5 Fascinating Pioneer-Era Cemeteries Near St George
Pioneer cemeteries are all over Southern Utah. I love these little gravestones in the red dirt. Something about visiting the graves from these early settlers in a setting that still looks like the late 1800’s, takes me back to that time. You can feel the struggle they had and their determination to see it through.
Here are five pioneer cemeteries located close to St. George that are worth a visit.
Harrisburg Pioneer Cemetery
Harrisburg is the small community that sits next to the I-15 freeway on the back side of Quail Creek Reservoir. This little pioneer cemetery sits between the houses with an iron fence surrounding it.
To give you an idea of how hard life was, half of those buried here, are under the age of 6 years old.
Pintura Pioneer Cemetery
Pintura sits on the east side of I-15 freeway just before you head up the black ridge towards Cedar City. Originally the community was named Belleview, but they changed the name to Pintura because there was already place by that name. Pintura means paint in Spanish and they thought it described the area.
One of the benefits of this small pioneer cemetery is you can see it from the freeway. This makes it really easy to get a look as you zoom by.
Silver Reef Protestant Cemetery
Silver Reef was a boomtown that grew up when silver was discovered in the sandstone in 1866. It was a rowdy place with miners coming in from mines that were failing elsewhere. It is located behind Leeds on the west side of theI-15 freeway.
There are two cemeteries here, one for the Protestants and one for the Catholics. You get two for one in Silver Reef.
Silver Reef Catholic Cemetery
Further up the hill from the Protestant cemetery in Silver Reef, the Catholic cemetery.
There is a story of a local Marshall who hauled a miner out of the Elk Horn saloon in Silver Reef. When they got outside, they turned and shot each other. Both are buried in Silver Reef.
Grafton Pioneer Cemetery
Grafton is a ghost town just south of Rockville on the way to Zion National Park. There are a couple houses and a school preserved. The cemetery is up the road from the town.
This is my favorite pioneer cemetery. Probably because of the gravestone that says the person was "killed by Indians". This stone takes you right to the time and place and what this family was facing back in 1866.