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New Helvetia Cemetery (Defunct)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1849 to 1956
Location: Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United Statesmap
Surname/tag: California, cemeteries, Sacramento, Sutter
Profile manager: Paul Schmehl private message [send private message]
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The New Helvetia Cemetery was established by Captain John Sutter in 1849 in Sacramento contiguous to the Fort Sutter burying ground. It was in a low-lying area that constantly flooded. Most of the burials were in shallow graves with wooden markers. That same year residents adopted a city charter.

From 1850 to 1857 no burials took place due to flooding that persisted in the area. In 1857 the cemetery was purchased by J. W. Reese who maintained and beautified it. Burials resumed. The New Helvetia Cemetery, was located at the corner of 31st (now Alahambra Blvd.) and J Sts. The GPS location is 38° 34.373′ N, 121° 27.901′ W. Reeves eventually deeded the property to the city.

In 1916, most of the elaborate hand-carved monuments were replaced with flat concrete markers so the cemetery could be used as a park. The markers and monuments that existed were either taken away by family or by city residents who put them in their yards.

In 1917 the city purchased the Chinese portion of the cemetery and repatriated 1,000 Chinese remains to China. The city then removed many more tombstones and plaques. Poor city planning led to the theft, loss, or disposal of many markers.

In 1956, the city wanted the land to build Sutter Middle School, so the graves were moved. 4,685 "unknowns" were moved to a plot purchased by the city in East Lawn Cemetery, and about 400 "knowns" were moved to Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. A small number were moved by families to other locations. A historical marker now marks the site.

The original cemetery site is now a California Registered Historical Landmark (No. 592). The city passed an ordinance allowing residents to return markers and monuments taken from the cemetery without being charged with an offense in an effort to restore some of the grandeur of the cemetery and recognize the pioneers who built the city.

Historical Cemetery Marker Reinternment Site Marker

Sources

Newspaper Articles





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Comments: 2

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Interesting history to this cemetery! Floods, headstone removals, Chinese repatriation of remains, even a junior high school and all right there at the inception of the Gold Rush. Good narrative and very clean citations. How do you get those newspaper urls so short! When I clip (mostly genealogybank) they are too long. Thanks!
posted by Jay Menchaca
I use newspapers.com. When you clip an article, it creates a short url that points to the clipping, and people without an account can view them. I haven't figured out how to get genealogybank to do that. I suppose you could use tiny url.
posted by Paul Schmehl