Mission San José Cemetery

When you exit the Church to see the cemetery use the door on the left that has the large cross over it. You will return to your tour back into the Church through that same door as that’s the only way for visitors to go into and out of the cemetery. Standing in the doorway and looking left to right this is the view you will see.

Cemetery Panorama
Picture taken 12:58pm 22 Feb 2012

This is a 180-degree panorama and you can see the Mission walls on the left and right side of the photo.

While every grave site is special to someone or some family, there are no grave sites of historical importance pointed out in any of the Mission literature or via signs in the cemetery. So, here we’ll show some random, interesting markers.

Augustine Bernai (1872) age 76
Manuel Bernai (1874) age 22
Grave Marker
Picture taken 12:58pm 22 Feb 2012
Maximilian Sigrist (1884) age 70
Constant Sigrist (1916) age 74
Grave Marker
Picture taken 1:01pm 22 Feb 2012
Thomas L. Smith (1884) age 55
Hannah Smith (1894) age ?
Grave Marker
Picture taken 1:01pm 22 Feb 2012
Michal Cannon (1890) age 73
Mary Cannon (1898) age 86
Grave Marker
Picture taken 1:00pm 22 Feb 2012

Most cemeteries have a cross; this one is no exception. It’s in the center and toward the back.

Path to Cross
Picture taken 1:01pm 22 Feb 2012
Cross
Picture taken 1:02pm 22 Feb 2012

To leave the cemetery you have to go back through the Church reversing the course you took getting to the cemetery. Be certain to look at the door for the skull and crossbones above it.

Cemetery Door
Picture taken 1:03pm 22 Feb 2012
Skull and Crossbones
Picture taken 1:03pm 22 Feb 2012
Cemetery Sign
Picture taken 1:03pm 22 Feb 2012
The plaque reads…The bodies of hundreds of our predecessors from the mission period, Native Americans, Mexicans, & Spaniards alike rest here. In that time, graves were marked with small wooden crosses, if marked at all. Thus, the skull & crossbones over this door proclaimed this area as the cemetery.

Many Native Americans who lived at the mission wished to follow their custom of being buried at their home villages. For those from the nearby village Oroyson, the missionaries honored their wish by blessing the former village site as a cemetery.

Title to that site was returned to the Ohlones by Floyd L. Begin, Bishop of Oakland, in 1965.

Here, later immigrants added new layers of graves to the old. Please visit our holy ground with reverence.

Now, backtrack through the Church and into the garden and then exit through the museum and see some outside features.