Short History of Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery
By Mary Ann Thomas
January 19, 2001
originally published October 30, 2000
Canon City Daily Record
Pioneer Cemetery is the second known burial ground in Caņon
City and the oldest extant. Historically, it contains the final
resting-places of persons of significance to not only the residents
of Caņon City, but also the state of Colorado. Genealogically, it
is relevant to persons around the world.
Caņon City was settled in 1859-1860 and the first known burials
were of the Bowen family (1861, 1863, and 1864). Those graves were
moved from the original site on their land on Dozier and Van Loo
Street to Lakeside Cemetery in 1992, making Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery
the oldest extant burial ground in Caņon City.
|Greenwood Cemetery Sign
The first known burial in what would become Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery
was William M. Davis, who was buried in 1865 on the William C. Catlin
homestead. Another pioneer family, the Griffins, buried two children
there in 1866 and several other stones exist from the same time
A small notice appears in the April 20, 1876 edition of the Caņon
City Times stating a committee had been formed to confer with W.C.
Catlin regarding the cemetery site. In the November 30, 1876 edition,
it was reported that he had donated 10 acres south of town to be
used for burial purposes. Several deeds have been recorded regarding
this land, one dated November 9, 1875 granting land to the Masonic
lodge for burial purposes, and one on November 21, 1876 to the City
of Caņon City for the same purpose.
Although all the burials are important, there are several that
are of significance to more then just the family members. James
H. Peabody was the only Caņon City resident to achieve the highest
political rank in Colorado, although several others ran for the
office. He was governor of Colorado from 1903-1905, He also served
as mayor of Caņon City and president of the First National Bank.
|Brevet Major General Robert A. Cameron
Others of historical significance buried there are Joseph H. Maupin,
attorney general of Colorado, Guy Hardy, a U.S. congressman of several
years, Brevet Major General Robert A. Cameron, (34th Indiana Volunteers)
who later helped found Colorado Springs, Greeley and Fort Collins
with General Palmer and was warden of the Colorado State Penitentiary
from 1885 - 1887, George Rockafellow, the first mayor of Caņon City
in 1872, Truman Blancett, an early mountain man and scout, who died
at age 106, and Father John Massaro, a pioneer Catholic missionary.
In addition to the famous, there are some infamous resting there.
There are two sections in the cemetery reserved for prisoners, the
last of whom was buried during the 1970's. Included are Danny Daniels,
A.H. Davis, and Red Reiley, leaders of the 1929 riot, which resulted
in their deaths as well as the deaths of 8 correctional officers.
William Cody Kelly and Luis J. Monge, the first and last to die
in the state gas chamber, and Edward Ives, who survived his first
hanging, but not his second, are also buried. Most of these graves
are marked by simple metal markers, bearing only the inscription
"CSP Inmate", the later burials on Woodpecker Hill have names and
dates on the markers and a few families have provided regular stones.
|Grave of Edward Ives
Like all parts of the country, Fremont
County was greatly affected by the Civil War. Many veterans
from both sides are buried there. Whether by accident or humor,
the Confederate section is housed in the northern part and the GAR
section in the more southern section. A large pile of stones is
all that remains of the GAR memorial. A much more impressive monument
stands in the Confederate section, paid for by donations from the
Participants of several wars are interred there. Among them lie
Amanda Farnham Felch and her husband Marshall, both Civil War veterans.
She was an Army nurse, who served from July 1861- May 1865 with
the 3rd Reg. Vermont Vol. Inf. and the 6th Corps Army of the Potomac.
She served during the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg
and many others and later served under Dorthea Dix. Brevet General
Cameron and scores of other veterans from the Confederate and Union
ranks, Spanish American War, WW 1 and 2, Korea and Vietnam.
Other interesting gravesites include a stone bearing probable Chinese
characters marking a lone grave, many children's graves with ornate
lambs, sandstone towers, and an impressive ship's anchor.
|Grave of Loretta Heavner
Graves of the less famous but still remembered abound. The fenced
grave of Loretta Heavner, a 17 year old wife and mother who died
in childbirth, testifying to a descendant, the only record of her
relationship to her grandfather. Rev. Samuel McCorckle and Theophilas
McCorckle, whose descendant was equally thrilled to find their stones,
once vandalized and then repaired. Dr. Sarah Goff, an otherwise
forgotten early female doctor, is buried there as well.
Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery has a long and significant history.
The persons buried there have shaped not only the local history
of Caņon City, but in many instances the history of the state of
Colorado and the county of the United States.
- Mary Ann Thomas
Mary Ann Thomas
is a professional genealogist, is the Fremont County Coordinator
at the COGenWeb and the COGenExchange, and is a member of various
organizations including the National Genealogical Society. Visit
her own website "Lone