Pathway into History

Cemetery Honors Lives

Cemetery Honors Lives


Pleasant Valley!  Happy name!

Monarchs envy thee thy fame.

Fortressed in by peaks sublime.

Happy people, genial clime.


River flowing swift and grand,

Gem of hoary mountain land,

Fruitful fields and mineral hills

Wet by thousand sparkling rills.


Pleasant Valley!  Happy name!

Flocks that feed on hill ad plain,

Compassed in secure, serene –

A world itself, this valley green.

By James Freeman, Jr. (circa 1890)



A Pioneer Cemetery

A majestic view of Twin Peaks highlights the view to the west; wildflowers and grasses carpet the ground; barrel cactus and pinon pine punctuate the landscape.  What a fitting place for quiet thought and reflection.  Residents of the valley began using this location for their cemetery around 1870.  Two stories prevail regarding the first grave.  One story names a gunfighter who was killed and now rests in an unmarked grave.  The other indicates that the death of a child in 1874 forced the settlers to pick a cemetery.  Whichever story is true, the peaceful setting continues to appeal to residents and to serve the community.

Western Fremont Historical Society photo, 2000.   Click the image above for a full-sized version

A Community Record

The oldest inscribed headstone in Howard Cemetery lists the death of Elijah Stout in December, 1874.  Reading other headstones reveals a high number of deaths of babies and children, evidence of the time’s hard lie and disease.  Locally prominent historic individuals buried here alongside recent residents include the first settler in Howard, Jonah Peregrine; the man for whom West Creek was named, Aaron West; as well as the man for whom the town of Howard was named, John Howard.  As of 2000, 455 gravesites were located here.

Man of Vision

Leander Mains (1855-1946) contributed to the Pleasant Valley community y founding the Howard Cemetery Association and serving as its President of the Board of Directors for thirty years.  Mr. Mains settled on a Howard Creek homestead in 1881.  His leadership, vision and perseverance resulted in the permanent establishing of Howard Cemetery.

Western Fremont Historical Society photo, circa 1880

Click the image to the left  for a full-sized version

Land Purchased

The Howard Cemetery Association applied to purchase land for the cemetery from the General Land Office.  After several years of appeals, President Warren G. Harding signed an order on March 20, 1922, allowing the purchase of 20 acres for $25.00.  Colorado law requires any landowner entity to be acceptably registered with the Colorado Secretary of State.  This Certificate confirmed the Howard Cemetery Association’s status.

National Archives document courtesy of Western Fremont Historical Society

Click the image to the right  for a full-sized version