I don’t remember what year it was, but some time when I lived in Salt Lake City (1977-1987), the city was doing some work at Pioneer Park. I’ve done some searches. From what I find, it seems it must have been 1986. Construction crews were digging a foundation for a new apartment building near Pioneer Park, when they found a human skeleton. And that discovery led to finding Salt Lake’s first cemetery, near the old fort.
I’d swear it was way before 1986, but I can’t find any online info to support me. The way I remember it, the city was doing some work at Pioneer Park itself. They found the graves or maybe they didn’t find the graves but everyone thought they might have, then for weeks afterward there was a general muttering around the city that they could be releasing old pathogens, and there were scattered claims that this person or that had contracted some unusual fever that must certainly have come from opening old graves.
Messing with the old cemetery was going to kill us all.
Anyway. However it happened, the city found 32 graves near Pioneer Park, which means near the old fort. The bodies were re-buried at This is the Place Monument in 1987.
At the start of the work at Pioneer Park I thought my ancestor Mary Adeline (Beman) Noble would be among the bodies interred there. She was the adopted mother of Ann (Quarmby) Luce. But no. Mary died in 1851, and was buried at City Cemetery.
But I didn’t know then — and wish I had — is my ancestor Malatiah Luce who died in 1849 was probably among the bodies. If there was anything left of him to move, he is probably among the bodies at the This is the Place Monument.
Edited Oct. 1, 2019 to add an additional source.
- David F. Boone, “’And Should We Die’: Pioneer Burial Grounds in Salt Lake City,” in Salt Lake City: The Place Which God Prepared, ed. Scott C. Esplin and Kenneth L. Alford (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2011), 155–178.
- Pioneer Cemetery, at ThisisthePlace.org, visited Sept. 6, 2019.
- Pioneer Cemetery – Block 49, at MormonTrails.org, visited Sept. 6, 2019.
- This Is The Place Holds Key To Utah’s First Pioneer Burial Site (Feb. 20, 2014), at VisitSaltLake.com, visited Sept. 6, 2019.
- Nicole Warburton, “Graves reminders of pioneers” in Deseret News (May 30, 2005), at Deseret.com, visited Sept. 29, 2019.