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Pioneer Cemetery

In August of 1989, bulldozer work for a ball field in the northeast corner of San Bernardino City's Seccombe Lake State Park uncovered eleven forgotten burials. The remains were probably those of early Mormons who died between 1853 and 1857. Seccombe Lake was the unofficial cemetery for the Mormon settlement in San Bernardino in 1851. Unfortunately, both the caretaker's records and the gravestone census are unavailable. However, through the sacramental records of San Salvador de Jurupa and St. Bernardine churches, we are able to learn some burial information concerning Catholic families. 

The chronological overview is most helpful. Aqua Mansa Cemetery opened in 1854; Pioneer Cemetery begins in 1857; The Catholic adjunct to Pioneer Cemetery opened in 1869; and finally in 1875, the Catholic adjunct is sold to the Jewish congregation.

Aqua Mansa residents who died were buried at Seccombe Lake from 1851-1854. There were also other Catholics who were now residing away from Aqua Mansa who were buried at Seccombe Lake. Between 1851 and 1869, there were 50 Catholic burials at Seccombe Lake.

In 1857, Pioneer Cemetery opened as the cemetery for the city of San Bernardino at 7th St. and Sierra Way. In 1869, Senator William Conn sold a tract of land near the Jewish Home of Eternity Cemetery at Pioneer Cemetery for $1.00, so that a Catholic cemetery would be available. Most of the Catholic burials in Seccombe Lake were transferred to the Catholic adjunct at Pioneer between 1869-1875. When the "New Catholic Cemetery" opens in 1875 at 26th St. and "E" St., the Catholic adjunct is sold to the Jewish congregation.