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Volcanoville in El Dorado County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
The Josephine Mine Cemetery
 
The Josephine Mine Cemetery Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Jeff Schmidt, September 12, 2013
1. The Josephine Mine Cemetery Marker
 
Inscription. The Josephine Mine was an integral part of the 1849 California Gold Rush and remained in operation until 1937. This cemetery is the final resting place of some of the pioneers that forged the western frontier and veterans of early American wars. The cemetery and the surrounding property were donated to the Native Sons of the Golden West - Georgetown Parlor #91 by Vera Fraser on February 11, 1974 to ensure its stewardship and preservation.

Dedicated as a "Pioneer Cemetery" August 10, 2013
Native Sons of the Golden West
Dwight A. Dutschke
Grand President

In Memory of
James D. Phelan
United States Senator
 
Erected 2013 by Native Sons of the Golden West. (Marker Number 137-03.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West marker series.
 
Location. 38° 58.788′ N, 120° 47.353′ W. Marker is in Volcanoville, California, in El Dorado County. Marker can be reached from Paymaster Mine Road 0.7 miles south of Volcanoville Road. Click for map. From Hwy 193 in Georgetown, turn into town (northeast) on Main Street (Main Street turns into Wentworth Springs Road) and continue for 8.3 miles to Volcanoville Road. Turn left and continue for 6.9 miles (at about 2.7 miles take the right fork at the fire station) to Paymaster Mine Road. Turn left on Paymaster Mine Road and continue for 0.6 to 0.7 miles. Turn right on the, as yet, unnamed forest road for about 1/4 mile to the cemetery at the end of the road.

I highly recommend studying a map before attempting to locate this site. Marker is in this post office area: Georgetown CA 95634, United States of America.
 
The Josephine Mine Cemetery Monument Photo, Click for full size
By Jeff Schmidt, September 12, 2013
2. The Josephine Mine Cemetery Monument
 

 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Foresthill Protestant Cemetery (approx. 2.9 miles away); Foresthill School Bell (approx. 3.1 miles away); St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Bell (approx. 3.1 miles away); Foresthill General Store (approx. 3.2 miles away); Forest Hill (approx. 3.2 miles away); Compressed Air Engine (approx. 3.2 miles away); Michigan Bluff (approx. 5.1 miles away); Michigan Bluff to Last Chance (approx. 5.1 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  2nd Regiment of Cavalry, Massachusetts Volunteers (The California 100 and the California Cavalry Bat. The history of the California 100 including John L. Hunter who now rests in the Josephine Mine Cemetery (Submitted on August 14, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Josephine Mine Cemetery; The Dedication That Almost Wasn’t
“Hey, your cemetery is on fire!” That phone call from Past Grand President Jim Shadle almost made my knees buckle. We had been at the cemetery site in Volcanoville, 16 miles up-country from Georgetown barely two hours before installing the gate arbor and sign for the Josephine Mine Cemetery. Three of us had been on fire watch while
 
The Josephine Mine Cemetery & Monument Photo, Click for full size
By Jeff Schmidt, September 12, 2013
3. The Josephine Mine Cemetery & Monument
 
Shane and Nick did the necessary welding and grinding. Had we missed something? We were about to turn ourselves in when I got a call, again from PGP Shadle, informing that the fire now raging out of control had originated some one mile further down the road in Frazierville. While it was a relief to know we had not been responsible for starting the conflagration, we could just imagine the ruined marble headstones and melted sign and fencing. The scheduled Grand Parlor dedication and ground breaking for the NSGW Cemetery and Memorial Park was just a week away.

The next morning saw nine of us going to the site to assess the damage. As we approached the cemetery, we were greeted with a still intact arbor, fence, and sign. All through the blackened skeletons of manzanita and madrone, yellow fire hoses hung like Christmas tinsel. Still burning stumps added even more smoke to the heavily laden air. It appeared the efforts of Cal-Fire and the U.S. Forest Service were successful in stopping the fire a mere 30 feet from the cemetery itself by an accurate drop of fire retardant from an air tanker. The bad news was that all the graves, headstones, fencing, and sign were covered in what looked like dried strawberry milkshake. While some of us speculated if it could be made presentable in time for the scheduled dedication and ground breaking, Nick and Shane were already on the cell phone
 
The Josephine Mine Cemetery Dedication Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
4. The Josephine Mine Cemetery Dedication
Master of Ceremonies Don Henderson at the podium. Left to right along the fence - Grand Inside Sentinel Jeff Schmidt, Grand 3rd VP Paul Lapachet, Grand 2nd VP Tim Tullius, Grand President Dwight Dutschke, Past Grand President James Shadle and Guest Speaker and author Guy Nixon.

Members of the Growlersburg VFW Post #9241 at the extreme left of the picture.
 
arranging to bring a pressure washer to do a clean up. So, largely through their efforts, the dedication was still on!

What a dedication it was! The day, Saturday, August 10th, started at 8 a.m. with a fine breakfast prepared by Bill Arsenith and crew in the historic IOOF hall in Georgetown. Around 10 all guests and participants made their way up-country to Volcanoville, formerly known as Josephine, to the middle of nowhere it seemed, and the historic Josephine Mine Cemetery. It looked fabulous with patriotic bunting on the fence and all the headstones sparkling clean.

