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The oldest cemetery in Lehi, Utah provides a rich history of the people and culture of Lehi.
The Lehi Pioneer Cemetery was the first settler cemetery in the Lehi area. When the citizens first started using this land as a cemetery in 1851, it was public land. Thomas R. Jones acquired the property through the Homestead Act of 1862, but quickly deeded it to the city for its continued use as a cemetery. Although most of the records for the cemetery prior to 1895 have been lost, evidence exists proving that a pioneer who died at the age of seventy-five was the first man to be buried in this land. It is also evident that along with the many early settlers that died of natural causes there were a few murder victims buried in the Lehi Pioneer Cemetery, such as the Lehi schoolteacher, George William Thurmond, who was killed by one of his students while trying to decorate a city Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
In 1872, Lehi’s population was growing and the city decided they needed to widen the State Road that the Lehi Pioneer Cemetery was located on and build a railroad through the middle of the cemetery. Subsequently, many bodies that were buried in the cemetery were dug up and reburied in a new cemetery. Many families who had family members buried in the cemetery had moved and were indifferent to the relocation, but a few families asked for the bodies to not be moved. In the process of building, most of the bodies in the area were removed but some were not found and remain there today, including John Griggs White.
Following the removal of the bodies from the cemetery and the addition of a railroad, the land was no longer recognized as a cemetery and people could buy the land for their own property. Den Turner bought some of the land and built a tire shop called “Den’s Tire Shop” during the 1950s. Bud Nielson also bought a portion of the land to build his home around the 1970s. Den Turner eventually sold his tire shop to Don Harris during the 1970s. All three men found skeletons of the pioneers on their land while doing construction. In response to the bodies that were found, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers decided to build a monument near Den’s Tire Shop on the centennial anniversary (1951) of the cemetery’s establishment. However, in the five years that followed it became evident that the monument needed to be moved because the customers of Den’s Tire Shop were repeatedly hitting the monument while entering and exiting the shop. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers pleaded with the city for the monument to be moved and in 1958, the city gave a small piece of land to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers a block east of the actual historical cemetery for the monument and small roadside park. Currently, one can visit the monument of this historical cemetery on this roadside park located from 190-200 West State Street, Lehi Utah.