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Prison Burials in Chaffee County

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Buena Vista Mt. Olivet Cemetery visitors often ask, "Who is buried under all of the plain white- painted wooden crosses at the far east end of the cemetery?" No names or dates describe any of the inmates of the Colorado State Reformatory (now called the Colorado Correctional Facility) who were buried in Block 22 when their bodies were unclaimed by family or friends.

 

Most burials in Block 22 were those of prisoners, but Kate Gross, an old Irish washer-woman, one or two babies, and the colorful 300-pound Saloonkeeper "Frenchy" Perrault of Tin Cup are interred there too. Two prisoners were buried in Fairview Cemetery in Salida, Colorado. Here is a list of all known (and possible) prisoner interments in Chaffee County, Colorado cemeteries.

 

Anglemeyer, Isaac - Inmate. Age 20; Died 1914 (20 April?). He froze to death at the Reformatory.

Ballard, E. Thurman - Inmate. 1890 - 24 April 1911. Shot by a guard while he was trying to escape.

Benight, Thaddeus (Charles) - Inmate. Age 55 yrs 3 mos 20 days, Died 8 Jun 1912; a recently paroled prisoner who overdosed in Granite, Colorado.

Bishop, Walter - Inmate # 3397. Age unknown; Died 27 Jan 1914. Unknown cause of death.

Bishop, Wesley - Inmate # 10707. Age unknown; Died Jul 1944; a full blood Ute Indian stated to have been killed in a fight with a "Colored boy"

Conway, George W. - Inmate # 327. Age unknown. - Died Jun 1895. Conway was shot and killed when prisoners staged the first riot at the Reformatory. Guard Regan fatally shot Conway in the stomach. His body may have been removed from his original unmarked grave on the Reformatory grounds to section 22 in Buena Vista.

Cummings, Alwyn - Inmate. 1886 - 28 Aug 1906; killed from a derrick falling on him on the Reformatory grounds.

Hall, W. T. - Inmate # 699. Age unknown; Died 29 Nov 1898. His was the first death reported to have occurred in the Reformatory as a result of natural causes. Previous deaths were all caused by violence and accidents.

Jackson, Dwayne - Inmate. 12 May 1957 - 20 May 1985. A 28 year-old African American who died of heart failure.

Kelsey, Arthur - Inmate. Age unknown; Died 21 Nov 1928 from Intestinal Tuberculosis..

Klatz, Keith W. - Inmate. Age 19, Died 22 Dec 1922 of pneumonia.

Knight, Albert Robert - Inmate # 3696. Age 33; Died 24 Aug 1915 when he was killed by a horse barn blowing down on him.

Lopez, Luis T. - Inmate. 27 May 1943 - 9 Mar 1969. Committed suicide by hanging. He may have been buried in Denver's Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Marko, Stephen - Inmate # 3082. 1888 - 19 Jul 1912. Shot to death in Leadville by guards after escaping from Reformatory.

Martinez, Besalirez - 1910 - 1956. An inmate at the Colorado State Prison in Canon City, Colorado. Martinez was one of the last prisoners to be executed by the use of the gas chamber in Colorado. He is buried in Salida, Colorado.

Montoya, Noya - Inmate. Age 20, Died 1947. He was whipped to death while being punished for infractions on the infamous "Old Gray Mare" at the Reformatory.

Moore, Frank - Inmate. Age 21 yrs, Died 18 Jul 1922; accidentally killed by a hay truck running over him while working on a hay crew on the Ehrhart Ranch at Centerville, between Salida and Buena Vista.. He was buried in Fairview Cemetery, Salida, Colorado.

Nielson, Rasmus - Inmate. He was shot and killed in Aug 1915 while escaping. Nielson is one of two prisoners who are buried in Fairview Cemetery, Salida, Colorado.

Rapue, _____ - Inmate # 10914 Age unknown; Died 26 Jul 1945

Spurlin, Edward - Inmate. 1885 - 12 Nov 1907. 22 year-old Spurlin died from a venereal disease. He was a carpenter from Oregon.

An Unknown Inmate. Name and age unknown; Died Nov 1930. This prisoner died in Canon City from illness, but may have been brought back to Buena Vista for burial.

Winn, Jimmie. - Inmate. 7 Apr 1940 - 27 Jul 1993. Died of a heart attack and was cremate.

 

Mt. Olivet Cemetery Buena Vista, CO.

Buena Vista Colorado Cemetery

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