The oldest headstone record extant at the Dayton Cemetery, located approximately five miles south west of Chico, Butte County, California reads as follows:
"Mary, wife of Leroy L. Wait,
Died Dec 26, 1862,
Aged 29 y's
No newspapers of the day record her passing, yet her interment on a wind-swept and oak spotted valley floor precedes that of roughly 425 others, reproduced in the book Dayton and Mound Cemetery © 1994 by Adriana Farley and Marilyn Corley, which makes up the basis for many of the memorials on this Find A Grave site.
Dayton, an early valley community was settled by several large families, many of whom intermarried, as early as the spring and summer of 1860. It is said via records of the Dayton Cemetery Association (formed in 1912) that Leroy Wait donated the land for the settlement's dead, and it continues in use to this day. Dayton, larger at one time than Chico, was a prominent community until the advent of the California and Oregon Railroad diverted much commerce and traffic eastward to Durham, has a rich and deep history. The cemetery is witness to the generations of families who lived and worked the fertile valley soil.
An expanded-metal arch proclaims the main entrance to the cemetery, facing west on Reinemer road, 1/4 mile west of Dayton/Aguas Frias Road. The arch and normally unlocked gate, kept in annual repair with gloss black paint, closes the cemetery along with a well-maintained eight-foot high cyclone fence. A wide paved drive allows entry from the north as well as the west. The gate and fence were added in 1985 when the Dayton Service Group completed the large clean-up of the formerly weed-infested cemetery.
Formerly a social group, the Dayton Service Group motivated its members and the community as well to make the large-scale improvements which help keep the cemetery in good repair. Previous to this undertaking fires had taken hold in the overgrown grasses, which in turn also caused many of the wooden markers to be lost. Various service groups donated time and materials to assist the community members. Some families have as many as four and five generations buried in the three-acre site. Prior to the Dayton Service Group taking on the major maintenance chores, families voluntarily took care of their own sections of the cemetery. No tax funds help maintain the cemetery, which is listed as "a District Cemetery" according to the California Cemetery Board.
Text submitted by Contributor #47328225, 2/20/11.
GPS Coordinates: 39.652, -121.868
- Added: 29 May 2005
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2144284
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