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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Coloma in El Dorado County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Pioneer Cemetery

 
 
Pioneer Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 7, 2008
1. Pioneer Cemetery Marker
Inscription. This cemetery, also called “Coloma Protestant” Cemetery, “Sutter’s Mill” Cemetery, and “Vineyard House” Cemetery, is the final resting place for many ‘49ers. Among these graves are the remains of miners, farmers, merchants, tradesmen and their families, as well as murderers and prostitutes. This cemetery contains an estimated 400 – 500 graves. Many are unmarked; the wooden markers disappeared long ago. The oldest existing gravestone is dated 1850. This place was also the site of the famous double hanging of convicted murderers, Jerry Crane and Mickey Free in 1855.
 
Erected by Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park.
 
Location. 38° 47.786′ N, 120° 53.364′ W. Marker is in Coloma, California, in El Dorado County. Marker is on Cold Springs Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located within the bounderies of The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Marker is in this post office area: Coloma CA 95613, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sutter Mill Cemetery – 1848 (here, next to this marker); Coloma’s Pioneer Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Emmanuel Church
Pioneer Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, November 4, 2005
2. Pioneer Cemetery Marker
(about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Papini House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dukehart’s Barbershop and Bathhouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); American House Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Saint John’s Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cabin of James Marshall (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coloma.
 
Regarding Pioneer Cemetery. See also: Sutter's Mill Cemetery marker and all other Coloma markers for additional information.
 
Also see . . .  Idphotography: Pioneer Cemetery. (Submitted on October 9, 2008, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.)
 
Additional comments.
1. Jerry Crane
Dr. Crane has the dubious distinction of being the first to be hanged in Coloma, immediately before Mickey Free was hanged in the town's celebrated double hanging. Crane murdered one of his students named Susan because, as he claimed, he "loved" her (actually, she had unwisely rejected his marriage proposal), although a little investigating revealed that he had a wife
Pioneer Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 7, 2008
3. Pioneer Cemetery
and family back East. He was arrested at his home in Ringgold for the murder, and there was a lynching attempt. However, the Sheriff got him out of town and into the Coloma jail. On the day of the double execution, Coloma hired a brass band from Placerville and made quite a celebration of the event. On the gallows, Crane sang some verses he had composed to a popular tune of the day, and just before the trap fell, he said, "Here I come, Susan!"
Source: Gold Rush Chronicles
    — Submitted October 9, 2008, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.

2. Mickey Free
Mickey Free was Hangee No. 2 in Coloma's celebrated double hanging. He was involved in a cutthroat gang that specialized in raiding and robbing Chinese camps and murdering lonely miners. He was responsible for the murder of a roadhouse keeper. Later, he wrote a confession, "Life of Mickey Free", which was published by the local Empire County Argus paper. At his execution in Coloma immediately following that of Jerry Crane, he cocked his hat over one eye, tossed peanuts into his mouth, and at one point danced a jig, perhaps to the beat of the brass band from Placerville that was playing. However, when his turn on the gallows came, he tried to sing, but broke down completely. Free's grave can still be found at
Pioneer Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Syd Whittle, October 7, 2008
4. Pioneer Cemetery
the edge of the Coloma cemetery.
Source: Gold Rush Chronicles
    — Submitted October 9, 2008, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.

 
Additional keywords. Gold Rush
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesNatural ResourcesNotable EventsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 9, 2008, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California. This page has been viewed 2,318 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 9, 2008, by Syd Whittle of El Dorado Hills, California.
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