MARYSVILLE (CBS13) – It’s the final resting place for some of our state’s first pioneers. But they’re not able to rest in peace because of what a cemetery scrooge did a century and a half ago.
There are problems haunting The Historic Marysville City cemetery. Efforts are underway to recover its stolen history. Time, vandals and flooding have taken their toll at one of the oldest city cemeteries west of the Mississippi.
“These were the pioneers,” said Roberta Shurtz.
For nearly 20 years, Roberta Shurtz has helped care for the historic cemetery. Beyond landscaping, she wants to clear up its messy history.
“He was really very selfish he was thinking of money,” said Roberta.
During the gold rush Ebenezer Hamilton, the city’s coroner, stole two decades worth of cemetery records. The city refused to pay to get the records back so the information was never recovered.
“He wasn’t thinking of the people who have passed or the people who might be the next generation looking for their kindred dead,” said Roberta.
Over the decades, markers have been moved and headstones destroyed or damaged. Roberta is looking for volunteers to restore every grave site and help unlock the mystery of each grave’s occupant.
“It becomes like puzzle all the pieces fit together,” said Roberta.
This is no small task. The cemetery is almost 14 acres. It’s estimated that 10,000 people are buried here, and most of the graves no longer have markers.
“You see two holes where metal markers would have been,” said Roberta.
Some of the cemetery residents left major marks on history.
“Charles Macy is buried here. [He] died in 1856,” said Roberta.
One of the founders of Macy’s has a marker and so does a Donner Party survivor. But Roberta believes every person who passed deserves to be remembered.
“These were the pioneers. These were the one who settled this valley, and these were the ones who settle this community of Marysville,” said Roberta.
The Adopt-a-Plot program starts in January. Roberta is hoping for a couple dozen dedicated volunteers to help right this historic wrong.
The city of Marysville is in charge of the Adopt-a-Plot program.