California - Plumas NF
Gibsonville Cemetery Passport in Time Project
September 10-14, 2018
Must commit to entire session
Join us this fall for a unique project on the beautiful Plumas National Forest! The Gibsonville Cemetery served the Sierra County town of Gibsonville from its establishment in 1851 until its abandonment in the 1920s. The site was first settled 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 1850s, 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 and, by the 1870s, included an established Chinatown. Unfortunately, for whatever reason(s), the town declined to 200 by the 1880s, and by the 1920s, only four people still lived there. Large portions of the town were destroyed by hydraulic mining that took place during the 1930s and ‘40s; 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.
The cemetery was maintained by family members into the 1950s. Since then, it has fallen into disrepair and the fence that once surrounded it deteriorated to a few scattered pieces of wood. In 2011, the Plumas NF started an effort to clean up the cemetery and remove hazard trees and rebuild the fence that once surrounded the graveyard. In 2011, dogs from the Institute for Canine Forensics were used to find the extent of the cemetery and locate unmarked graves. Since 2012, the Feather River Hot Shots have been able to remove large standing hazard trees both within and surrounding the cemetery. Starting in 2013, volunteers, including many from the group E Clampus Vitus, have been able to construct about half the fence around the cemetery. This year we would like to finish its construction, and repair some snow damage that has occurred over the past two winters. This is an opportunity not only to stroll through history, but to protect and preserve this landmark; perhaps adding that last touch of beauty and peace for those who rest here, and who lived and remember the heyday of Gibsonville! We hope to see you in September!
Number of openings: 10
Special skills: Previous construction, fencing, ground maintenance, and/or interest in historic graves and landmarks helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 16 years old, under 18 with a responsible adult
Facilities: Tent camping at nearby FS campground at no charge; flush toilet, potable water; La Porte and Quincy are full-service communities with motels, RV parks, and a full range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment/day pack, meals, extra water, and transportation to designated meeting areas
Nearest towns: La Porte, 5 miles; Quincy, 33 miles
Applications due: July 16, 2018