From: The Oakland Daily Evening Tribune, 05 April 1875, Page 3, Columns 2-3. Note: The usage of the [?] indicates the transcriber's inability to read the newspaper article, and not missing letters or numbers in the original article.


An Afternoon Among the Deserted Graves--The Myrtle and the Cedar--Remains of Those Who Still Lie There--Inscriptions, Etc.

Taking advantage of the delightful weather yesterday, we paid a visit to the old cemetery, between Webster and Harrison, and Birney and Delger streets. The sight was a strange one to us. Almost in the heart of a thriving population--within a circle of fashionable and costly residences--lie the remains of some forty or fifty persons, long since placed under the earth, and whose memories have probablly [sic] vanished from the minds of the friends who wept over the freshly-made graves of fifteen or twenty years since.

Let us ascend the narrow path from Durant street. We first stumble upon a dilapidated enclosure, some 12x15 feet, with no trace of a grave visible, except a simple slab of white parian marble, in a good state of preservation, and apparently free from wind-rust. The stone had toppled over, but we read the following inscription:

Daughter of Daniel and Lydia Ann Bouton;
born at Bedford, N. Y.; died January 17, 1858,
aged 20 years, 3 months, and 5 days.
"To die is gain."-PHIL. [?].21
"Fain would I leave this weary road,
And sleep in dust, to walk with God."

Adjoining this is a large enclosure, which was at one time highly ornamented. Myrtles are blooming in profusion, and a tombstone some four feet high, and somewhat rusty, still stands. The inscription reads:

Sacred to the memory of
Wife of S. B. McKee, who died November 26th,
1855, aged 31 years; and of her infant child,
Who died October 15, 1855, aged 9 months.
"Rest in peace, ye gentle spirits,
Throned above;
Souls like yours with God inherit
Light and love."

A tall straight cedar in one corner seems to smile upon the lonely, deserted grave. Immediately back of this there are three slight mounds, which are almost obscured with myrtles and wild foliage. The slabs, if there were any, are gone, and there are no indications left as to the identity of the silent sleepers. Near this is an enclosure, with a tall cedar in the center, and a tombstone with this inscription:

Daughter of Wm. H. Field, died May 16, 1862,
aged 37 years, 9 months, and 23 days.

To the south of this are two long enclosures filled with flowers and cedars, but all traces of the graves are gone. Now we come upon the ruins of a once beautiful lot. Four stately cedars still keep their lonely vigils over the deserted ground, and a tombstone, about four feet high, is the only indication that a grave ever existed there. The inscription is still plain:

Sacred to the memory of
Of Oakland, who departed this life July 23,
1859, aged 5[?] years and 10 months.
"'Tis a long, 'tis a last, 'tis a beautiful rest,
When all sorrow has passed from the brow and
the breast;
And the lone spirits truly and wisely may crave
The sleep that is dreamless-the sleep of the grave"
May his soul rest with God.
A wife's tribute.

Adjoining this is a large lot with several graves still visible; but only one little stone, and that broken in two. We turned it over and read:

Born April 30, 1845; died Oct. 6, 1855.
Our bud of promise was blighted here, to bloom more brightly in Heaven.

Further on are four other enclosures, in one of which are two tall eucalyptus trees. The myrtle, which is the prevailing flower, grows luxuriantly in them all; but there are no traces of graves, and only one plain board, on which is written:

A native of Germany; born August 19, 1813;
died May 5th, 1857.

To the south of these are six enclosures, five of which are in a dilapidated condition; the other is filled with a spreading white rose-bush, and the lot seems to have been taken care of. A plain board has this inscription:

In memory of
Born 9th of October 1857; died 2d of October, 1861.

In an adjoining lot, on a plain board, which has rotted off at the bottom, and placed against the fence by some friendly hand, is this inscription, in German:

A native of Bremen. Born January 27, 1824;
died November 12, 18[?]9.

Adjoining this is a lonely wooden enclosure, painted brown--the color is yet good--inside of which is a four-foot tombstone, on the top of which is chiseled a weeping willow, and this simple inscription:

Died May 17, 1866
Erected by a friend.

Just back of this is a ten-foot lot, with a large spreading cedar almost obscuring it. The ravages of time are plainly discernible here. The tombstone is broken in two, and lies upon the ground. We turned it over and read:

Son of George W. and Lucinda Parsons; died
December 25, 1862, aged 3 years, 4 months, and 8 days.

We now cross Durant street, which has been cut through the cemetery. Near the corner of Webster and Durant streets, about four feet in the air, and filled with myrtles, wild grasses and other flowers, stands, sentinel like, an eight-foot monument in a large enclosure. The workmen have excavated all around it, and as it stands alone and solitary in the air, the contrast of the surrounding barrenness is somewhat striking. With difficulty we climb up to the gate, and read the inscription upon the stone:

Sacred to the memory of
Wife of William Hillegass; died February 25th,
aged 30 years. Native of France; daughter of P. Delaure.
"Weep not, for I am happy."

A large cedar stands in each corner of the lot, and the purple flowers and long grasses have almost entirely obscured the graves, of which there are two. A bouquet on one was evidently recently placed there.

A single dilapidated enclosure, which will soon be obliterated, as the workmen are nearly to it, stands upon the hill about twenty yards further on. No traces of a grave.

About thirty yards still further on are ten enclosures, one of which is made of cast iron, and entirely filled with weeds.

[Column 3]
Adjoining it is a grave and a tombstone, with this inscription:

Sacred to the memory of
Who departed this life July 4th, 1859, aged 2[?]
years and 11 months.
"May his spirit rest in heaven."

Back of this is an enclosure, full of weeds, and a simple marble slab, which reads:

In memory of
A native of England; born October 12, [?]
179[?]; died July [?], 1860. Aged 66 years and 9 months.
"The hour of my departure's come;
I hear the voice that calls me home;
The race appointed I have run-
The combat's o'er-the prize is won.
I leave this world without a tear,
Save for the friends I hold so dear."

Adjoining this another reads:

Died in San Francisco Jan. 1[?], 1862, aged 4 years, 11 months, and 10 days.
"Asleep in Jesus."

One side of this enclosure is torn away. Near this is another lot filled with geraniums and wild grasses, a grave, with a wooden headboard, which reads:

In memory of
Wife of George Kindleyside; native of England,
Died Oct. 18, 1857, aged 38 years.

Another inscription on the same board reads:

Died March 8, 1860, aged 30 years and 5 months.

There are 33 inclosures in all, and they will shortly succumb to the advancing hand of improvement. Many bodies have been disinterred, and placed in the new cemetery, but most of those remaining are persons whose friends or relatives have either left the country or are in ignorance of the condition of the old cemetery.