Many of the county's earliest settlers are buried in a sage brush and chico covered plot of ground at the foot of the mountains southwest of Monte Vista on Rock Creek. Although the southern part of the Valley had been settled
earlier, emigrant wagons started coming over Mosca Pass to settle this area around 1870. The settlers came here from all over the east, as well as from over the ocean. At least 150 of them are buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery.
Many of the early headstones are still standing, and can easily be read. There are small, children's stones, with lambs on top - four of them in one family. Larger stones topped by books or other carved emblems mark family plots. Over 60 of the graves have no stones at all.
Above the marked and the unmarked graves, stands snowcapped "Old Baldy", an eternal monument to the courage and vision that brought these pioneers to the San Luis Valley, to make "the desert blossom as the rose."
Z.C. Eagle, who settled on Rock Creek with his family in 1887 and whose parents and one brother are buried in the Rock Creek Cemetery, has erected markers on the highway and on the Rock Creek road to point the way to the old burial ground.
The Rock Creek graves illustrate the hardships of pioneer life; many of them are those of small children, and of young mothers. One of the women buried there, Mary Gilchrist, was born just 20 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. She lived until 1883. Another pioneer, John B. Heilman, lived to be 100 years old and died in 1935.
The oldest marked grave in the cemetery is that of Lewis G. Larick, just five days old and died Oct. 7, 1874. The next was Mary A. Larick who died Sept. 15, 1875.
In all the names of 40 different pioneer families - many of whose descendants still live here - are represented on the marked graves in Rock Creek.
(Text by S. Ashworth)
GPS Coordinates: 37.5086, -106.2128
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #57515
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