Custer County, Colorado
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Contributed by Karen Mitchell.
San Isabel View Cemetery Hillside, Colorado
Assumption Catholic Cemetery, Silver Cliff,
Hope Lutheran Cemetery Westcliff, Colorado.
Rosita Cemetery Rosita, Colorado
Silver Cliff Cemetery Silver Cliff, Colorado
Small Family Cemeteries and Cremations
The Pines Cemetery aka Cusack Cemetery
Ula Cemetery Ula, Colorado
Wet Mountain Tribune 5-22-2003 - History is Alive and Well at Area
Cemeteries - As Americans remember their fallen heroes on Memorial Day,
many families also set aside time to remember loved ones who have passed
on. A visit to the cemetery where soldiers or other loved ones are buried
to decorate the graves is one tradition of remembrance. Scattered around
Custer County are numerous cemeteries dating back to the mid-1800s.
Exploring the cemeteries -- even if no loved ones are buried there -- can
be an adventure, with the headstones marking each grave telling brief stories of people who once lived here.
North of Westcliffe in Hillside is the Hillside cemetery. The cemetery's
name was recently changed to San Isabel View cemetery when research
revealed another Hillside cemetery that predates the local graveyard. There
are approximately 330 graves at the cemetery, many of which hold the
remains of Civil War veterans. The oldest grave dates back to the mid 1800s. Burial records for the San Isabel View
cemetery are in the care of Rod Carpenter, 942-4253.
Cemeteries in Silver Cliff are the Catholic cemetery and the Silver Cliff
town cemetery, both located off Mill Street. The Catholic cemetery recorded
its first death in 1881, and the first official use of its name was in
1909. Burial records are housed at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic
Church, 109 S. Fifth St., Westcliffe. Silver
Cliff's town cemetery encompasses 10 acres and includes 1,576 burial plots.
More than 600 graves are at the cemetery, with the earliest dating back to
1880. For those interested in observing more than headstones, the Silver
Cliff cemetery is famous for blue lights seen flickering over the graves on
overcast nights. The first reported sighting of the lights was in 1882. An
article published by "National Geographic" magazine 100 years
after the first sighting in the 1980s, carried the story of the lights
outside of the Valley. While speculations about what the lights are range from wandering spirits to town lights
reflecting off low clouds, no scientific explanation has been offered for
their cause. Burial records and other information for the Silver Cliff
cemetery are stored at the town hall, 612 Main in Silver Cliff.
The Wet Mountain Valley also is home to two cemeteries: Hope Lutheran
cemetery and Ula cemetery. Hope Lutheran
cemetery, located off Colony Road south of Westcliffe, has graves dating
back to 1872. One of the early-day Lutheran churches was located next to
the cemetery but it was razed when the present-day Hope Lutheran Church was
built in Westcliffe in 1917. Many of the headstones are written in German
script, a reminder of the German families who were among the first settlers
in the Valley. And although Silver Cliff's cemetery boasts about strange
flickering lights, the Lutheran cemetery has its own story that reveals the
meaning of the name: Wet Mountain Valley. According to the story, the
Lutheran cemetery was originally located elsewhere on the Valley floor but
the water table was so high it was almost impossible to bury people there.
When the cemetery was finally moved to its current location on higher
ground, one of the coffins was so full of water it was too heavy to lift.The Lutheran cemetery's burial records are in the
care of Harold Godbersen, who has been the graveyard's
caretaker for years. Reach Godbersen at 783-2247.
Ula cemetery is located northwest of Westcliffe
off the Pines Road (County Road 170). Land for the cemetery was donated in
1872 and again in 2000 by the Kettle family who were among the Valley's earliest
settlers. The cemetery now has 516 lots with two grave sites on each.
Memorials and gifts help pay for upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery.
The Pines, a private cemetery with the graves of the Cusack family, is also
near Westcliffe. The cemetery is located west of the historic Pines Ranch;
its records are kept by Kay Jensen, of Fowler, Colo., a descendant of the
Cusack family who were among the early English settlers here.
Rosita cemetery, located on Rosita Road, has more than 650 graves, with the
earliest dating back to 1873. Among the notables buried in the Rosita
cemetery is Carl Wulsten,
the leader of the original German colony that settled here, and George
Beardsley, who opened the Valley's first bank. Jackie Hobby, a member of
the Rosita Cemetery Association, described the graveyard as "a very
sad cemetery because there are a lot of children buried there who died
during the early 1900s" from cholera, the flu and other epidemics.
Hobby said there are also many unmarked graves in the cemetery. She asked
that anyone who may be descendants of people buried in unmarked graves at
the cemetery contact her at 783-2339. Burial records for the cemetery also
are available by contacting Hobby.
New Hope Cemetery is located northeast of Wetmore off County Road 295. The
cemetery's caretaker, Burl Stearns, said it is one of Colorado's oldest
Baptist cemeteries, with graves dating back to 1878. Complete burial
records for the Valley's cemeteries are also available at the library in
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