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Davis Journal

Kaysville City Cemetery – Rich in History

Apr 05, 2021 01:50PM ● By Cindi Mansell

Kaysville City is full of history, dating back to its first settlers in 1850 and its actual incorporation in 1868. It was the first city to be incorporated in Davis County and the 27th to be incorporated in the Utah territory. The boundaries at that time embraced an area approximately five miles square (having doubled to its current 10.5 square miles). Of this area, the Kaysville City Cemetery takes up 23 acres (including a converted home/office and a pocket park) and has its own rich history.

Cemetery Sexton Trent Walker and his assistant, Kristin Callor, are the pleasant faces that grieving families or prospective buyers meet with to discuss gravesite purchases and burial details. Walker was appointed Cemetery Sexton approximately three years ago and oversaw the home/office conversion at 425 East Crestwood Drive (formerly and understandably named “Cemetery Street”). The building is as bright, modern, and welcoming as the staff. One would instantly feel comfortable with both of them and their wealth of history, stories, and knowledge.

In 1856, the first cemetery Plat “A” was surveyed and laid out. The first burial took place in 1857, and the historic records from that era are housed safely in the Kaysville City Hall vault. The beautiful calligraphy penmanship and detailed books are truly historical in comparison to today’s records that are just a morsel of data in a large database. 

The city’s Spatial Generations database is very slick, allowing a user to simply plug in a name or piece of a name and returning with all types of information, photos, obituaries, and ownership or purchase documentation. The record-keeping would make any genealogist smile and the city also offers an interactive cemetery map on its website. 

The cemetery houses a monument erected for World War I and II veterans and approximately 1,300 veterans are buried here. The City’s Historic Preservation Committee even has hosted tours and invited the public to come learn about “one of Kaysville’s most beautiful and historic places.” Walker said the tours included a short historical orientation and a chance to visit unique headstones and learn about historical figures in Kaysville (as well as activities for the kids).

Prominent settlers in Kaysville City were also buried in this cemetery. These include Elias Adams (Adams Canyon was named after him because he led pioneers through the mouth of this canyon to settle Layton and Kaysville); Henry Blood (former Governor of Utah 1932-36); Newell “Hod” and Clover Sanders (founded the Clover Club Potato Chip Factory in 1938); William Perry Epperson (editor and manager of the Weekly Reflex from 1912-1930 and honored by the Utah Press Association for producing the best weekly newspaper); Thomas Roueche (first Kaysville City Mayor) and even Jack Flint Hill ( he played professional football from 1957 to 1961 during his career with the Denver Broncos and Saskatchewan Roughriders).

Typical staff duties entail anything from meeting with families, oversight/coordination of grave opening/closing, working with mortuaries to dress the grave, landscaping, snow removal and working with headstone companies to name a few things. 

Walker said an interesting phenomenon occurred during the COVID pandemic in that grave purchases increased from a typical 9-10 per month up to 80. The entire process had to change because mortuaries were not open for viewings and a graveside service became a family’s only option. Attendance was limited, and thus began the “streaming” or “Face Timing” of graveside ceremonies. This changed the way staff had to coordinate the various grave openings and closings and they had to lay out the different areas and times to ensure they would not overlap or cause disturbance to the other. They ramped up landscaping efforts to include not only the graveside area, but the entire surrounding area (it needed to look sharp on camera). Walker said cremations are on the rise and seem to be a generational shift from traditional casket burials.

The intent is for cemetery space to be available for the next 30-40 years. This could involve additional property purchase, or perhaps future plans for features such as mediation/cremation gardens or walls to fully utilize and maximize space while providing a soothing and beautiful location to honor your loved ones. 

Walker said one of his most interesting stories is of a gentleman who walked into the office and said “he would like to special order his underground apartment.”