Repairs, replacements and remembrance are the themes of Saturday’s Tales of the Crypt event at the Marysville Cemetery. The annual fundraising event hosted by the Friends for the Preservation of Yuba County History aims to highlight local history by showcasing the headstones the group maintains and the individuals they memorialize.
This Saturday (Oct. 12) the event will showcase stories from eight people out of the 10,000 buried at the 14-acre cemetery. The shows will start at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the cemetery located on highway 70 north of 24th street.
“It’s the time of year – cemeteries and Halloween go hand in hand,” said Victoria Tudor, treasurer for the Friends for the Preservation of Yuba County History. “But it’s not going to be scary – more informative.”
Tudor said the format will be different this year, with visitors hearing stories in one area before departing on a guided cemetery tour. Tudor said the change was to accommodate those who have trouble traversing the grounds.
The event asks for a $10 dollar donation, which will help offset the cost of headstone repairs. Tudor said last year the organization raised about $5,000 and repaired 14 headstones.
Since the cemetery was established in 1850, headstones have been toppled by floods, vandalized and erased by time. The volunteer preservation group works with a monument repair company for headstone repairs or creates a headstone to ensure the person is remembered.
Tudor said the group works to preserve the headstones of people like the Shelton family, that owned Shelton’s grove, or Francis Peele, who owned a mechanic hotel and left land to the city in his will.
“They were prominent during their time and had a big impact on Marysville or Yuba County,” Tudor said. “So we want to tell their story so they won’t be forgotten.”
Tudor said that she and other volunteers who help maintain the cemetery will also do research to find out more about the people behind the headstones.
“We’ll go home and dig up some information, some ancestry,” Tudor said. “We’ll go to the Yuba County Library – the California Room has a lot of information about our past.”
Leroy Prindle, president of the Friends, will portray Joseph Phillips, who came to Sutter County from Scotland in the 1880s, rising to prominence by creating the Phillip’s cling peach.
“The article that I’ve read said ever since he was a young boy he was interested in horticulture,” Prindle said. “When he came to California he came to Sutter County and produced the cling.”
Prindle said that despite Phillip’s success in the peach business, he didn’t save for retirement and ended up being buried in Potter’s Field, the area of the cemetery where the poor were buried with only a simple marker.
“A couple years ago Friends of Yuba County History got some money and we went and put a headstone on his grave,” Prindle said.
Prindle said he will be dressed like a peach farmer with a handkerchief and blue shirt, but said he won’t go as far as immitating a Scottish accent.
The event asks for a cash or check donation, and Tudor noted that parking can be tight and recommended visitors carpool.