The first cemetery in Providence was located at the south end of First West street, in a plot owned in 1948 by Eldon Janes family which later became the site of Cherrywood subdivision. Probably the first person to be buried here was Magdalene Theurer, who died the day of her birth, December 23, 1861. Henry Gates, who was killed by a bear several years later, was also buried there. For 13 Years, or until 1872, it was used as the burial spot for those who died in Providence.
In 1872 the Providence Ward officials purchased from James Bullock an eighteen acre track of land on the North Bench, northeast of Dry Town (later River Heights), which since then has been known as the New Cemetery. The purchase price for the entire tract was $45.
About tow-thirds of the plot now serves as cemetery for Providence. It lies on a high point directly north of Providence and northeast or River Heights. The many monuments that dot the cemetery tell an interesting story of Providence and her people.
Year after year considerable improvements have been made at the cemetery. Each lot owner was assessed to help defray the expense of fencing the cemetery. This project was supervised by William Chugg, with Charles Checketts building the fence. During the late 1940’s, the water system in the cemetery had been enlarged and new pipes laid. The sprinkling system was installed in 1929 at a cost of $10,000 during the incumbency of Mayor James Hansen.
The part of the cemetery now in use has been planted in grass and evergreen trees and laid out in blocks 40 feet square. Each block contains four lots that are 20 x 20 feet. Many residents of College Ward and River Heights own lots in the cemetery. Most of the lot owners have paid Providence City $60 for the perpetual upkeep of their lots.
John Theurer was the first sexton. He was appointed January 1, 1872. He was succeeded by William Fife. Other sextons have been Alma Leonhardt, George M. Pickett, Adolph Baer, Norman Peterson and Jesse Zollinger.
Several years ago the cemetery was transferred from the ownership of the church to Providence City. Since then the beautification of the cemetery has been the major project of the various groups of city officials. They and the sexton have cooperated to make the cemetery a beautiful part of Cache Valley.
The cemetery was plotted in its present form in 1895 by Karl C. Schaub, who surveyed the land and drew the plats on two leather skins which roll up like papyrus when not in use. Cemetery records are now kept in a large old book with linen pages. Within its pages are recorded the tragedies which have been part of the history of Providence. It tells of the flu epidemic of 1918 when thirteen people died, half of them young mothers; and of the following winter when the epidemic returned to take five men and two women. Accidents at the quarry took their toll, and two men were killed by the railroad, one in 1894 and another in 1934. It records deaths caused by gunshot, by being kicked by a horse and by a multitude of diseases. It records a common tragedy of infant deaths. One family of 12 children had only four live to maturity.
For many years the sexton was paid $5 for digging a grave, a job which usually took two days and sometimes, in wintertime, a week. People unable to pay for the digging were allowed to furnish their own digger. Before the present perpetual care program was adopted, families planted their own lawn and paid the sexton $3 per year to water and mow it. Since the beginning of the new cemetery, people has been buried with their heads to the west, and the wife always lies on the right side of the husband.