Location of Adams County within Colorado ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO The COGenWeb Project

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The Pioneer Cemetery is located directly inside Brighton’s south city limits.  The cemetery is located on a rise of wasteland on the land belonging to M. E. Black.  The land is situated about one-half mile northwest of the Elmwood Cemetery.  The Pioneer Cemetery is sometimes incorrectly referred to as The Black Cemetery, because of its location on their land.

Pioneer Cemetery
Pioneer Cemetery


Back in 1859, James and Mary Blundell came to Colorado with ideas of the "Gold Rush."  They had little luck mining and so came to present day Brighton to homestead.  James Blundell staked out his 80 acres in the Spring of 1860.  This land was the "North half of the northwest quarter of Section 13, Township, South of Range 67, West in the district of land for sale at Denver City, Colorado Territory."

Gravestones of William and Mary Blundell
Gravestones of William and Mary Blundell


James Blundell Deed
James Blundell's Property Deed


Thomas Donelson and his wife, Laura Aiken Donelson, came to Colorado from Ohio with James and Mary Blundell.  Thomas Donelson bought the land next to the Blundells, described in the deed as the "South half of the northwest quarter of Section 13 and the southeast quarter of Section 14 in Township one South of Range 67 West in the district of lands subject to sale at Denver City, Colorado containing One Hundred and Twenty acres."

Thomas Donelson built the first frame house between Ft. Lupton and Denver on his land.

In 1864 Laura Donelson died and was buried in the cemetery with Mary Blundell.

Thomas Donelson had a son, James E. in 1860.  James died in 1869 and was buried with his mother.


Thomas Donelson's Deed


Thomas Donelson had a daughter, Mary M. Donelson. She married the neighbor boy, William Blundell.

William & Mary Blundell
William and Mary Blundell


There are sixteen headstones in the Pioneer Cemetery.  All of the people buried there are members of the Donelson or Blundell families, close friends of the two families or else neighbors.  The headstones belong to:

Mary Laura Blundell, wife of James Blundell, born in 1823 in Illinois, died of typhoid fever April 18, 1863.

James Blundell, born 1815 in Illinois, served in Blackhawk War, died in 1884.

William Blundell, son of James Blundell, born August 13, 1843, died November 24, 1911.

Mary H. Blundell, wife of William Blundell, born in 1852, died in 1917.

Hugh Blundell, born in 1880, died in 1918.

Laura Donelson, wife of Thomas Donelson, born in 1827 in Illinois, died in 1864.

James E. Donelson, son of Thomas Donelson, born in 1860, died in 1869.

William T. Donelson, born 1834, died 1935.

Mary Blundell Carlson, wife of John Carlson, born in 1871, died in 1905.

Hugh McMillan, born May 19, 1919, died July 14, 1933.

Alice McMillan, born in 1891, died in 1935.

Mrs. Belle Houle, died January 17, 1906.

Pearle L. Houle, died October 17, 1918.


Julius Houle, died May 3, 1926.

Louisa M. Talbot, wife of Robert Talbot, born May 4, 1854, died March 18, 1893.

The property which once belonged to James Blundell was sold to M. E. Black.  There is no date of this transaction.  The cemetery itself was never sold, or legally passed down from generation to generation.  Presently, Hattie McCoy claims ownership of the land that the cemetery is on.

A woven-wire fence surrounds the cemetery.  On the west side, the Pioneer Cemetery is bordered by a small man-made pond.  There are sixteen headstones, some are broken and crumbling.  There has also been a few new headstones added to replace the older ones.  In the middle is a small area, surrounded by a high, black, spear-tipped fence.  The reason for the fence is unknown.  Every spring, a family get-together is planned.  The family cleans up the small, private cemetery. Mrs. Mccoy states that no members of the present family plan to be buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.


Pioneer Cemetery Plot Plan



1. Mary Laura Gillham Blundell 1823-1863

2. Laura Donelson 1827-1864

3. James E. Donelson 1860—1869

4. James Blundell 1815—1884

5. Louisa M. Talbot 1854—1893

6. Mary A. Donelson 1838-1905

7. Mary Blundell Carlson 1871—1905

8. Mrs. Belle Houle ?—1906

9. William Blundell 1843—1911

10. Mary M. Blundell 1852—1917

11. Pearle L. Houle ?-1918

12. Hugh Blundell 1880—1918

13. Julius Houle ?—1926

14. Hugh McMillan 1919—1933

15. Alice McMillan 1891—1935

16. William T. Donelson 1834—1935


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I do not live in Colorado so I am unable to help with your personal research questions. All the information I know about Adams  County is posted promptly on this site. Please visit the "Research Resources" section of this site. I would suggest that if you don't find the information your looking for here, that you join the email list and post your question on the query board. The more places you ask the question, the better your chances of getting an answer.


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