The history of Modesto Pioneer Cemetery is as old and as rich as the history of Modesto itself.  We began as the Odd Fellows Cemetery operated by I.O.O.F Wildey Lodge. We are part of a large area of cemeteries located on the corner of Scenic Drive and Bodem Ave.  We  are one of four cemeteries located within what was once referred to as the "Silent City".   The four cemeteries located here are: Acacia (Masonic), Modesto Pioneer Cemetery (Odd Fellows), Modesto Cemetery Association (Modesto Citizens Cemetery) and St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery.  The land for this community burial ground was part of a land grant signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

Our History

 

The first burial was that of an infant girl, Elvira T. McLean, in 1856.  She was joined by her brother little William A. McLean in 1859.  They were both buried in the same plot.  This was the beginning of a family cemetery.  Later they were joined by John T. McLean 1866 - 1894.

                                  


In 1868 the Wildey Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was instituted in Tuolumne City.  Soon after Modesto was founded, the lodge moved to this railway town and the first IOOF meeting was held in Modesto on March 18, 1871.  The Wildey Lodge purchased the land holding the earlier graves in 1872.  They paid $150.00 for five acres between the Masonic and the Modesto Cemeteries.

The mausoleum, shown at the top of the page, was built in 1914 and is the resting place of many of the founders of Modesto, such as the Maze and Standiford Families


Over the years this cemetery fell on hard times due  primarily to the lack of income.  In August 1976 the Cemetery Board resigned "en mass" and turned what was left of the trust fund over to the California State Cemetery Board.  On October 1976 a citizens committee was formed.  In March, 1977the Modesto Pioneer Cemetery was incorporated.
 

Thanks to the new active board members, consisting of volinteers and the cemetery manager, Tim Copenhaver the Modesto Pioneer Cemetery has never looked better.





 

 
 

 

Contact us by telephone at 209-522-7736 or by e-mail pioneercemetery@att.net

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