The Hacienda Cemetery in
New Almaden was purchased at a tax sale by Pioneer member Gene
Vennum and donated to the Santa Clara County Pioneers in 1974.
The Pioneers, with the help of other Historical organizations
and a boyscout or two, have since been the caretakers of the
National Historic Monument.
The cemetery is best discribed
by Jeanne Lewis, a Staff Writer for the Almaden Times Weekly.
On December 11, 2003 she wrote:
a serene hillside road nestled in a charming residential area
of old summer cottages and new construction, a white picket fence
surrounds the Hacienda Cemetery in New Almaden. Located on the
east bank of the Arroyo de Los Alamitos Creek, it provides the
final resting place of the New Almaden Quicksilver miners and
their families who lived in the hills northeast of the cemetery
in Cornish and Spanish Towns from the early 1850s to the 1920s.
Once through the picket
gate, the walkways are lined with a carpet of rich green myrtle,
mature laurels and oaks, which create a shadowy presence above
the fenced grave cribs, some marked with rare Italian marble
headstones, others with aged wood markers. Flowers adorn a number
of the plots.
Some of the loving tributes
to the miners and their families that lived, worked and died
in New Almaden include:
Final Resting Place of the Maternal Grandparents of Lawrence
Jenny Danielson, December
7, 1886 - July 27, 1888, She was Blue Eyed and Very Beautiful.
Ellen Keenan, April
10, 1864, Age 24 years
In memory of Eslinda
Selaya, December 4, 1866-Died July 12, 1898.
Also in this reverent setting,
one headstone produces a surprised smile to visitors;
Richard Bertram 'Bert'
Barrett, His Arm Lies Here.
Besides being the namesake of the road and a son of a quicksilver
miner, he became the Chief of Sanitation for the Santa Clara
County Health Department. In 1898 at age 13, he lost his arm
in a hunting accident. The law at the time stated that a limb
must be given a proper burial. Bert lived a long life after the
mishap and the rest of his remains are at Oak Hill Cemetery where
he was interred in 1959.
The cemetery remained in
use through the 1920s until Ben Black, a musician best known
for writing the song, "Moonlight and Roses," bought
all of the property east of Los Alamitos Creek from the Quicksilver
Mining Company and planned to subdivide it-even the old cemetery.
One night in the spring of 1928, he cut a road through the center
of the tract, across the cemetery and over a number of
Outraged, the residents of New Almaden filed a lawsuit against
Black who then could not sell the lots and stopped paying taxes.
went to tax sale and was purchased by California Pioneer member
Gene Vennum. On June 6, 1974 Vennum quitclaimed the cemetery
to the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County.
Pioneers remain the custodians of the property and are responsible
for the restoration and maintenance of the property. Under their
guidance, an accurate survey for the County Recorder's Office
resulted in the Hacienda Cemetery designation on the National
Register of Historic Places and a California Registered Point
of Historical Interest. The cemetery remains divided by Bertram
Road. To this day it is unknown the identities or number of graves
Dedicated October 10, 1981
Native Sons of the Golden West, San Jose
Parlor No.22; California Pioneers of Santa
Clara County, and Mountain Charlie
Chapter No. 1850, E. Clampus Vitus
the October 26-November 1, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's
"Sometimes developed and vandalized, or just left to the
weeds ... but not all of them ...
The Pioneers, along with
a variety of volunteers ranging from Boy Scouts to local fraternities,
have managed to get the cemetery [Hacienda] into perhaps its best shape of the last hundred
The preservation work has
really been twofold: not only have the physical grounds--the
fauna, the gravestones, the fencing, etc.--been
rebuilt and maintained, but the narrative history has also been
saved. The property is small but not cramped, without landscaping
or adornment, and the bottom half slopes down to the creek's
edge. Footpaths wind in and around myrtle, oaks and laurels,
and there is even some poison oak. |
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