Clovis Cemetery District will unveil a granite memorial at Academy Cemetery on the morning of July 16 to honor the pioneering families whose remains are interred there.
The dedication ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 16 at the cemetery east of Clovis at the end of Mendocino Avenue off of Highway 168. The granite memorial was mined from Academy Quarry, according to Clovis Cemetery District officials.
“On Nov. 22, 1867, 8-year-old Benjamin Baxter Baley, son of William Right Baley and Nancy Funderburk Baley, of the Academy Colony, lost his life to illness,” officials wrote in a press release. “Faced with the prospect of buying their child at Fort Millerton or Centerville, both a day’s ride by horseback, wagon or carriage, was unbearable to the couple.”
The growing Academy Colony did not have a cemetery at the time, so the early Fresno County pioneers looked for a spot to create one, near Dog Creek.
“It was there, under a graceful oak, that Benjamin Baxter Baley was laid to rest, becoming the first person to be interred at the Academy Cemetery,” said the release.
Sarah Ann Baley Simpson donated 10 acres of land and dedicated it as a cemetery on March 2, 1890. Many Fresno County pioneer families rest there; surnames include Armstrong, Bacon, Baird/Beard, Baley, Blasingame, Cole, Collins, Cranmer, Eley, Estill, Greenup, Harrison, Hayes, Hazelton, Hedgpeth, Loveall, Martin, Matthews, Musick, Qualls, Simpson and Thompson.
Some of those laid to rest at Academy include judges, constables, county assessors, prominent businessmen and cattlemen.
“Their descendants still reside in the area today, carrying on the legacy their ancestors began more than two centuries ago,” officials wrote.