The Sutter Mill Cemetery is located within the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. The cemetery was established during the Gold Rush in 1848, and was also known as the Coloma Protestant, the Pioneer Cemetery, and the Vineyard House Cemetery. There are over 600 known burials here, and the oldest gravestone dates to 1849. The original grave markers were made of wood, and were later replaced with stone after a source of marble was discovered in the Sierras.
A marker for the cemetery was dedicated in 1981 by the Native Sons of the Golden West as part of the the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West marker series. In addition to the Sutter Mill Cemetery, Saint John's Cemetery is located 0.2 miles away.
Cemeteries like the Sutter Mill Cemetery and Saint John's Cemetery are important historical artifacts, because they preserve the memory of the people who came to the area long ago. Many markers from that time also include where the person migrated from, representing journeys people made to come to California. Many of these cemeteries, including the ones in Coloma, are preserved in their original states and have remained largely unchanged except for the additions of restored gravestones and historic markers.
The marker for the Sutter Mill Cemetery is located on Cold Springs Road/Highway 153 within the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, 8.6 miles northwest of Placerville. For a pdf of the map showing where the Sutter Mill Cemetery is located, click here.
El Dorado County
Stretching from oak-studded foothills and the shores of Folsom Lake to the western shore of Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County is probably best known for the 1848 gold discovery at Coloma. “Old Hangtown” sprang up during the Gold Rush and was later renamed Placerville. The county name comes from the mythical land rich in gold sought by Spanish explorers. The first inhabitants of El Dorado County were the Maidu and Miwok Indians, followed by miners attracted to the area by the Gold Rush.
El Dorado County was one of the original counties in California. The Pony Express Trail ran through the county approximately where Highway 50 is today, from April 3, 1860 to October 26, 1861. The first county seat was Coloma, and it was superseded by Placerville for this position in 1857. El Dorado means “the gilded one” in Spanish; a fitting name considering the mines in El Dorado County produced millions of dollars of gold.