The event began at 11 a.m. with a short introduction and cemetery history before the presentation of colors by the Growlersburg VFW Post #9241 followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Grand Marshal Jim Brazil. Grand President Dwight Dutschke and team then commenced the always-beautiful dedication ceremony. After Grand President Dutschke’s introduction of team members, which included PGP Jim Shadle, G1stVP Tim Tullius, G3rdVP Paul Lapachet, and Grand Inside Sentinel Jeff Schmidt, a member of a pioneer family of Josephine, Guy Nixon, gave a brief history of the area and its colorful inhabitants.

How Georgetown Parlor came into possession of the cemetery was in 1974 when Vera Frazier transferred title of the site, and the surrounding one-acre, via quitclaim to the parlor with the expectation
 
Honoring A Veteran Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
5. Honoring A Veteran
Members of the Growlersburg VFW Post #9241 salute a fallen veteran.
 
it would be restored and maintained in perpetuity. After the project lay fallow for some four decades while Georgetown Parlor went through the process of re-inventing itself several times over, Brother Dennis Aufdenkamp with a group of hardy souls decided about three years ago to find the path into the old cemetery. Choked by huge manzanita and toyon brush, the trail was barely walkable. It took several trips with chainsaws and a tractor before vehicle access was achieved. The group managed to clear a good path and remove the brush from inside the graveyard. Then Brother Jeff Schmidt decided to make this project his and did so with a passion. Working countless hours he, along with Brother Cliff Pierce, formed a committee, produced by-laws, perfected the title, obtained funds through the raffle of black powder guns and the sale of pins, ribbons and shirts, organized ground projects for clean-up and brush removal, obtained a grant from the NSGW Historical Preservation Foundation, established a NSGW Cemetery and Memorial Park and managed to bring the restoration project to fruition with a dedication. His, and the efforts of the committee and many volunteers, is what being a Native Son is all about as well as being “The Right Thing To Do.”

One of the best portions of the day’s activities at the cemetery was the ceremony and rifle salute to the fallen veterans given
 
Twenty-one Gun Salute Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
6. Twenty-one Gun Salute
Growlersburg VFW Post #9241
 
by the VFW Post #9241. It was extremely moving and well performed; a fitting tribute to those who served our country and fought in the Civil War, the Spanish-American war and World War One and now lay in eternal repose in the newly restored cemetery in Josephine.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the NSGW Cemetery and Memorial Park adjacent the cemetery site saw the shovels wielded by the entire Cemetery Committee headed by Chairman Jeff Schmidt. Then Reverend Peter Y. Cool (also known as Brother Jerry Pozo, Auburn Parlor #59) did a tremendous blessing of the proposed cemetery and memorial park. While listening to his elegant blessing it was like being transported back in time. It was easy to imagine being in a beautiful, albeit scorched, setting in the mid 1800’s and hearing a sermon such as was delivered. It was simply wonderful.

After concluding all activities at the site, guests and participants gathered at Grand Inside Sentinel Jeff Shmidt and his wife Derren’s Mt. Cedar Ranch and Vineyard for a wonderful repast again prepared by Bill Arsenith and crew. One of the highlights of the gathering, in addition to the beautiful setting, was some top quality country/rock music that just seemed to get better as the day went on. The musicians were fantastic to say the least! The trio consisted of Georgetown Parlor member Steve Ide and Mark Spaugh. Conrad Nelson who is
 
A.E. French Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
7. A.E. French
November 1883
An infant girl
 
to be inducted into the Country-Rock Hall of Fame this October joined them. It really was good.

To say this dedication and celebration of the restoration of the Josephine Mine Cemetery and the ground breaking for the NSGW Cemetery and Memorial Park was a monumental achievement for Georgetown Parlor #91 and The Native Sons of the Golden West as an organization is an understatement! We sincerely hope you enjoyed it!

By Former Grand Marshall Don Henderson, Georgetown Parlor #91
    — Submitted March 10, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California.
 
John L. Hunter Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
8. John L. Hunter
Pvt Company A
2nd Massachusetts Cavalry
(A member of the "California 100", Californians that served in the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry in the Civil War)
 
 
John Wesley Edmondson Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
9. John Wesley Edmondson
16th U.S. Infantry Regiment
Mexican War
 
 
Almon E Wilder Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
10. Almon E Wilder
Pvt Company G
100th Illinois Infantry
 
 
Elmer Ogle Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
11. Elmer Ogle
Descendent of the founders of Josephine
(aka Volcanoville)
 
 
The Josephine Mine Cemetery Marker Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
12. The Josephine Mine Cemetery Marker
This marker was a temporary marker used for the dedication and has since been replaced by the permanent marker.
 
 
The Josephine Mine Cemetery Committee Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
13. The Josephine Mine Cemetery Committee
At the groundbreaking of the NSGW Cemetery and Memorial Park adjacent to the Josephine Mine Cemetery.
 
 
Ground Breaking of NSGW Cemetery & Memorial Park Photo, Click for full size
By James King, August 10, 2013
14. Ground Breaking of NSGW Cemetery & Memorial Park
Reverend Peter Y. Cool (Jerry Pozo) asks the favor of Heaven upon the work to be commenced.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California. This page has been viewed 443 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 13, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.   4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 14, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.   13, 14. submitted on March 10, 2014, by James King of San Miguel, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
 
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