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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kirkwood in Amador County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Maiden's Grave

 
 
Maiden's Grave Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2006
1. Maiden's Grave Marker
Inscription. Broken dreams and hope, carried 2000 miles through scorching deserts and over loft mountains. At last...the sight of the promise land. Those of you who visit this grave carry a torch of love and hope (which this young girl lost), and pass it on, to generations unborn.

Rechall Melton was laid to rest here, on a cold and frosty morning, Oct. 4, 1850. Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.
 
Erected by Sharkey Begovich, Gardnerville, Nevada. (Marker Number 28.)
 
Location. 38° 37.908′ N, 120° 10.274′ W. Marker is in Kirkwood, California, in Amador County. Marker is on Carson Pass Scenic Byway (State Highway 88), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kirkwood CA 95646, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tragedy Spring (approx. 1.4 miles away); Mormon-Carson Pass Emigrant Trail (approx. 2 miles away); Plasse’s Trading Post (approx. 2.5 miles away); Plasse Resort (approx. 2.5 miles away); Peddler Hill Overlook (approx. 6.9 miles away); Kirkwood's
Maiden's Grave Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2006
2. Maiden's Grave Marker
Rechall Melton
Died
Oct.4, 1850
Native of Iowa
Erected by Guests at Kirkwood
1903
(approx. 7.2 miles away); Caples Lake (approx. 8 miles away); Summer Retreat (approx. 8.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Kirkwood.
 
More about this marker. This site has been designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No.28:
It is said that in 1850 a young girl, Rachel Melton, native of Iowa, was accompanying her parents on a journey west via covered wagon train when she became violently ill. Camp was made and every effort was made to cure her, as she was the joy of the party, but she passed away and was buried on this spot.
 
Additional comments.
1. An Error was Discovered
In the fall of 1850, a wagon train from Iowa worked its way over this pass. There was a young girl named Rachel who died near here and was buried in a meadow at the base of a large fir tree. Many years later, her mother returned and tried to find the grave but was unsuccessful. Some guests at the nearby Kirwood Inn, heard about it and they knew of a grave and assumed that it must be Rachel's grave. They also remembered that the grave was originally marked with a wooden board listing the name Melton and the date of October 4,
Maiden's Grave image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle
3. Maiden's Grave
1850. They donated a headstone for what they thought was Rachel Melton's resting place and for decades, this site was known as "The Maiden's Grave". It eventually became California’s 28th official historical landmark.
In 1986, the landowner of the meadow discovered the rock outline of a grave when he was clearing brush. As it turned out, this was the real grave of young Rachel, whose last name remains a mystery.
    — Submitted October 2, 2008, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.

 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesSettlements & Settlers
 
Who Is Really Buried in the Maiden's Grave image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2006
4. Who Is Really Buried in the Maiden's Grave
Who is the maiden? Who is buried here if not the maiden?
Maiden's Grave is a popular roadside stop that commemorates the death of a young woman during the overland migration in 1850. Around 1900 an elderly woman looking for the gravesite of her daughter started a series of events that identified the wrong grave as that of her daughter. At two different times, two headstones were installed at a location along busy Highway 88. This site came to honor the maiden and many others that died on their journey to California. Historical research in 1989 disclosed that a young man was buried here and that the young woman or maiden was buried in a meadow two miles to the east. On October 4, 1850, William Edmondson wrote in his diary, "After traveling 6 miles we came to Tragedy Springs...After traveling two miles further, we came to a trading post about noon where we camped having come 8 miles today. A young man from Henry County named Allen Melton died at this place during the night." Allen Melton was buried near here. No one knows the exact location because of highway realignment when rocks marking the original location were moved. This memorial commemorates the life and death of Allen Melton of Henry County, Iowa and all the others who suffered and died during the great western migration.
Dedicated October 4, 2004
Marker dedicated jointly with Amador County Sesquicentennial Committee, United States Forest Service, Amador County Historical Society, Oregon California Trails Association
Grave of Unknown Pioneer image. Click for full size.
By Frashers Foto
5. Grave of Unknown Pioneer
Near the summit of Carson Pass on the Alpine Highway across the High Sierras. Jackson, California to Carson Valley, Nevada
Maiden's Grave State Landmark Directional Sign image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, July 31, 2006
6. Maiden's Grave State Landmark Directional Sign
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 4,925 times since then and 17 times this year. Last updated on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   3. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   4. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   5. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.   6. submitted on , by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page was last revised on December 22, 2016.
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