Young Family Cemetery

140 East 1st Avenue, Salt Lake City

courtesy of Google Earth

“I, , wish my funeral services to be conducted in the following manner:

When I breathe my last I wish my friends to put my body in as clean and wholesome state as can conveniently be done, and preserve the same for one, two, three or four days, or as long as my body can be preserved in a good condition. I want my coffin made of plump 1 1/4 inch boards, not scrimped in length, but two inches longer than I would measure, and from two to three inches wider than is commonly made for a person of my breadth and size, and deep enough to place me on a little comfortable cotton bed, with a good suitable pillow for size and quality; my body dressed in my temple clothing, and laid nicely into my coffin, and the coffin to have the appearance that if I wanted to turn a little to the right or to the left, I should have plenty of room to do so. The lid can be made crowning.

At my interment I wish all of my family present that can be conveniently, and the male members wear no crepe on their hats or on their coats; the females to buy no black bonnets, nor black dresses, nor black veils; but if they have them they are at liberty to wear them. The services may be permitted, as singing and a prayer offered, and if any of my friends wish to say a few words, and really desire, do so; and when they have closed their services, take my remains on a bier, and repair to the little burying ground, which I have reserved on my lot east of the White House on the hill, and in the southeast corner of this lot, have a vault built of mason work large enough to receive my coffin, and that may be placed in a box, if they choose, made of the same material as the coffin — redwood. Then place flat rocks over the vault sufficiently large to cover it, that the earth may be placed over it — nice, fine, dry earth — to cover it until the walls of the little cemetery are reared, which will leave me in the southeast corner. This vault ought to be roofed over with some kind of a temporary roof. There let my earthly house or tabernacle rest in peace, and have a good sleep, until the morning of the first resurrection; no crying or mourning with anyone as I have done my work faithfully and in good faith.” . . .

(Brigham Young, Preston Nibley, 538)

The short sandstone retaining wall surrounding the cemetery was built just a few weeks after President Young’s funeral in the fall of 1877. A decorative wrought-iron fence was installed on the wall and around his grave in the 1880s. The site was relandscaped and rededicated in 1974 with a new monument to the pioneers who died along the trail. It was again renovated by restoring grave markers and installing sandstone pathways in 1999.

The 144-year old, 1/3 acre cemetery, designated an historic landmark, just east of the Temple at the onset of ” the avenues,” is currently under major renovations. Improvements include an increase in the iron fencing, lighting, stonework and pathway repair, sprinkler system replacement, landscaping and tree improvements, and then adding security patrols to protect the site from vandalism, littering and overall unwanted trespassers. Incidents have steadily increased over time with Brigham Young’s plaque being spray-painted “racist,” as well as fires, holes, missing headstones and even toppling the statue of Young himself. It has been unknown how many were buried in the cemetery, since there are only eleven that are marked, but in the renovation process, over forty unmarked graves have been discovered through ground penetrating radar.

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