HISTORY OF ELSINORE VALLEY CEMETERY

 

In 1891 Peter Wall purchased 12 acres of land for the Greenwood Cemetery.

He laid out the cemetery, and with the help of the GAR Relief Corps and others,

planted trees and hauled water to the site to establish them.

 

The hilly site known as the “old cemetery” was on Minthorn Street,

east of Highway 71 (now I-15). Our records show that the following pioneers,

buried between 1876 and 1890, were disinterred and moved to Greenwood:

Emma A. Rand, George B. Wall, Freeman A. Drake, Joseph F. Drake,

Lena W. Willsey, Joseph Keith, Allen T. Gilman and Mary L. Walker.

 

The first recorded burial in the new graveyard was January 4, 1891  for Frank Cameron,

age 18 years, 10 months, 6 days. He was born in Walnorth County, Wisconsin.

The death certificate signed by Dr. S. H. Washburn lists cause of death as inflammation of the brain.

 

The members of the first Board of Directors were S. H. Washburn, Lafayette Gill,

William H. Townsend, Leonard Buckingham Peck, James Balfour, W. W. Wilson,

Samuel Adams Stewart, Peter Wall and Thompson Frame.

The first Superintendent of the association was Charles Sumner Merrifield (known as Carl),

son-in-law of Peter Wall. He was followed by his son, Leslie Merrifield,

who held that post until 1970 when he retired at age 70.

 

Many years of either too much or too little rain made the job of maintaining the cemetery

very difficult for C. S. Merrifield. Each year before Memorial Day,

the community was asked to help clean up the cemetery.

In January of 1916 a major flood almost obliterated some of the graves.

That year volunteers were asked to help reset the fallen headstones.

 

During the early years the cemetery ground was bare except for weeds.

They grew so high that burning was used for their control.

This caused damage to the trees and also the marble, wood,

and limestone gravemarkers, so the burning was discontinued.

In the 1920’s a well was dug in hopes of getting enough water for more landscaping.

An adequate water supply during hot summers continued to be a problem for many years.

 

In 1923 the Elsinore Woman’s Club, under the leadership of

Mrs. Guy (Mary Lorena) Willsey,

took as their project the protection and care of the cemetery.

Through their efforts, and with the assistance of other organizations in the valley,

the cemetery was purchased in May of 1926.

Mr. Wall sold the property for $500 plus some additional

funds for the improvements and equipment.

 

The name was changed to “Elsinore Valley Cemetery”

and the Elsinore Valley Cemetery Association was formed as part

of the Riverside Cemetery District. The Trustees appointed by the

County Board of Supervisors were Willis L. Everett, Henry Clay Scott and Terrell L. Rush.

 

Also in 1926, a special veterans’ section was secured through the efforts of the

Spanish American War Veterans and the American Legion.

Even in the early years of the century, the Grand Army of the Republic

held formal dedications and celebrations each Decoration Day

in which the entire community participated.

Elsinore’s last survivor of the Civil War was Abijiah W. “Daddy” Davis who died in 1955.

Ceremonies marking Memorial Day and Veterans Day continue each year

under the auspices of the various veterans’ organizations in the valley.

 

Under the supervision of Mr. C. S. Merrifield, Leslie Merrifield,

Clair Williams and the continuing Board of Directors many improvements

have been made at our cemetery.

Fencing, retaining walls, curbing, road paving, plus the building

of an office and warehouse.

Each year more landscaping in the way of trees,

flowers,  shrubbery and grass has been added.

Our cemetery is now a place of beauty and one of which we can all be proud.

 

Recently, the Elsinore Valley Cemetery Association finalized the

purchase of the Home of Peace - Jewish Cemetery,

which adjoins the north side of Elsinore Valley Cemetery.

The only known records of burials in this cemetery have been taken

from the existing headstones and are included on page 169.

 

 

 

“The above history was written by Shirley Brooks with the aid of Jeanie Corral and Lilah Merrifield Knight.”

 

 

 

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