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New Gravestones for Unmarked Graves at Citizens Cemetery
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09 November 2017   David McAtee

Gravestone Dedication and Commemoration Ceremony 

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors and Prescott Corral of Westerners International conducted a Dedication and Commemoration Ceremony at the side by side gravesites of early Prescott pioneers Gideon Brooke and Jacob Linn.

Yavapai County Board of Supervisors approved funding of the gravestone for a pioneer by the name of Gideon Brooke who was buried in an unmarked grave at Citizens Cemetery in November 1881. Brooke served on the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors on and off between 1870 and 1878. In addition to serving on the Board, he was a member of the 8th Territorial Legislature in 1875 and was a local business partner with Jacob Linn.

After Yavapai County Board of Supervisor Craig Brown led the modest crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, Julie Holst, Chairman of the Yavapai Cemetery Association (YCA) introducing the speakers and gave a brief history of the cemetery.  Julie said, “The Citizen Cemetery was established in 1864 and closed in 1933 after it was determined by the undertaker, Lester Ruffner, that it was full.  Over the years of its use, it is estimated that approximately 3500 early Prescott Pioneers were interred in its 6.6 acres.” Julie also thanked the many people that made this event a reality which included Judy Branson, YCA’s Vice-Chair and historian, and Nancy Burgess, the associations Historic Preservation Chairman.

Yavapai County Board of Supervisor Rowle Simmons spoke about the former board member Gideon Brooke.  “The reason the Yavapai Cemetery Association approached the BOS is because, not only was Gideon Brooke buried here in November 1881, in an unmarked grave, but this pioneer was also a former Yavapai County Board of Supervisor.” Supervisor Simmons went on to say, “Gideon Brooke served on the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors from July 15, 1870, through December 1873, and again from 1877-1878. In addition to serving on the Board, he was a member of the 8th Territorial Legislature in 1875 and was a local business owner. By all accounts Gideon Brooke served Yavapai County well, and in all his acts, public and private, received the deep-rooted admiration of the public.”

The Prescott Corral of Westerners International provided the funding for the Jacob Linn marker. Linn was a member of the Walker Party, a group of about 25 prospectors who arrived in the Prescott area in the spring of 1863 before there was any Anglo settlement in Central Arizona. They were under the leadership of the renowned mountain man and guide, Joseph Walker.

 

Yavapai County Board of Supervisor Jack Smith closed the event with a brief history of Prescott, “On May 10, 1863, at a location some six miles south-southeast of this Plaza, twenty-five members of the Walker Prospecting and Mining Company adopted "Laws and Resolutions" governing members of the first mining district in what would later become Yavapai County. The rules for the "Pioneer Mining District" provided a foundation for the establishment of mining law in the central Arizona highlands, and can be considered Prescott's birth certificate.”  Supervisor Smith then closed with a prayer and flowers were laid on the two new gravesite markers.