of various kinds were given to raise money for improving the cemetery. "Everybody enthusiastically helped," said Mrs. Tennie Chapman Trefry, who was usually the initiator of these affairs. One of them which she directed in 1885 was "The District Skule" in which many of Porterville's leading citizens took part. An annual dance helped the funds. Families kept their own lots clean. A lot large enough for six graves cost at this time $20.00. One sexton was Tom Smith who lived in the upper part of the pump-house and personally collected what he could for taking care of lots. James McCabe and Harvey Frame at times were in charge. Through this middle period it was usually the Woodmen of the World Lodge that gave the Memorial Day exercises at the cemetery, they had an excellent drill team and as an insurance order have erected several of the tombstones. (These tombstones are shafts or columns after the fashion at the beginning of this century.)
The Porterville Public Cemetery District was organized in 1924 with the boundaries of the High School District, later it was extended to the Inyo and Kern counties lines and to include Milo section. On the first board were John Dennis of Ducor and Carl Loyd, undertaker, and W. W. Brown of Porterville the latter was the secretary. The Old Porterville and Vandalia cemeteries were included, and the sexton of the former was John Rutherford, of the latter, Otto Bastion; each kept a field book and records. In 1941 the Home of Peace cemetery was taken over by the Board, in 1942, the Hillcrest Memorial, and in 1945, the Catholic cemetery.
This cemetery was established in 1908 by a stock company consisting of Harvey Frame, James McCabe, John James, Grace Redfield, and George Murry. They bought the land from Sol Rodgers. The following served in succession as their secretary: George Williamson, James Venn, and Mark DeWitt. Before it came under the district board, its corporation was dissolved by petition. They collected their -outstanding credits but did not ask for remuneration. A feature of this cemetery is the number of fine massive ornate monuments it contains.
The Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery was developed by Max Jamison and Lester Lamkin, the first burials were in 1930. It was taken over by the Porterville Public Cemetery in 1942, which paid $2,000 to the owners to finish their indebtedness on the mausoleum of crypts for burial urns—a feature of this cemetery. At the beginning the grounds were carefully landscaped, and some parts were sequestered by hedges. To give a park- like effect, the burial grounds are kept as green lawns with smooth, unbroken surface, by the use of flat, sunken gravestones. These modern stones are adapted to our mechanical age. Rubber-tired, motor-powered lawnmowers run quickly over all. On the stones an open Bible or a lily or a dove etched by the stone-cutter can suggest immortality and hope. One director of a cemetery board observed that such stones seem appropriate because rich and poor alike are on a level in death.
Formerly known as the Porterville Catholic Cemetery, it is located Three-fourths of a mile west of Highway 65 on the road next south of Poplar Avenue. (Back in local history this land was part of the homestead of Victor Adams or of the inheritance of his wife, Amanda Gibbons Adams, in the community called Plano.)
The cemetery was established when twenty acres of land (in the SE 1/4 of the SW' 1/4 of Section 2, Township 22 S. Range 27 E) was sold to the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Monterey and Los Angeles by John Purcell, the deed dated September 20, 1906. Father John Coen, who was the parish priest from 1896 to 1912, had called the meeting to start the work of getting a cemetery. Probably Herman Muller, Anton Wais, and Felix McCabe, who served as a committee in collecting contributions in 1911, were among those who secured the funds for the purchase of the land, in 1906. (In 1908 Father Coen bought 15 acres of the tract for a home for his sister.) In 1907 Jacob Pluth, Martin Simonich, and J. R. Simonich worked at levelling the ground which was still in the original condition of little knolls and hollows. There were already, at that time, a windmill and, as Mr. Pluth remembers, a few graves.
The first grave on the records is that of John McCabe who died in 1909 at the age of 76. There are two earlier gravestones—those of the wife of John Purcell and the wife of Thos. H. Purcell, who died in 1887 and 1892 respectively. But these may have been moved there. The funds raised in 1911 were used to complete the grading, drill a well and erect a good fence. At that time Herman Muller and Anton Wais were elected to look after the care of the cemetery. Relatives kept the graves of their own families in good appearance. A plat from a survey was made in 1913.
