Historic Parkville Cemetery
● By Jon Lewis
The Rest is History
Story and Photos by Jon Lewis
ALBERT CLEVELAND RICHARDSON had only reached the tender age of 18 months when his life ended in 1889, but in that brief stretch of time, he made an indelible impression on his doting parents. John and Belle had this touching inscription engraved on the headstone that marked their son’s grave in the historic Parkville Cemetery:
“It’s a little grave, but O, have care
For Worldwide hopes are buried there;
How much of light, how much joy,
Is buried with our darling boy.”
There was but one problem with this little vignette from Shasta County’s history: little Albert’s headstone was in a flower bed in the backyard of a home in Happy Valley, some 16 miles from the Parkville Road cemetery where it belonged.
Lisa Yrigollen discovered it last year buried in her yard. At first she thought it was a pretty rock, and then she realized it was a child’s headstone. After cleaning it up, she asked around at local cemeteries to see if they were missing any headstones. She packed it up and brought it with her when she moved to Anderson, despite her daughter’s misgivings.
The mystery was solved earlier this year when Yrigollen saw a Facebook post about another misplaced headstone and how Anderson historian Ron Jolliff was able to connect it with John Gillespie, who died in 1897 and was buried at the Redding Cemetery.
Yrigollen brought the headstone, which she called her “Little Albert,” to Jolliff, who in turn consulted with Sherry Miller, president of the Parkville Cemetery board of directors, and within a day the headstone was linked to the Richardson family plot. It was reinstalled in July in a simple yet heartfelt ceremony.
Yrigollen says that although she enjoyed having the headstone, she was relieved and overjoyed to see it back in the Parkville Cemetery. Of its previous resting spot, she says, “I felt, deep down inside, that it did not belong there.”
Miller and the other directors of the Parkville Cemetery were also happy to have the headstone back home. Preserving and protecting the final resting place of some of Shasta County’s early pioneers is the cherished mission of the board members.
Miller discovered the cemetery 11 years ago while on a tour led by historian Dottie Smith and she became intrigued. During her career as a TWA flight attendant, Miller made a habit of visiting Civil War cemeteries during her travels, and learning of a Civil War-era cemetery so close to Redding was a thrill. Plus, “this one looked like it needed some help and protection from the public.”
Miller soon joined the seven-member board that owns and maintains Parkville Cemetery. Over the years, help arrived through community cleanups, Boy Scout projects, the generous donation from Holiday Market founder Rich Morgan of a rock wall and the contribution of an additional five acres of land by board member Sandy DuBose.
Sandy’s late husband, Dave DuBose, a longtime Shasta College instructor, is buried at Parkville Cemetery “and I will be too,” she says.
Although privately owned, the cemetery is open to the public. Parkville is no longer accepting burials in its historic section, where there are approximately 200 gravesites, but sites are available in the newer annex, Miller says.
A tour of the headstones and markers tells a story of Shasta County’s colorful past, when brave families traveled across the country in covered wagons to make their home in the North State. Some were attracted by the allure of gold, others by the promise of affordable farmland.
Climena Harrington Klotz, who died in 1864 at the age of 16 due to complications during childbirth, was the first to buried in Parkville Cemetery. Her daughter, Climena Grace, survived and went on to deliver nine children of her own.
Marilyn Rountree, a genealogist and advisor to the Parkville Cemetery board, says she knew she had a relative buried at Parkville and after some diligent research, she determined that Climena was her great-great aunt. Climena’s much younger sister, Cinderella Harrington, was Rountree’s great-grandmother.
Rountree went on to investigate the stories behind others buried at Parkville, including the Giles and Wilcox families. Rosena Giles, who was laid to rest in the cemetery, was a noted historian and author of the “Shasta County Centennial Edition.” Another Parkville occupant,
Elbert Wilcox, expanded his family’s turn-of-the-century ranch into one of Shasta County’s largest. His father, William Wilcox, was the ranch foreman for Maj. Pierson B. Reading, who received the Rancho Buena Ventura land grant in 1844. The land grant encompassed the present-day cities of Anderson, Cottonwood and Redding.
“We have the daughter of a blacksmith from the Lewis and Clark expedition buried there and two of her children and two of her grandchildren,” Miller says. William Jefferson Davis, who was buried in Parkville Cemetery in 1918, served as a Pony Express rider, Miller adds.
Familiar family names include Dersch—the headstone for Marie Dersch notes she was “killed by Indians” in 1866—and Darrah. An early settler in the area, Simon Darrah is credited with establishing Darrah Springs near Manton, which is now home to the Darrah Springs Trout Hatchery. The Lack (Lack Creek) and Thatcher (Thatcher Lumber) families are also well represented in Parkville, as are relatives of Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko.
A framework of blue pipes surrounds the grave of Joseph Walter Kohn, a U.S. Navy veteran who was laid to rest in 1988. Miller says she was unaware of the pipes’ significance until the day a visitor stopped by and asked if he could see the gravesites of the 10 veterans known to be buried at Parkville.
The gentleman, a veteran himself, told Miller the pipes are an homage to the Naval tradition of “manning the rails,” a formation sailors would use to honor the President of the United States or whenever a ship would steam past the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
In essence, Miller says, “he told me the blue rails signify that he had entered into rest in his home port.”
Parkville Cemetery • www.parkvillecemetery.com
1621 Markville Road (half-mile south of Dersch Road)
Open to the public during day light hours