Gibsonville 18 - Passport in Time

Go to content

Main menu:

Previous Projects > States A-F
Gibsonville Cemetery Passport in Time Project

Plumas National Forest, California, 2018
By Jamie Moore, Plumas NF Archaeologist
During the second week in September of 2018 eight volunteers and three archaeologists finished building the Gibsonville Cemetery. The Gibsonville Cemetery served the town of Gibsonville in Sierra County. Gibsonville was established in 1851 by James Gibson who staked a mining claim he called Secret Ravine. His camp eventually grew into the town of Gibsonville which by 1853 had five blacksmiths, eleven general stores, five hotels, a jeweler, four express companies, two sawmills, a bowling alley, two saloons, a lawyer, one newspaper and one livery stable. During the 1850’s miners from the surrounding area came to town on Sundays to watch bull and bear fights. Accounts from 1855 give a town population of 700 people which declined to 200 by the 1880’s. By the 1870’s there was an established Chinatown within Gibsonville. In the 1890’s the town continued to decline and by the 1920’s only four people still lived there. Large portions of the town were destroyed by hydraulic mining that took place during the 1930’s and 40’s. Today no standing buildings remain. The cemetery is now the most tangible link to this once thriving town. Currently the cemetery has forty-five marked graves which range in date from 1858 to 1999.  It also contains several unmarked graves.

Volunteers from New Mexico, Oregon and California helped finish the fence reconstruction that was started in 2013 with E Clampus Vitus. Work included digging post holes, cementing in large cedar fence post, notching the fence posts for rails and nailing on pickets. Finally at the end of the week the newly constructed portion of the fence was painted white. Volunteers camped through chilly evenings and endured cold mornings sometimes reaching 32 degrees. At the end of the project the Gibsonville Cemetery fence was complete. The effect to the cemetery is that one can now enter it and easily see the extent of the graveyard and it also accentuates just how steep the slopes are.
Back to content | Back to main menu