Richfield was settled in 1864. Soon, there were deaths and a need for a cemetery. An early death was Albert Lewis in April 1866. The Richfield Pioneer Cemetery was established about 550 West Center Street. It was 300 x 214 feet in size (1.47 acres and approximately the square feet of a football field). The entrance was on the south side which suggests the entrance was from 100 South and 550 West. In time, it had an entrance gate, steps, and a rock curb walk leading to a monument which stood some distance from the gate. The east side had a small rock curb fence. The north and west sides had a good fence.
Bodies were buried there from 1864 through 1883. During those twenty years (less 4 years of abandonment), evidence suggests there were more than 173 burials, which calculates to be a little less than one burial a month, a significant number for such a small settlement. A city ordinance dated November 3, 1882, established the present Richfield City Cemetery about 900 North Main Street above the Sevier Valley Canal. Thurber family records indicate the first burial in the new cemetery was Eleanor Jane Shimmin Thurber. Their records indicate she was born September 14, 1853, died December 26, 1883, age 30, and buried December 29, 1883.
In 1914, the first Richfield High School building was constructed east of the Pioneer Cemetery at 450 West Center. Also constructed was a football field and track a little southwest of the school building and a baseball field a little south of the school building. The cemetery was west of the school grounds and was not disturbed.
In 1917 the city erected a large granite monument. It was 8 feet tall with a bronze plaque on the east side of the base with the names of 137 people buried there. A map was drawn of the graves making any grave easy to find. They went to a lot of trouble to make that map accurate and correct. Perhaps that map will be located someday among the old maps in the Richfield City Office and made available. Dedication services for the monument were held Sunday, October 28, 1917, at the Pioneer Cemetery under the auspices of the mayor and city council. The service was called to order at 12:00 noon by G. W. Coons, chairman of the pioneer cemetery committee. The Orpheus Glee Club sang The Lord Is My Light. Councilman Orson Christensen gave an opening prayer. Chairman G. W. Coons gave a short address in which he "thanked everyone who had contributed to the monument." Mayor D. P. Jensen gave an address stating that early that year the city council called a meeting and appointed a committee to help interest the people in erecting a monument to the pioneers of Richfield. That committee was G. W. Coons, J. B. Ramsay, Paul Poulsen, George Poulsen, J. L. Rasmussen, and Eliza Nielsen. The public contributed liberally. The total cost of the monument, including the concrete base, was $625. A very substantial amount. The mayor stated, "The monument should stand forever, as it was made of solid granite. 'and that he hoped to see grass and trees planted and become a suitable meeting place for many occasions." A double mixed quartette sang I Know My Heavenly Father Knows. James M. Peterson said, " he felt it was fitting and proper for the people of Richfield to erect a monument of that kind. And he said that spot of ground should be made and kept beautiful and sacred". The Richfield Brass Band played My Little Gray Home In The West. Paul Poulsen spoke and said, "There were 137 graves, and that the mayor and city council had done an excellent work in erecting the monument!". He said, "It has been fifty years since the people were buried there". The double mixed quartette sang, " Hark, Hark My Soul". W. C. B. Orrock spoke saying, "they did not have metal caskets in those days, but made their own caskets of crude material". Chairman G. W. Coons spoke. President Joseph S. Horne dedicated the monument, and a photograph was made of those present. Councilman G. W. Blomquist offered the benediction.
As time passed the cemetery was not maintained and fell into disrepair. I remember as a youth seeing an old wire fence with cedar posts. I also remember seeing wooden and stone grave markers.
In 1957, football was reinstated as a sport using the original football field.
In 1961, the 1914 high school building was demolished and replaced by the second high school building as well as a new football field, track, and athletic field. The cemetery became part of the school grounds. The boundary fence, grave markers, and all trace of the cemetery were removed. The cemetery was covered by the new football field, track, and athletic field. The exact location of the graves is no longer known. It is possible some graves were uncovered during construction and the remains reburied in the Richfield City Cemetery. In 2014-2016, the second high school building was torn down and replaced by a large new building. About two graves were uncovered during construction with the remains reburied on site. A stone grave marker was found in the dirt that was hauled away. It was for Mary Alice Dall, an infant daughter of Henry David Dall, Jr. and Jane Ogden Dall. She was born June 22, 1872, and died May 31, 1874, age 1 year. The grave marker was given to the Dall family. They placed it flat on the ground on the Dall family graves in the Richfield City Cemetery.
The original granite monument was cleaned and a new bronze plaque with 141 names replaced the old one that contained 137 names. Respectful Memorial words were added. The monument was set in its present location along a walking path. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2014, the monument was rededicated. Mayor David Ogden and a few other people were in attendance. Businessman David Christensen offered the rededication prayer. "It is easy to believe that the spirits of the people buried in the pioneer cemetery know they are remembered. They are now preparing for their glorious day of resurrection when they will rise from the grave. That is their blessing. Our blessing is to enjoy the opportunity to walk the walking path to the granite monument, read the names of the people buried there, view the site, and feel appreciation and love for them."
There are five of my family members buried there, a great-grandfather, two great-aunts, an infant son of another great aunt, and a young daughter of another great-aunt. I honor them. I hope this little paper shows respect and honor for all who were buried there.
