San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Sunset View

San Francisco’s Cemetery for the Paupers and the Indigent

By Russ Brabec

The San Francisco City Cemetery [also known as the Golden Gate Cemetery] at the site of the present day Palace of Legion of Honor was ordered closed in 1898, to the pleasure of the Outer Richmond District residents of San Francisco.  No burials were to be made after March 1898.  With nowhere to bury these souls, undertakers searched for land that would be approved as a new paupers cemetery.  A. Verkonteren in 1899 saw the benefit of burying paupers on property that he thought he owned in northern San Mateo County.  His widow, Olive Verkonteren, quickly sold the land in 1899, and the cemetery operated by the Hagen brothers, James, Joseph, and William, grew to encompass a full square block of the Abbey Homestead Association subdivision east side of Hillside Boulevard. The ledger books containing the burials, which for a long time were thought to be lost, were given in 2013 to the Colma Historical Association by Olivet Memorial Park. The books cover the years 1901-1904, 1907-1919 and 1922-1948.  The book for the period 1905 and 1906 may have been lost in the 1906 earthquake and fire, and burials because of that event may have overwhelmed the record keeping. The cemetery is not maintained and the gravestones were removed many years ago. "The land is currently owned by the privately held Cypress Abbey Corporation." 

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