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Mountain Green Cemetery

Article Date: 
4 May, 2012 (All day)

The beautiful cemetery that stands on the hill behind the LDS Ward on the old Highway Rd. in Mountain Green was the original pioneer burying grounds for the pioneer community. It was laid out in 1860 on land that was owned by David Bowman Bybee.  He sold .45 acre to the settlement of Mountain Green to provide a place of burial for early settlers.

It is believed the first burial was of Betsy Corey Spaulding; she was born in 1861 and died the same year.  “One year later, lacking a day, her mother, Elizabeth Corey Spaulding, was buried on the hill beside her baby daughter.”

Other young children of the pioneers were buried there who died from illness and accidents.  “In one instance a group of pioneers, traveling to Salt Lake City by way of Trappers Loop, were caught in a blizzard.  A Mrs. Joseph Jones gave birth to a baby who died.  The grieving parents tried to find the cemetery and supposed they had when they buried the child. On a return trip they discovered, much to their dismay, that this was not so.  The little grave was never located.”

In the old cemetery, there were approximately 30 white people and several Indians. A gravestone bearing the name of Penrod, born in 1799, is located there. It is also thought, but not confirmed, that some Railroad workers who were killed while laying tracks for the railroad in Weber Canyon are buried there.

Originally, across the road was a Limestone L.D.S meetinghouse where funerals for loved ones were held.  Even before that, a smaller one room log meetinghouse further down in the field was used.  Most of the funerals in those times were held as near to the cemetery as possible, because of the slow traveling methods.  Most every settlement had a cemetery for the local population.

Later, the original entrance was blocked off due to development, but in the beginning, the only entrance was a gravel road, off of Highway 30, just East of Dry Creek and ascended up through the barnyard of former residents Darrell France and Austin Winchester.  Later this entrance was closed, and a new right of way was formed due east in 1981, and a graded and graveled road put in. This entrance still exits along with the present one near  the church.

In early days, all the preparations for the deceased were done locally by the friends, relatives or usually the Relief Society sisters.  The viewings were held in homes, people sat up with the deceased all night, and usually a wreath of flowers would be fastened to the front door of the house to show honor to those living there.  Flowers for the funeral were shipped from Ogden and would arrive early the day of the burial.   ”In the winter times, caskets had to be transported to the cemetery in sleighs and wagons, depending on the weather conditions.”

Gradually, improvements were made.  “In 1940, Elwood Williams and hired men built a fence around the cemetery to prevent animals from trampling over the graves.  A gate at the west side allowed friends and loved ones to visit this out-of-the-way burial spot.” 

In 1987, Robert W. Poll, then stake president was prompted to enlarge, and beautify the old Mountain Green cemetery.  In a description written by Elma Dickson, in 1981, she said “the hill [is] covered with abundant growth of sagebrush, prickly pear, needle grass and purple larkspur.”  Perhaps this wasn’t the cemetery itself, but the land around the cemetery but at any rate, it was a “pioneer” cemetery.   Now, the cemetery is covered in grass, surrounded by pine trees and has the feeling of a park.  There are several stone benches, one being a grave stone with a seat so that visitors can sit and contemplate and look at the beautiful mountains that surround the valley. Memorial Day observances have been held each year.

Under President Poll’s direction, the cemetery was enlarged to two acres; land was exchanged and donated by Kent Smith, Dale Smedley, and Robert Poll. Fifty loads of topsoil were brought in and leveled out by Harry Wilkinson and Dale Smedley.  A water sprinkling system was installed by members of the community who donated their time.

A chain link fence was installed by the Roylance Fence Co., and 150 blue spruce were donated by Dave Gold Nursery and planted by the boy scouts in the area. Grass seed was planted by Jim Zieglowsky.  About 1983, at the time all these improvements were made, a wooden sign made by Butch and Max Robinson, was erected at the south entrance.

People who had loved ones buried there helped raise the headstones to their proper height, and some families moved loved ones who were buried elsewhere to the cemetery.  Many, many hours were spent by those of the community:  Eagle Scout projects and young men and young women service projects helped maintain and improve the grounds. This renovation was a labor of love. 

The cemetery is owned by the Mountain Green L.D.S. Ward, and the Verl J. Poll family have been the sextons since the 1980’s. For many years, the Poll family the Smith family  and the Smedley family provided the water for the cemetery.  In the past two years, a perpetual care fund was set up, funded by the families who own plots in the cemetery, to continue to maintain its beauty.

A Commemorative stone was placed by the East Entrance in 1997 which tells about the Warner family and settling the valley.  On the back and front of Verl and June  Poll’s headstone, there are carvings of the early landmarks of the valley:  Devils Gate, the Railroad, the first school and church, the School Bus (wagon), Honeymoon cottage as well as the Poll’s Dairy Farm.   It is a unique cemetery;  one that pays respect to those who have gone before.

Sources for this article are a Morgan County Historical Society article written by Elma Dickson, passages from Mountain Green the Beautiful, and Robert W. Poll.