In 1945 the Porterville Catholics applied to the Porterville Public Cemetery District Board requesting that this cemetery be taken into its jurisdiction and care. In order to use public tax money for the cemetery, it was necessary for the Church to relinquish its right to exclusive use of the cemetery, for, under the California law setting up public cemetery districts and levying a cemetery tax, such funds can be used only in places open to the public, that is, open to any burials. Thus a portion of the cemetery is now set aside for non-Catholic burials. The name, St. Anne's Cemetery, was chosen at that time.
Recently a building for an office and a store-room has been erected in the angle between the Home of Peace and the Old Porterville cemeteries. And this year a mechanical grave-digger was bought, it is of the hydraulic system of the Fordson tractor.
The cemeteries or burying grounds, with the exception of White River, that are within the district but not under the care of the cemetery district board originated as family burial places located on family property. As to when a family burying ground became a cemetery was pointed out by Mrs. M. A. Richardson. In a conversation, in answer to the question: Are there two cemeteries near Milo? She said "No, one is a family burying ground." She explained that in the other, Mrs. Eleanor Cramer gave lots to neighbors in the graveyard on her ranch, and that the man who bought the ranch from her offered and gave deeds to these lots for a certain price, thus it became a cemetery. With that distinction, the Crabtree burying ground at Globe is also a cemetery, for Newton Crabtree sold lots and gave deeds. On a similar basis the Hubbs burying ground at Springville would be called a cemetery. James R. Hubbs and his son, Clinton Hubbs, did not sell lots and give deeds, but they did give recognition to its being a community graveyard by platting it and keeping records and by admitting for burial members of families unable to pay and infant children of transient residents—as well as members of families who voluntarily gave some money in gratitude for the privilege of the burial. Men of the neighborhood came to dig the graves. Also W. Newton Crabtree, on September 5, 1903, and Clinton Hubbs, on February 27, 1907, each on depositing at the Office of the County Recorder a surveyed plat of the respective cemeteries on their family land, affirmed under oath that 'all streets and alleys are hereby dedicated to public use" —which is the terminology, for giving to the public, legal right to a cemetery. These three burying-grounds have thus the status of public cemeteries for their sections of the district, and being in varying stages of neglect show need for public care.
Most of these family burying grounds or cemeteries have naturally suffered because the ranches are no longer owned by the families to whom the burying ground belongs. However, to secure public care through the Public Cemetery District Board and public tax, there are certain requirements on the part of the cemeteries: there must be first, a request or petition from those interested or from the taxpayers; second, a deed to the land, without restrictions on the part of those deeding it (i.e. trust must be placed in the reasonableness of the Board and its sympathy with the desires of interested parties), third, accessibility of the cemetery to the public, e.g. by right-of-way.
The oldest of these three cemeteries is the one near Milo, on the homestead where the Jacob Cramers settled in 1863. Mrs. M. A. Richardson said that when she, as Agnes Braden, came to Milo in 1876 and married Andrew Ainsworth there were already graves on Mrs. Cramer's place. Mrs. Cramer's mother, Priscilla Axe, who died in 1869, and her father, Cromwell Axe, who died in 1875, also early Tule River pioneers, were buried there. Andrew Ainsworth was buried there in 1881, and there are other Ainsworth graves, and that of John Talley (the fathers who was hurt on an early threshing machine, and of his sons, of some Bradens and others. When Mrs. Eleanor Cramer died in 1893, her last resting place was on this ranch that she had managed through early days, and which had given the name to the first postoffice of the section.
