Floodwaters Overtake Historic Marysville Cemetery

MARYSVILLE (CBS13) — One of the oldest cemeteries west of the Mississippi River is filled with water. The Jackson Slough has overrun its banks causing high water in the historic Marysville cemetery, unseen in the last decade.

“It’s pretty crazy, huh,” said Kyle Reece.

He recently returned home from an evacuation center with his family. His young daughters have never laid eyes on the cemetery in the condition it was on Wednesday.

“This is the first time we’ve seen it like this in about 10 years,” said Reece.

The family stopped to take pictures of the flooded cemetery. Reece says he remembers the last time water rose from the Jackson Slough.

“You would drive by on the highway and all you could see was the tops of the Mausoleums,” he explained.

At about 14 acres, it’s believed 10,000 people are buried in the historic cemetery, including a Wells Fargo stagecoach driver and one of the founders of Macy’s department stores.

“Several of the Donner Party survivors are buried here,” explained Victoria Tudor, a cemetery commissioner.

With the cemetery’s old age comes a long track record of troubles.

“Everybody has stories, there are so many great stories,” said Tudor.

Some great, others tragic.

“He was just very selfish. He was thinking of money,” said Roberta Shurtz when we spoke with her in 2011. She’s been a cemetery commissioner for decades.

During the Gold Rush, the city’s coroner stole two decades worth of records, that were never recovered.

“He wasn’t thinking actually of the people who have passed or those people that might, the next generation who might be looking for their kindred dead,” she explained.

Over the years, there has been vandalism. Gravestones were pushed over and broken. And of course other natural circumstances, like floods.

“It’s going to go up before it goes down,” said Reece.

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