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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Pilarcitos

In 1820, Pilarcitos Cemetery was established as the Catholic cemetery for the coastal settlers and Indians. This land was later included in the rancho granted to José Tiburcio Vasquez by the Mexican Government.

This church was destroyed by fire in 1875. The bell from the church is now mounted permanently in front of our present church (shown in the photo). The site of the first church in Spanish Town became a cemetery and is now know as the Old Pilarcitos Cemetery on Highway 92.

Vasquez donated part of the land next and a frame church was built on the land adjacent to the cemetery. In 1868  Father Antoine Langlois was appointed as pastor to the Spanishtown (aka San Benito and Half Moon Bay) church.

Vasquez had intended that the family would be buried below the floor of the church.  However when the church burned in 1875 the cemetery was extended into the church grounds.  The grounds are now owned by the Arch-diocese of San Francisco.

You will find the earliest catholic settlers of the San Mateo Coast here the names including Guerrero, Casey, Valladeo and more.  They are Mexican, Chilean, Portuguese, Irish, etc.   

Pilarcitos is located on the north side of San Mateo Road (Highway 92) adjacent to the IOOF cemetery.  A new fence separates it from the adjacent IOOF Cemetery with arched gateways leading into each. 

The fence is welcome as it might eventually lead to a clean up of readings showing families in both cemeteries.  I suggest using Dana Chaliff's 2004 reading to determine which cemetery your ancestor is buried in and then using checking Find A Grave to see if a tombstone picture has been uploaded.

This cemetery is in a little better shape than the adjacent IOOF, but there are broken and toppled stones. There are also signs of repair and it is easier to walk through the grounds.   

Pilarcitos Cemetery was closed to new plot sales in 1923 and the last burial took place in 1964.

Main St. & Rt. 92, Half Moon Bay

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