About the Cemetery

An excerpt from the book Miracle of the Desert, by Thomas H. Williams:

“Just how and when this plot of ground became the site for a cemetery is not a matter of record . The first records available are the minutes of a meeting held in the Riverside Schoolhouse under the date of April 7, 1897.  From the business transacted in this meet ing we are able to draw some definite conclusions, one is that no minutes were kept of any business connected with the cemetery because they instructed the secretary to buy a book so such records could be kept.  Another thing we may infer is that they had not decided that this spot was exactly where they wanted the cemetery.  At this meeting they discussed the location and the quality of the ground as being suitable for such purposes.  After a thorough discussion of the subject it was decided that it would serve the purpose as well or maybe even better than anything in the community. To the question asked, ”Shall the cemetery be built on the present site?” S. F. Adams made this answer, ”There are about twenty persons buried on the present site now,”

“That the place was considered for a cemetery before this time is evident, because at this meeting the first question before the house was, “Is the five acre lot formerly donated by Alf Parsons enough for a cemetery?”  This question was discussed and five more acre were bought from Alf Parsons for $10.00 an acre.”

“A committee of five was selected at this time to care for the business of the cemetery.  They were I.H. Allred, Joseph Jardon, G. B. Wintle, I.A. Parsons, and S.F. Adams, the special task assigned to these men was to collect money to pay for the five acres just added to the property.”

“That the people were mindful of a nice looking cemetery is evident from the minutes kept during the years, though there is but little written, there is enough to draw a good picture.  Under the date of February 4, 1918 the minutes read: “T.P. Mackrell motioned that the Board be empowered to put in a windmill and cistern to water the cemetery.”  Nothing was done about this motion apparently because it was never done, and the minutes are silent about the project thereafter.”

“On January 26, 1931, the Riverside Thomas Cemetery District was created and financed with taxes.  At this time Pingree came into the district.  Bishop Philip B. Dance and Bishop J.R. Williams were the men who were responsible for the creation of the district.  They worked on it for years before it was finally completed.  Through the years J.R. and Mary Williams were among the ones most active in the work, he being chairman and she being secretary most of the time”

“No person in the community has done so much for the care and progress to the cemetery as Bishop John R. Williams.  Form the time his first wife died in 1903, until the time of his death in March 1949, he worked diligently to try and make a place of beauty out of it.  He worked weeks and weeks with never a thought of pay.  He spent hundreds of dollars of his own money improving it.  In later years, he said many times that he was rewarded a thousand fold for all he ever put into the project.”