The Clinton Pioneer Cemetery Committee (CPCC) has come up with an ambitious set of plans for the site, which is now property of the Village of Clinton after years of ambiguity. The property was given to “the people of Clinton” in the late 1860s by pioneer Joseph Smith, who was co-owner of the Clinton Hotel.
Andrew May, President of the South Cariboo Historical Museum Society (SCHMS), says they’re trying to build closer ties between the Cemetery committee and the SCHMS. “We’re trying to get the museum more formally involved,” he says. “The Museum committee meeting on March 1 was the first time that the museum has been represented in force.”
He notes that the CPCC is considering fundraising to cover the costs of some of the projects. “Until now anything done at the cemetery has been through in-kind assistance, and it’s always been run and maintained by volunteers.”
Some of the equipment, including the tractor, needs to be repaired before this year’s clean-up starts. The site isn’t watered, which helps keep down the amount of maintenance needed. “It’s not intended to be a green cemetery.”
One of the priorities is replacing the one mile of fencing which surrounds the four acre site. “The current posts are sound, but the boards are past their best before date,” says May. They would also like to place benches in the cemetery, have a kiosk with a map of the cemetery, install signage on the highway and at the site, and have more formal cemetery tours.
May says they’d also like to identify more of the grave sites. The cemetery contains 420 known graves, and only 300 have been identified. One unidentified grave is that of American pre-emptor Thomas Burton Smith, who was murdered at Dog Creek by his partner Albert Clinger in 1915, and who was interred in the Clinton Pioneer Cemetery.