When I get in my car and drive south for 10 minutes I see a cemetery called ‘Fourmile Cemetary.” The name is familiar to me because people in the area use it when they give directions. For the past ten years I’ve had to admit to them that I didn’t know where it was, despite the many times I’ve passed it on the road. So, this morning I decided to go find this landmark.
Fourmile Cemetary is located in the Fourmile Community, which was not an incorporated town. It lies about four miles from the western boundary of Cripple Creek, Colorado. It is marked by only a few farms and ranches and, of course, has a great view of Pikes Peak. The cemetery, which is still in active use, was plotted out by David P. Long who was a circuit preacher and rancher in the region well over a century ago. It wasn’t much to look at when I first drove up but when I walked up into the tree area my interest was peaked.
I must admit to having a certain fascination with cemeteries. The oldest tombstones always arouse my curiosity leaving me to wonder about the lives these people lived. Accordingly, my interest was peaked when I discovered that the oldest tombstone marked the life of a man born in Cornwall, England in 1819.
This may not seem like an old date to you readers back east but to those of us living in what was once a western territory it seems odd. How does someone from England wind up in the middle of the Rocky Mountains when this region was simply a territory? The 1858 discovery of gold caused a population boom in Colorado and perhaps that is what drew him here. ( I googled him when I got home and discovered he was an assayer). This man was here when President Ulysses S. Grant issued the proclamation of statehood in 1876.
My favorite kind of tombstone is like an obelisk and marks several family members on each of the four sides. It is often a mother with her children, that is, if they die in their youth. What a hard life these pioneer mountain women had! There were many, many tombstones of infants, toddlers and children.
This tombstone marks the sad story of two daughters who died in their infancy. There is no day of birth listed. There is no day of death. Did they die in their mother’s womb? Did they die together? Their parents loved them enough to give them names which leads one to believe they were held and cherished for a time.
And then there are untold stories of lovers who shared a lifetime together.
A bench to share – together forever. An untold story of love. A couple dying within one year of each other.
Names I’ve not heard in my lifetime. Rhuhama. Male or female?
Unusual tombstones made by the Woodmen of the World commemorating one of their fellow woodmen.
Does anyone know what that is about?
Stones to commemorate lives.
And let’s not forget the tombstone of the modern cowboy………