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Vallecito Stage Station Cemetery
San Diego County, California
Contributed by Steve Paul Johnson [email@example.com].
Recorded on February 13, 2000. Total records = 2.
The Vallecito Stage Station was built in 1852 and was first used as
a stop for a transcontinental mail route. From 1858 to 1861, the Butterfield
Stage Line carried passengers from St. Louis, MO to San Diego, and up
north to San Francisco. Passengers would rest here, and sleep overnight.
The stage route followed the same route first blazed in 1774 by Francisco
Garces, of the Mission San Xavier de Bac near Tucson, in search of a
route that would connect with the California Missions. In 1775, Juan
Bautista de Anza followed this same route, and so did the men of General
Stephen W. Kearney, on their way to sieze Alta California from Mexico.
Today, County Highway S2 roughly follows this path.
Located along County Highway S2, just outside the border of Anza Borrego
Desert State Park, the Vallecito State Station is now a camp ground.
The original station, being made of adobe, has since crumbled, and a
replica has been built. The cemetery, also referred to "Campo Santo"
(Holy Ground), lies about 100ft east of the station. Only three people
were buried there.
- Steve Paul Johnson
Unknown, "The Lady in White"
Hart, John, d. 16 Mar 1867, 31y
Mason, James E., b. 1851, d. 1931, "U.S. Land Patentee",
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John Hart and James Mason had once owned the lands adjacent to the
station and farmed it. James Mason was the last owner of the land until
the County of San Diego purchased it and turned it into a park.
"The Lady in White" has become famous among the regulars
at the campground. She came from "back east" to join her fiancé
in Sacramento who had stuck it rich in the gold fields. The stage journey
normally took a month to complete, and tested the strengths of most
travellers. The water was often bad, and meals normally came once a
day. She became gravely ill, and when the stage stopped at Vallecito,
the men carried her in. They rested her in the bedroom. Despite the
best care they could give, she died that night.
Later on, they went through her belongings but could not find any identification.
They found a white wedding dress, dressed her in it, and buried her
100ft outside the station.
Since then, station hands and other stage passengers have reporting
seeing a "lady in white" pacing nervously outside the station.
She never seems to bother anyone. To this day, campers still report
seeing her roam nearby.
Memories of Vallecito: Rick Mealey, of Seeley wrote a poem about
the Lady in White, and Stacy Vellas, an Imperial Valley schoolteacher,
recalls taking her students to the cemetery. Click
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