Tag Archives: El Campo Santo

Unconsecrated Burials

A cemetery is a consecrated ground used by the Established Church of England. Centuries ago there was often an unconsecrated section in which burials took place of the less fortunate although the ground could be consecrated prior to each burial. Such graves often have no marker and may hold unrelated burials.

In medieval times, witchcraft and devil worship, execution of criminals, and death achieved by suicide were reasons to withhold a religious burial. These rules were most likely created by the Church to strike fear into the congregation and ensure their adherence to a pious life.

The practise of burying unbaptised babies in unconsecrated ground was very common in Ireland. The burial method of stillborn children was often at the discretion of the parish priest and his beliefs (was the soul innocent and deserving a Christian burial regardless of whether the child was baptised?) It was not unusual for midwives to baptise a child particularly if it was not expected to live thus ensuring a consecrated burial.

The thrill of giving birth to twins was tragically compounded when the stillborn twin was buried in unconsecrated ground, and yet the second twin who died the following day after baptism was buried in consecrated ground. If the parents insisted the babies should be buried together, they were buried in unconsecrated ground.

There is a grave in Otisco Cemetery, Minnesota assigned to Paul Kuss who committed suicide in 1910. His resting place is downhill and down-wind of the main cemetery.

Source: http://rachaelhanel.me/2014/05/20/one-old-reason-why-you-couldnt-be-buried-in-a-cemetery/

Another isolated, solitary grave in the Orkneys is the last resting place of Betty Corrigall who attempted to drown herself in the sea when she discovered that she was pregnant and abandoned by her lover. Although her suicide was thwarted by a passerby she hung herself shortly after. Her burial place is on the parish boundary because the Lairds refused to allow her body to be buried on their lands. There is an interesting detailed story which continues after her death which can be read here http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/historicalfigures/bettycorrigall/

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In a previous post entitled El Campo Santo, there were two graves identified which were unconsecrated.

Jesus Indian was given an Ecclesiatical burial in 1879 by Father Juan Pujol. However, because he was drunk and did not receive the Sacraments he was buried near the gate of the cemetery in San Diego.

San Diego_Jesus

Bill Marshall was a renegade sailor who married an Indian woman and participated in the Garra Indian Uprising in 1851. After capture, trial and hanging he was buried outside the wall of the cemetery in El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego.

San diego_Marshall

El Campo Santo

El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego Old Town, CA, USA

A small cemetery of rogues, thieves and unknown persons tucked away in the Old Town on San Diego Avenue is well worth a visit. The oldest and most fragile gravestones are protected by white picket fences. 477 bodies are buried there, and tales of ghostly apparitions have been reported.

The old adobe walled Roman Catholic El Campo Santo Cemetery was established in 1849. Until 1880 it was the burial place for many members of the Old Town’s founding families as well as for a few gamblers and bandits who passed through the town.

Antonio Garra, a chief who led an uprising of the San Luis Rey Indians, was executed at El Campo Santo in front of the open grave he had been forced to dig for himself.

John Stiles
San Diego_Stiles
Sacred to the memory of John Stiles/who came to his death/
from a bullet/from a revolver/It was one of the old fashioned/kind and brass mounted/& such is the Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus 1879
San Diego_Jesus
Died December 1879/Aged 25 years/Excerpt from the Book of the Dead/’December 15, 1879, I have given/Ecclesiatical burial to Jesus Indian/25 years, who died of a blow without/receiving Sacraments. They told me/that he was completely drunk, and/thus I command him to be buried near/the gate of the cemetery’/(signed) Juan Pujol, Priest.

Bill Marshall
Bill Marshall/is not here,/but on the other side/of the wall
San diego_Marshall

Bill Marshall was an American man, a renegade sailor from Providence, Rhode Island who had deserted from a whaling ship in San Diego in 1844. He married the daughter of a local Indian chieftain and lived with the Indians. He took an active part in the Garra Indian uprising in 1851.

Bill and the Indian Juan Verduga were captured and brought back to San Diego to be promptly tried by court martial. They were found guilty and sentenced to hang. The Indian acknowledged his guilt but Marshall insisted he was innocent.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon of December 13, 1851, a scaffold was erected on the Thomas Whaley property near the old Catholic cemetery, El Camp Santo . The men were placed on a wagon and the ropes adjusted about their necks. The wagon moved on leaving them to strangle to death.

The funeral of Anita Gillis (click on the photo for a larger image)
San diego_Gillis