Colfax Area Historical Society

Colfax District Cemetery

Addresses and hours
Pictures of the cemetery  .  1850's Colfax Indian Cemetery
For further information about the Colfax Cemetery
Funerary symbolism

Colfax Cemetery, California


Colfax history
Museum & archives
Research resources
About the CAHS
FAQs (Q&A)

Phone: (530) 346-8599


USPS mail: Mail for both the Colfax Area Heritage Museum and the Colfax Area Historical Society is received at PO Box 185, Colfax, CA 95713.

Museum location: The Colfax Area Heritage Museum is physically located at 99 Railroad St, Colfax CA 95713.

Web site:


Who's who in the Colfax District Cemetery

War Veterans

Fraternal organizations
of the interred

First persons killed in action to be interred

Books about the interred, through 1984

The Colfax Museum and Colfax Library have listings for more than 2,500 graves.

Cemetery addresses

180 North Canyon Way
Colfax, CA 95713

P.O. Box 231
Colfax, CA 95713

Cemetery hours

7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday

Pictures of the cemetery

Click on any of the following thumbnail pictures to view a larger version of the photo.


The year was 1850 something, when the first person, Dan Bayless, was buried in what was a parcel of land 272.25 by 400 feet, conveyed to the town of Colfax by John Burns dated May 27, 1878. In February, 1913 a map showing the name "Evergreen Cemetery" was located on the property of J. F. Seims, of Illinoistown. Later an addition in 1916 was made. On May 9, 1917 the Placer County Board of Supervisors established the Colfax District Cemetery, comprised of Judicial township No. 13, where it is now located at 180 North Canyon Way and Colfax Cemetery Road; A second addition in 1931; A third addition in 1933, and a fourth addition was made in 1944. Some 20 acres were set aside for future burials and is cared for by the Colfax District Cemetery Committee. To get to the Cemetery... Turn left onto North Canyon Way, after entering the East I-80 Freeway off-ramp to Colfax. OR enter the West I-80 Freeway off-ramp, cross over the Freeway, and turn left onto North Canyon Way.

Colfax Indian Cemetery

There is a separate "Colfax Indian Cemetery" located on the Iowa Hill Road, just off South Canyon Way Road, in Colfax.

For further information on the Colfax District Cemetery

To view a list of links for finding Veteran Graves Sites Resources, click [HERE].Books Available in the Placer County Library System: Colfax Cemetery Recording, Author Du Vall, Anita Heston, Call number R 929.3794 DU Pub date 1984 1 copy available at Auburn Library in the Genealogy shelves & Placer County, California (cemeteries). Call number R 929.5 PLA V.01, Pub date 1984, 5 copies available at Auburn Library in Genealogy shelves

The word cemetery comes from the greek word for sleeping chamber and it denotes a place where the living can chronicle an area's past.

As the population grew by the late eighteenth century, so did the need for burial plots. The "rural" cemetery began in this country in 1837 with the establishment of Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By the 20th century, "rural" or "garden" cemeteries were commonplace. Embellished with flowers, trees, and traversed by pathways and grand avenues, cemeteries took on a park-like setting.

Funerary symbolism

While families chose the tomb type and style to be constructed, they also chose the symbols they wanted to adorn the tomb or be inscribed on the enclosure tablet (an enclosure tablet is found on the front of the tomb and lists the names of the people buried in the tomb). Families had many different symbols to chose from and many time combined one or more of the following to express their feelings for the family members buried in the tomb.

Anchor - This early Christian symbol of hope has been found as funerary symbolism in the art of the catacombs.

Cross and Anchor - another early Christian symbol referring to Christ as "hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sincere and steadfast" (Hebrews 6:19).

Angel - These "messengers of god" are very popular funerary imagery, often depicted escorting the deceased to heaven or mourning untimely death.

Broken column - Symbolizes life cut short.

Broken flower - A flower, broken off at the stem, symbolizes a life terminated at a very young age, giving way to a term still used today. . . "nipped in the bud."

Clasped hands - A symbol originating centuries ago, the clasped hands symbolize unity and affection even after death.

Column- Universally associated with commemoration. The column was used most often as a war memorial.

Cross - Symbolizes faith and resurrection and considered the perfect symbol of Christ's sacrifice in the Christian religion. Common variations include the Latin cross, the Greek cross, the Celtic cross, and the Russian or Eastern cross. Popular for tombstone markers. Crosses can be found on tombs in ironworks, and freestanding and relief ornamentation.

Crown - Immortality.

Flowers - Flowers symbolize human life and beauty, but also have individual associations. Daisy: innocence. Lily: symbolizes purity. Often associated with the Virgin Mary and resurrection. A calla lily particularly symbolizes marriage and the lily of the valley is associated with purity and humility.

Oak - Because the oak was looked upon as the tree from which the cross was made, it became a symbol of Christ.

Palm - Originally a symbol of military victory, it was adapted into christianity as a symbol of Christ's victory of death. Often seen as an attribute of martyrdom and eternal peace.

Pansy - Symbolizes remembrance and humility.

Poppy - Sleep.

Rose - Associated with the Virgin Mary, the "rose without thorns." A red rose symbolizes martyrdom and a white rose symbolizes purity.

God/Eye of God - Symbolizes the omnipresence of God. The eye of God enclosed in a triangle represents the Trinity.

Hands - A hand with the index finger pointing upwards symbolizes the hope of heaven. Hands holding a chain with a broken link symbolizes the death of a family member. The hand of God plucking a link of the chain represents God bringing a soul unto himself. A hand holding a heart is a symbol of the Lodge of Odd fellows.

Heart - Traditionally a symbol of love, courage and intelligence, the flaming heart signifies extreme ardor. The heart encircled with thorns symbolizes the suffering of Christ. A heart pierced by a sword symbolizes the Virgin Mary, harkening to Simeon's prophecy to Mary at the birth of Christ, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul."

Hourglass - The attribute of death and Father Time, the hourglass symbolizes the passage of time and the shortness of life.

Lamb - This symbolizes Christ in his sacrificial role and personifies innocence, gentleness and humility.

Mourning figure - Typical early 20th-century funerary image.

Obelisk - 19th-century Egyptian revival decoration universally associated with commemoration.

Torch - Originally the torch was a Greek symbol of life and truth, but the inverted torch in funerary art symbolizes death.

Urn - Originating as a repository for the ashes of the dead in ancient times, the urn has evolved into a popular symbol of mourning.

Vessel with flame - Represents the eternal flame or the eternal spirit of man.

Weeping willow - A symbol of sorrow and mourning.

Wreath - Originating as an ancient symbol of victory, it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption. It is now a common memorial symbol.

The Gravestone Symbolism web page has additional information and photos about the meaning of additional symbols used on gravestones.


New info about the Weimar Sanatorium Cemetery

June 2013 – A transcription of the burials in the Weimar Sanatorium Cemetery is now available. (information can be searched by both name and grave number). This site also contains a map of the grave sites and historical information.

Otis Wollan
Nancy Hagman
Seat 3 Vacant

Cemetery Superintendent

For information about
grave purchases, contact
Craig Ballenger
(530) 906-9570