History of Porterville Cemetery

The Porterville Public Cemetery District was organized in 1922 and it covers the southeastern part oTulare County. Our special district currently has eight cemeteries under its care which includes Old Porterville, Home of Peace, Hillcrest, Vandalia, St. Anne’s, Crabtree, Springville and Duncan McDonald cemeteries.

Old Porterville Cemetery-The first burial plot for the town of Porterville, said W.WBrown, was on OaStreet. Two acres of land for the present cemetery was bought from Justice George A. Williamson, one of the earliest settlers, by Joseph Lewis, J. EConner, Sr., and John Tyler, trustees of the Porterville Cemetery Association, for a consideration of $200.00, deed dated April 29, 1878. There were no public funds for the cemetery in the early days; but the people were determined thatheir cemetery be of good appearance. When the trees that are now the largest were planted, water had to be carried in buckets to keep them growing.

Vandalia Cemetery is the oldest of the group-the land having been given by James M. Martin, who with five sons settled in that section in 1860 and ‘61. The first burials had been made in a spot on the east side of Plano Road on the north slope of the rise where the Vandalia School has stood for the firshalf of last century. Removals were made from there to the present cemetery; and the oldest gravis said to be that of an infant child of WmMartin who died May 5, 1864.

Home of Peace Cemetery was established in 1908 by a stock company consisting of Harvey Frame, James McCabe, John James, Grace Redfield, and George MurryThey bought the land from Sol RodgersBefore it became under the district board in 1941, its corporation was dissolved by petition. A feature of this cemetery is the number of massive ornate monuments it contains.

Hillcrest Cemetery was developed by Max Jamison and Lester Lamkin; the first burials were in 1930.  It was taken over by the Porterville Public Cemetery in 1942 which paid $2000.00 to owners to finistheir indebtedness on the mausoleum of crypts for burials-a feature of this cemetery.

St. Anne’s Cemetery, formerly known as the Porterville Catholic CemeteryThe first grave orecord ithat of John McCabe who died in 1909 at the age of 76There are two earliegravestones-those of the wife of John Purcell and wife of Thos. HPurcellwho died in 1887 and 1892 respectively. But these may have been moved there. In 1945 the Porterville Catholics applied to the Porterville Public Cemetery Districts Board requesting that this cemetery be taken into its jurisdiction and care.

Crabtree Cemetery in the section called Globe is a picturesque knoll with boulders and oak treesNewton Crabtree, a pioneer of the early 1860’s set it aside for the purpose, at the death ohis motherRebecca, in the middle 1870’s. His father John Benjamin Crabtree, aged 83, soon followedalso some children of Elam Manier, who died from diphtheria.

Springville Cemetery formerly known as Hubbs Cemetery was begun by JasR. Hubbs at the death of his daughter, Eva May Elstein 1889 who said she wanted to sleep under certain oak treesMr. ClinHubbs, who took charge after his father’s death in 1896, kept records that showed the locatioof each grave with the name of the person or name of kin. James R. Hubbs was a pioneer of 1854 at Visalia and came to Springville in the 1870’s. The family was large and included children of his second wife from a previous marriage.

The Duncan McDonald Cemetery, a short distance above Springville on the road towards Rancheria, there is a family burying grounds on the old Joseph Duncan ranchit was set aside as a burial plot at the death oMrsDuncan at the beginning of last century. Joseph Duncana pioneer of 1871 died in 1905. Seven other members of the family have been buried there including James McDonald and his wife, Fredonia, who was a Duncan.

Since that time the Porterville Public Cemetery District has grown and improved while protecting its heritage.