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Historians honored for cemetery work

Their booklet, online directory help identify turberculosis victims
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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The efforts of three historians in preserving the names of veterans and others buried in area cemeteries has earned the trio a commendation from the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

Colfax’s Robin Yonash and Nancy Hagman and Glenda Ragan of Auburn were recognized during the supervisors’ March 26 meeting for their volunteer work with the Colfax, Weimar and Auburn cemeteries.

Yonash and Ragan were among other volunteers whose work has resulted in the publication of a booklet and online directory that connects wooden numbered gravesite markers in the Weimar Cemetery to more than 1,400 indigent tuberculosis patients who died at the hospital and are buried in the cemetery. The Weimar Cemetery is located on the grounds of the former Weimar Joint Sanitorium, which began operation in 1919 and closed as a medical facility in the early 1970s. Today, the Weimar Institute grounds surround the cemetery.

Their work required countless hours of research, combing through tens of thousands of death certificates and Weimar Cemetery and Weimar Sanitorium documents.

The booklet, titled “The Weimar Joint Sanitorium and the Weimar Cemetery,” includes the list of 29 veterans buried at the cemetery who were previously unidentified.

Hagman was recognized in the commendation for her research and articles – including her “Hunting for History” column in the Colfax Record – that document those Placer County cemeteries and individuals buried there.

Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, who represents the Third District that includes Colfax and Auburn, presented the commendation to Hagman and Yonash. Ragan – who has also done extensive research on the Auburn Cemetery – was not present to receive her commendation.

“Nancy, Robin and Glenda are the sort of community members that we should all strive to be – committed, participatory, selfless and incredible assets to our County. I honor them for their great work at the Colfax and Weimar cemeteries,” Montgomery said.

Hagman, who is also a trustee and executive secretary of the Colfax Cemetery District that oversees the Weimar Cemetery, said the district is in the process of obtaining cement markers to replace the wooden numbered gravesite markers, which are falling victims to decay. She said the cement markers will first be placed at the gravesites of the veterans, and eventually all of the 1,400 graves.

Special disks will also identify veterans’ graves. “They will be in place for Memorial Day services, the first known service to be held on Memorial Day at the Weimar Cemetery,” Hagman said. Also in time for the ceremony, she said, Colfax Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2003 plans to install a memorial plaque and flagpole, with materials donated by Hills Flat Lumber.