The Crabtree Cemetery in the section called Globe is on a picturesque knoll with boulders and oak trees. Newton Crabtree, a pioneer of the early 60's, set it aside, for the purpose, at the death of his mother, Rebecca, in the middle '70s. His father, John Benjamin Crabtree, aged 83, soon followed, also some children of Slam Manier, who died from diphtheria. AshEel Post Osborn, a '49- er and his first wife are buried there. One of his daughters was the wife of Newton Crabtree, one of Henry Halliburton, one of Elam Manier, and two married the McCutcheon brothers, James and Sam. There are graves from all these families which have many living members in the Porterville area. Another Osborn (Oliver), not related, but also a pioneer in the (globe section, is buried there with members of his family. There are the graves of Riley (graham, another neighbor, and his family. In-laws who are buried there are Murdoch Phillips and his wife, and the mother of the McCutcheon brothers—Mary McKinley, (relative of the President, whose second husband was Benj. Kerrick. Their father died while the family in the McCutcheon Wagon Train was crossing the plains in 1865. The story of "The Covered Wagon" was written from the experiences of this wagon-train during Indian attack and other hazards. Newton Crabtree got Louis Weber, the teacher, to survey the cemetery and prepare a map of it which is on record at Visalia. There are more than 60 graves.
James R. Hubbs located the cemetery at Springville in 1889 at the death of his daughter, Eva Elster, who said she wanted to sleep under certain oak trees. It was carefully platted in 52 lots in four ranges, and its southwest corner was indicated by distance from the section line. Mr. Clint Hubbs, who took charge after his father's death in 1896, kept records that showed the location of each grave with the name of the person or name of kin. James R. Hubbs was a pioneer of 1854 at Visalia and came to Springville in the 1870s. The family was large and included children of his second wife by a previous marriage. The list of 49 burials in the cemetery has, besides the Hubbs name, those of the following relatives and connections: Akins, Doty, Elster, McKicarnan, and Slocum, and others not related: Lathrop, Noller, Smith, Wi!!iams, and others.
Of the family burying grounds the oldest is that on the Sardis Wilcox ranch (now owned by his grandchildren, the Templetons) at the South Tule fork. Judge Sardis Wilcox, a settler of 1856, was buried there in 1861, having died of a cold caught while riding the judge's circuit. The flood waters of 1862 flowed over the site that Mrs. Wilcox chose, so her husband's body was removed to higher ground. Judge Wilcox's brother, Alfred, was buried there in 1870 and his two sons during that decade, and his wife, whose second husband was Dr. S. G. (George, in 1911. Several neighbors and transients also found a resting place there.
The family burying ground above Milo, already referred to, is that on the homestead, settled in 1873 by James P. Flagg. His first wife was (3eorgiana Richardson (sister-in-law of Mrs. M. A. Richardson, whose sister was Mrs. Sam Webb). Georgiana's father, Roswell Richardson, who was born in 1797, was buried there in 1877, and she herself, in 1888. In the '70s there were other burials from these three families and later from the McDougal and Dean families.
On the edge of Coho Valley there is a family burying ground on the old Shelby Pepper ranch, that seems to have been started to accommodate the neighbors. The first burial was probably that of Peter Pinnell, who died in 1878. His grave is within a fence made of iron pipe, which is kept painted white by the descendants of his son, Tom, of Bakersfeld. Shelby Pepper was a pioneer of the White River section, he is said to have had a grist mill somewhere above there which was washed away by the floods of 1862. According to the stone in this burial plot he died on July 17, 1894 at the age of 77. Several men without relatives were also laid to rest there. The grandchildren of Mr. Pepper call it the (Halley Mt. Cemetery, it is near the old road to California Hot Springs.
A short distance above Springville, on the road towards Rancheria, there is a family burying ground on the old Joseph Duncan ranch, it was set aside as a buriat plot at the death of Mrs. Duncan at the beginning of this century. Joseph Duncan, a pioneer of 1871, died in 1905. Seven other members of the family have been buried there including James McDonald and his wife, Fredonia, who was a Duncan. This is purely a private family burial plot.
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