Written on a broken weathered headstone was the name Aaron Rice “The Faithful” Died 1906, Age 87 Yrs. It was located in Potter’s Field within Martinez’s Alhambra Cemetery, (where they buried the unclaimed, strangers, impoverished, criminals, and in this case nonwhite). When we first discovered Aaron’s broken headstone, we had no idea who he was let alone his ties to slavery and the historical events of the latter 1800s.
The Martinez Cemetery Preservation Alliance (MCPA) is looking for any pictures (preferably prior to 2000) to aid in their restoration efforts of the Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery. As they acquire photographic evidence, they will take a current picture from the same view point for comparison.
Chinese had arrived in California with the onset of the Gold Rush. From almost the beginning of that immigration they were in Martinez. Many more came to build the Transcontinental Railroad. Many of the leading families of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties had Chinese cooks, house servants, and field workers. The Strentzels and the Muirs […]
The horse trough was built after a fire that burned most of the wooden markers. Water was pumped by windmill from a well by the front gate. The trough was used to fight fires and water the horses in the funeral processions. We don’t know when the horse trough was no longer used, but it […]
Obed Fosdick Alley was born on June 4, 1824 in Massachusetts. He married Phebe Ray Bunker (1928) on July 18, 1950 in Nantucket, MA where he was a mariner in water transportation. Obed came to California from Nantucket in 1850. After working in the gold fields and spending some months in Martinez he sent for […]
If you are searching for the burial site of an individual buried in either the Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery or the Saint Catherine of Siena Cemetery of Martinez, the Martinez Historical Society might be able to assist you. The Martinez Museum archive includes information about many Martinez families including burial records.
Beverly Richford Holliday was born on December 22, 1823 in Warren County, Kentucky. Holliday came to California to look for gold. Not finding enough to live on, he became a logger working in the nearby Redwood Groves of Oakland and Moraga. By January of 1850, he was ready to return to teaching. According to the […]
Hardy McClellan was born 1815 into slavery in Virginia. In the 1870 US Census, Hardy (age 50) is listed in the David McClellan household as a farm laborer (received pay) and has a personal estate of $1,000. He is listed as a farmer in Walnut Creek when he voted for the first time in 1871, […]
The Alhambra Cemetery’s Potter’s Field is immediately west of the cemetery. It consists of three acres that was operated by Contra Costa County until the City of Martinez took over the operation in 1992. It was originally established in 1873, but records show others had previously been buried there before it was a potter’s field. […]
Josiah Sturgis was born on April 23, 1817 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. His wife, Eliza was born on April 26, 1819 in Virginia. Josiah married Eliza Smith in Nantucket, Massachusetts on September 22, 1839. In the 1850 U.S. Census, we find Josiah is a stone cutter of Miscellaneous Nonmetallic Mineral and Stone Products in Massachusetts. He […]