Monday, March 14, 2011

Following the internet crumbs

This poor cemetery was the victim of mismanagement for decades, long before the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church took ownership. Unfortunately because it is now under church ownership, it is no longer subject to state regulation.

This post is useful because it relates perhaps some answers to questions associated with this particular cemetery: Bellview Cemetery itself seems to be split in half (this is not including the "Quiet Haven Memorial Park" section visible from Elder Creek road), and another known old name for it was Arlington Cemetery. (There are Arlingtons buried in the cemetery- whether this is the reason it was called this, similar to how it became known as "Bellview" because of the Bell family, I have yet to uncover.) There is a lawn portion of the cemetery containing the majority of historic graves (some more modern graves include children's graves from the late 60s and early 70s, and a row of very new ostentatious Russian/Slavic graves) and an entire section that seemed an afterthought- a shadeless gravel pit of tree stumps and poorly cared for markers. (There is one marker that says "Urn Garden" on the side opposite the Sacramento County historic marker for Bellview Cemetery, though it is apparent there are depressions on the gravel side where it appears full bodies were interred.)

From: "Sue Silver"
Subject: Fw: [CASacramento] Re: Finding Belleview, (Bellview, Bellvue) Cemetery
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 09:07:16 -0700

I have been advised that the church that now owns Bellview Cemetery is a Slavic church, not a Russian Orthodox Church as I wrote in the message below.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sue Silver"
To: ;
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 7:40 AM
Subject: Re: [CASacramento] Re: Finding Belleview, (Bellview, Bellvue)

Bellview Cemetery was begun around the year 1862. The land on which it
was located and used by the public was donated by Jasper Bell. The cemetery
became owned by the Bellview Cemetery Association under the 1859 Act of the
legislature allowing the incorporation of Rural Cemetery Associations.

Sometime around 1950-1960, the Association purchased new ground to expand the cemetery BECAUSE THE OLD SECTION WAS FILLED to capacity. They called the new land Arlington Cemetery. Shortly after, the Association became defunct and the cemetery was sold for delinquent property taxes by the Sacramento County Tax Collector. (This even though the State Constitution exempts cemeteries from taxation if not used or held for profit.)

The cemetery was purchased at the tax sale by a new owner who operated it but did so unscrupulously. The State took the cemetery under conservatorship. Finally, the county again sold the cemetery for delinquent taxes and it was purchased, with approval by State by a Russian Orthodox Church. (Because the land is owned by a religious entity, it is no longer under state regulation.)

The Church changed the name of Arlington Cemetery to Quiet Haven. When it first took ownership, it began to use portions of Bellview Cemetery which, as previously stated, had already been filled to capacity by the 1950s-1960s. As far as I know they continue to use Bellview Cemetery today. It is not known how many unmarked and unknown graves exist in Bellview and it is my opinion that there is overburying occurring with new burials.

At one point after the Church took ownership, some families found that markers had been removed from the graves of their loved ones. The Church maintained it had moved them in order to perform maintenance and tree removal. How many markers were actually affected is unknown.

For more information about the present status of Bellview Cemetery, Arlington Cemetery or Quiet Haven Cemetery, contact Dr. Bob LaPerriere with the Sacramento County Cemetery Advisory Commission (SCCAC). Email address:

Sue Silver, State Coordinator
California Saving Graves

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