The old Congress Pioneer Cemetery looks just like you would expect it to.
I finally got a chance to go visit the other cemetery around here that I spotted on Google earth. This one's further away than the other one that I've already visited so I drove the truck.
It turns out I was right in guessing that this cemetery might be an old one where they ran out of room and started using the one that's near me. This cemetery even has a sign at the front gate calling it the Old Congress Pioneer Cemetery.
Like most old cemeteries in the West there's very few markers left. Most people could only afford wooden markers which are fairly quickly destroyed. A step up would be one made of concrete, but even concrete crumbles with age. The people with money mostly used white marble back in the day, which looks nice but it's actually fairly soft and wears quickly making them difficult to read. And the problem reading them is exacerbated by the often flowery script that apparently was popular at the time.
Like most old cemeteries this one appeared to be populated with a lot of children. It was tough being a little kid in those days, diseases took so many of them, and if they survived that, they had to do work that was often hard and dangerous. Living in the West in the 1800s was no picnic for children or adults, it was a harsh, desolate, dangerous place to be and children were fairly defenseless against all of these difficulties. And of course living in poverty like so many of them did, didn't improve their chances of survival. So a lot of old cemeteries, especially in the West, have far too many of their little graves.
There was only a dozen or so legible headstones in the cemetery, all the rest probably had wooden headstones so now are unmarked. This was gold-mining country in the late 1800s so I imagine a lot of these folks were associated with the mining in some way or another. And since hard rock mining is such a dangerous job even now, I would guess at least some of these folks died deep in the earth digging for what the Spanish call "de oro".
So even though this cemetery made me sadder than most, it was still an interesting and enlightening experience. Being able to spend some time with the people whose sacrifices built this country and in doing so allowed me to live the kind of life that I've lived without all the hardships that they endured, helps me appreciate all the blessings I have.
I thought this was kind of strange, someone placed a new toy, still in the box on this child's grave It made me wonder if it was done randomly, or someone actually knew who was buried here.
Concrete lasts longer than wood, but some kind of stone is the best.
if my limited knowledge of Spanish is correct this headstone says little Eloicita flew into the sky July 13 in 1898 at the age of one month 10 days
Another child's grave. I only took this picture because this was a new headstone, and I wondered what the APCRP was. so I looked it up.
if you Google American Pioneer & Cemetery Research Project. APCRP a picture of this grave is on their homepage. I don't know when their picture was taken, but when I took this picture yesterday the wooden structure looks to be in a lot worse condition now.