Estimated Location of Pioneer Cemetery
This aerial photograph was taken in 2014 soon after the north half of the concrete walking path was completed and shortly before the 1961 building was demolished. It shows the size and approximate location of the Pioneer Cemetery in yellow. The new location of the monument is shown in white at the southeast corner of the yellow. Also shown are the football field, track, and athletic field east and south of the football field. The 1961 high school building with a large light colored roof is also show
Pioneer Cemetery Monument Erected ln 2014
This granite monument is the same one that was erected in 1917. The plaque of names and the upper memorial words are new. The lower memorial words are original to the 1917 monument. The view is looking west from the walking path toward the cemetery.
Plaque of Names on the 2014 Monument
Memorial Words on the 2014 Monument
Upper Plaque Added to the 2014 Monument
RICHFIELD'S PIONEER CEMETERY WAS LOCATED IMMEDIATELY TO THE RICHFIELD CITY CEMETERY ON MAIN STREET. BUT SOME WERE LEFT UNDISTURBED. WE RECOGNIZE THIS LOCATION AS THE SACRED RESTING PLACE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS.
Plaque of Names Added to the 2014 Monument
Names From the 2014 Plaque on the Monument
I arranged the names in alphabetical order
|Total Names 141|
The 2014 plaque contains spelling changes of the names shown on the 1917 plaque.
The following four names on the 2014 plaque are not on the 1917 plaque or the Richfield City burial record: Anne Beutler and Melissa Lister, 2 children of James Shaw.
Original 1917 Pioneer Cemetery Monument
Photograph Taken in 1978
The plaque with the names of people who were buried is at the bottom of the monument with memorial words above. The view is looking east. The 1961 high school tennis courts are in the background.
In 2008, workers in the Richfield Family History Center compiled an alphabetical list of people buried in the Richfield City Cemetery. The following names came from that list.
Burials Before December 31, 1883
From The Richfield City Cemetery Burial Record
Total Names: 39
Burials From January 1, 1884, Through December 31, 1885,
From The Richfield City Cemetery Burial Record
None of these names are listed on the Pioneer Cemetery plaque.
Name Death Date
- Jensen, James 02/10/1884
- Horne, Julia May 03/01/1884
- Ogden, Minnie 03/12/1884
- Thurber, Ancele E. 04/13/1884
- Lund, Nils R. (or Enor) 04/17/1884
- Wilkinson, Roxie J. 04/21/1884
- Jensen, Mary Christna 04/27/1884
- Barlow, Leo Nightingale 07/18/1884
- Gardner, Orsen L. Pratt 09/17/1884
- Jensen, James Kyelman 09/21/1884
- Riley, Samuel Heber 12/07/1884
- Hansen, Martha (Mettie) Maria 12/17/1884
- Hansen, Christina Caroline Christensen 02/01/1885
- Peterson, Johanna 02/01/1885
- Hansen, Peter Andre Anderson 02/05/1885
- Anderson, Andrus P. 02/07/1885
- Ogilvie, Charles H. 02/11/1885
- Hansen, Anna C. 02/24/1885
- Hansen, Vigo B. 03/01/1885
- Beutler, Mary Henne 03/16/1885
- James, Elizabeth Thomas 03/17/1885
- Nielson, Sena Marie Madsen 05/08/1885
- Nelson, Albert Clyde 05/10/1885
- Hellstrom, Celeste 07/03/1885
- Keyser, Guy Messiah 10/03/1885
- Thurber, Mable C. 10/11/1885
- Thurber, Matilda P. 10/11/1885
- Thurber, Infant 11/01/1885
- Mount, Jenny Bell 11/02/1885
Total Names: 29
Seven names listed in the Richfield City Cemetery burial record above have an asterisk because they are listed on the 2014 plaque. This suggests their family moved them to the new cemetery because they are listed in the Richfield City Cemetery burial record. Thirty-two people listed in the Richfield City Cemetery burial record above are not listed on the 2014 plaque. They died before the new cemetery was established. This suggests they were buried in the Pioneer Cemetery but not recorded and their family moved them to the new cemetery because they are recorded in the new cemetery burial record. It is possible some remains were moved to the new cemetery during construction of the 1961 high school. If so, it was not possible to identify their remains; therefore, their names could not be listed in the Richfield City Cemetery burial record.
Thurber family records indicate Eleanor Jane Shimmin Thurber was buried December 29, 1883, as the first person buried in the new cemetery. Her name is not on the 2014 plaque, but it is listed in the above Richfield City Cemetery burial record. The burial record for both cemeteries contains a few errors. This is understandable because some burials were not reported to the city, some information was reported incorrectly, and some information was recorded incorrectly.
There are 134 names on the 2014 plaque not listed in the Richfield City Cemetery burial record. This suggests they are the people currently buried in the Pioneer Cemetery plus unrecorded burials and adjusted by unknown events less any remains moved during construction of the 1961 high school. This agrees with the 141 names on the 2014 plaque less 7 names listed in the new cemetery burial record.
There are 141 names on the 2014 plaque, plus 32 names from the Richfield City Cemetery burial record not listed on the 2014 plaque. This suggests there were 173 total burials in the Pioneer Cemetery plus unrecorded burials and adjusted by unknown events.