In the northern most part of California you will find a country cemetery. It doesn't look very big, but buried here are the early pioneers who settled our valley. Many were born in different states and countries. The cemetery sits on land donated by Henry E. Westbrook when his first son James died in 1862. The pioneer Maris Ranch added land to it. The dirt road that ran by the cemetery was first known as Wagon Road, then Gospel Road, and is now 1st Street.
The first person known to have been buried in our cemetery was Hulda Tryon in 1863. The oldest person is also buried in the Tryon plot, Laura Tryon, born in 1797 while George Washington was our president.
We have three parts to the cemetery. The Old, the New, and the acre donated by the Maris family. The part that is called new used to be the school yard. The old school house was moved and boosted up a bit so that rooms could be put underneath to make the Cooper Apartments.
This section of our site contains articles about some of the people buried in the cemetery.
Theron Crook Sr.
THERON CROOK SR. was born in New York in 1816 and came to Oregon in 1852. They were the parents of eight children. One son, Asa, lived and died in his home that stood next to the Smith River Community Hall. There was a little bench that was just outside the gate and Uncle Ase and his old friends would sit in the sunshine. Lucy, a sister, came here many years later and married the widowed Peter Maas and sister Eileen married George Jones. Ellen Lockwood married Asa Crook. Grandma Lockwood was a bright little old lady. She was the great, great grandmother of Gale, Dwayne and Tim Reichlin.
Dr. Charles H. Barnes
DR. CHARLES H. BARNES was born in 1867 in the District of Columbia. He married Mirian Iva who was 23 years younger. They had a daughter Miriam in 1927.
I was the medical doctor for Smith River and was called the Indian Doctor because of all the calls I made to them. My family lived in a house in Smith River which I also used as a hospital. It burned down in 1929. We then moved to Harbor, OR.
At the time of his death, his famiy was back living in a home in Smith River. He had built a house close by what was known at that time as the Hospital Miriam continued living in our house until her death in 1978. He died in 1948 at the age of 81.
Taken about 1926, this old photograph shows Dr. Charles Hall Barnes, one of the first physicians to practice medicine in Smith River, and his "Indian doctor" assistant. According to Dr. Barnes\' daughter, Merian Carson of Ben Lomonds, Calif., who made the photo available, her father was often called upon to treat the Indians residing in the Smith River area. Whenever he would visit an Indian patient, the "Indian doctor" would go along to check up on the treatment and would usually prescribe an extra dose of herbs and roots. Dr. Barnes lived with his wife, Miriam Barnes, in Smith River from 1921 until 1929 when their house and hospital burned to the ground and they moved to Harbor, Ore. They resided in Harbor until Barnes\' death in 1948. A long-time resident of Del Norte and Curry Counties, Mariam Barnes died May 1, 1978, at the age of 87.
IRA SCOTT was born in 1882 in Ferndale CA. His family built the Scott House right next to the Smith River Methodist Church. He married Evelyn and had two daughters Maxine and Pauline. He partnered with Bill Farrell in the Mercantile Store on First Street and Fred Haight Drive. He then sold the store and started selling insurance with the Great American Insurance Co. and was also a County Commissioner. He died on July 29, 1942 of a heart attack while practicing with the Civil Defense Unit of Smith River. He was 60 years old.
DOCK RIGG was born around 1850 in Canton, China. He was the only Chinese man allowed to stay in Del Norte County at the time of his death in 1919.
He came to this country in 1857 an did some mining in Sacramento and southern Oregon. He wore his hair in the traditional queue for a while. About 1874 he went to work for Nettie Raleigh (he called him Lollie) Scott cooking and cleaning.
In 1885 there was a man killed in Eurkea, CA about 90 miles south of here during a "tong war" or "gang war:. The towns people called for all Chinese to get out of town. Del Norte took up the cry and all the Chinese were driven from the area. Lollie packed up what few belongings he had and took him to Curry County Oregon to the "Cooley/Scott Ranch", now known as the Colegrove Ranch. It was a sheep ranch situated up on the coast on the old County Road to Carperenterivlle. Raleigh and Nettie were always helping poor people. When things settled down he came back to live with Raleigh, Nettie and Ann and John Riggs. They, all together, ran the Yontockett Ranch. Then after they sold that, John and Ann Riggs owned with is today known as the Garvin Ranch and built a beautiful big pink house that is still standing today. They had a dairy farm there. John died in 1875 and Ann kept the ranch running until she died in 1903. When she died Lollie and Nettie Scott inherited the Riggs Ranch. Dock stayed and coooked for this fine family. He is the only Chinaman who didn\'t have his bones disinterred and sent back to China and the only Chinaman to be buried in a Del Norte County Cemetery. He was also able to keep his queue for a long time. He died at the age of 69.
JOSEPH McVAY was born in Indiana in 1831 and headed west with his brother James in search of gold. They discovered gold in Coos Bay, OR but kept moving south. in 1856 they got caught up in the Indian War and joined the militia in Gold Beach, OR. They fought the Chetco and Pistol River tribes.
They returned to Missouri to bring out his sister Fannnie and her children. Fannies husband had been killed by outlaws and wanted to rejoin the family. He met and married Mary Elizabth Bosley. He got Fannie and her children to Smith River by heading down to Panama, riding mules over the Isthmus to the Pacific, taking a boat to San Francisco, catching a stage in Sacramento to Jacksonville, OR then going by by buckboard to Smith River.
He then built the biggest house that looled as much like a southern plantation as possible. It still sits today on a slight hill in downtown Smith River on Fred Haight Drive where they had four children.
He owned a store, a tin shop and a blacksmith shop. Around Christmas 1878 he lost his wife who was 30 years old. He lost his daughter Daisy in 1891 when the ferry boat overturned while crossing the Smith River and she drowned. She was 17 years old. He soon sold his house to Daniel Haight who ended up marrying his sister Fannie. I took my family and built what is now called Granny Maris\'s House. It sits next to the Smith River Community Hall.
He died in 1908 at 77 years old.