Homer Hoagland of Sun City probably has more cemeteries on his ranch than anyone else in the country. Four cemeteries are located on his land, and another one is just across the fence.
The Old Cemetery is about a half mile north of Sun City, on top of a big hill. The burial ground is located in the pasture and the stones have, with few exceptions been broken down or melted away. The cattle graze over the hill and naturally, as no effort is made to preserve the graves, the last resting place of those who were buried there in the early days is rapidly reverting back into pasture land. The majority of the remaining tombstones bear the dates of those who died in the late seventies or early eighties. The earliest date is 1873. Several cedar trees were planted on top of the hill years ago, and are of goodly size at this time. A main traveled road has been cut through the cemetery and many automobiles pass the early day graves. When the road was opened up some ten or twelve years ago a grave was found, containing only a few bones and a piece of what was thought to be a vest. All that could be found were gathered together and reburied although there was absolutely nothing to indicate who it was whose final resting place had been disturbed to make way for modern progress. There are probably two acres in the Old Cemetery, which contains about thirty graves.
At a later date an effort was made to locate the cemetery a mile and a half north of Sun City, on the ranch of Mr. Cornish, just across the fence from Mr. Hoagland’s pasture. There are several graves in this spot but with the exception of a lone grave which has an iron fence around it, all of them are melting away and will soon be forgotten.
This cemetery was too hard to get to so another cemetery the new and one used today, was located a mile east of Sun City, with half of it on Mr. Hoagland’s land and the other half-acre on the land of Mr. Hastings. This cemetery is modern and taken care of by the Baptist organization of that community.
Then there are two other burying grounds on the land owned by Mr. Hoagland, with only a grave or two in each place, so far as is known at this time. One lone grave is in a field about a mile and a half north east of Sun City. This grave is marked with a stone which bears the single word "Lamb". Then in the pasture there are several other graves, but none of them are marked so they can be identified at this time.
Then in addition to these four burying grounds and the one just across the fence on the Cornish ranch, there is what is thought to be the graves of several Indians in the Hoagland pasture. At least there are some stones set up in a peculiar way which has left the belief that the spot must have been used by the Indians for burying their dead.
Mr. Hoagland would be very glad to have any of the relatives of those who are buried in these places come and remove the bodies to the new cemetery where they will be given proper attention. It is only a matter of a few short years until all trace of the graves will be lost. Any number of the graves have no marker of any kind even at this time, the only evidence of a grave being a stone of some sort, with no name or date, or the ground has sunken away, showing where there is a grave. Many graves cannot be distinguished at this time at all, and soon all will be forgotten.
A trip to these old cemeteries brings the realization that every effort should be made to mark every grave at the earliest possible moment. The early day pioneers were obliged to bury their dead in the spots most available, and with some it was the custom to bury their dead on their own land. In the east it is a common sight to see the tomb-stone of some member of the family marking his final resting place in the yard to one side of the house.
Sun City has an interesting history of its early days and many a thrilling story could possibly be woven around some of the four cemeteries on the 810 acre ranch of Homer Hoagland north of the city.
Thanks to Kim Fowles for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of Kim Fowles and many other Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 17 July 2005 and last updated 5 May 2006.