My Martinez

Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery

  Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery
Carquinez Scenic Drive, Martinez, CA
Potter's Field at Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery - by Yang (Alex) Liu

This cemetery is one of the oldest formal cemeteries in California and was originally called the Martinez Cemetery in 1850.  The City of Martinez took over the operation of the Alhambra Cemetery (5 acres) in the mid1970’s and Potter’s Field (3 acres) from the Contra Costa County in 1992.

As you walk through the Cemetery you will find the final resting place of Captain Joseph Rutherford Walker, the first non Native American to see into the Yosemite Valley, and Carolyn Holpin, the famous flame dancer known as “Papinta” You will also walk past names you’ll recognize like Rankin, Brown, Larkey, and more.  

Buried near Captain Walker, under a simple marker, is Eliza Notthingham, Her contribution to history is far from simple. As a nine year old, Eliza saved four year old Abraham Lincoln from drowning in a Kentucky creek.  Goosebumps will fill your arms when you realize that Eliza is buried directly across from “Hardy the Faithful,” a freed slave. 

There are an estimated 5500 people (and a few animals) buried in the Alhambra Cemetery, numerous undocumented and many without headstones.  The City inherited incomplete burial records from the Alhambra Cemetery Association (1869-1969).  It is also alleged that the County purged many of Potter’s Field records years in the 1920’s.   An exact number of burials may never be known.  

Cemetery Decedent Lists

Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery Decedent List
Potter’s Field at Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery Decedent List
American Civil War Veteran’s Buried at Alhambra Pioneer Cemetery

Historical Society’s Virtual Alhambra Cemetery Tour

Visit for pictures of marked graves.  

The information in the lists above provided by:

Alhambra Cemetery Association Records, Volunteers documenting grave sites, Family members and decedents, Old Grace Episcopal Church records, Contra Costa County Genealogical Society’s Pioneer Cemetery Records Volume 1, Contra Costa County Records, Department of California & Pacific - Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Cemetery Events


Ever wonder about the founding families that helped establish Martinez? Or maybe you’re curious about famous local Victorians? If so, then make sure to save the date for upcoming Cemetery Tours this fall on October 30th and 31st at 6:00 pm. A Martinez Historian will take you on a guided tour so that you can learn more about the history of important figures who contributed to the beginnings of Martinez. Bring a flashlight, wear comfortable shoes and please keep the children at home. Fee and registration information will be announced in September.

Dates: October 30 & 31
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Alhambra Cemetery, Carquinez Scenic Drive
Ages: 16 yrs+ 
Fee: TBD
Registration Date: TBD