July 4, 1961
Who's Buried in
Yosemite's Pioneer Cemetery?
Howard Hobbs, NPS Ranger Naturalist
YOSEMITE VALLEY -- There
are numerous graves in Yosemite but most visitors do not know it.
The cemetery is a distinct quarter-acre surrounded by a low granite
stone wall. There is no visible sign. Look for a clearing amid the
giant California Black Oak trees near the Park employee's residential
area located just West and across the street from the Natural
History Museum and Park Headquarters.
The burial plots contain the remains of
some of the best know early pioneers settlers. Naturalist lore concerning
the pioneers burred here included the following anecdotes.
For example, in the back northwestern most
corner an Oak grave marker is inscribed with the name of Henry Eddy.
Park Service Superintendent Maj. W.W. Forsyth wrote in the log that
Eddy was a government worker in Yosemite who was found dead in his
tent on the bitterly cold morning of October 10, 1910.
A little further on, there is granite slab
inside a wrought iron fence. The engraving reads, "William
Bonney Atkinson, born in Yosemite June 25, 1898. Died April 15,
1902". The young Atkinson was one of three children born to
the family of Charles and Nell Atkinson, a State worker administrating
the Yosemite Grant, at the time.
Down the way there is a huge flake of granite
with a cross engraved on it. Under it are the remains of of James
Mason Hutchings, and his wife Agusta L. Hutchings, and daughter
Florence. Hutchings was a writer of Yosemite stories who helped
make the wonders of Yosemite known to people back east. His most
popular works included the "Guide to the Yosemite and the Big
Trees." In later years he published Hutchings' California
Magazine. In 1869 he built a saw-mill on Yosemite Creek which
was then operated for a time by John Muir. In 1880 Hutchings became
the Guardian of Yosemite. Hutchings' death
came a few months later while riding in a wagon with his wife down
Big Oak Flat Road, the team of horses bolted and and Hutchings and
his wife were thrown from the wagon. Mrs. Hutchings was not injured,
but James Hutchings died a few minutes later in the arms of his
wife. A funeral was held in The Big Tree Room of the Barnard