Colorado’s Mount Vernon Cemetery Has Two Graves + Tons of History
Colorado’s Mount Vernon Cemetery has only two marked graves, and while small and off the beaten path, is a significant part of the state’s history.
Where is Colorado's Mt. Vernon Cemetery?
Colorado's Mt. Vernon Cemetery is located on the state's front range just south of I-70 west of Denver. The cemetery is located just north of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and if you're planning on taking a visit, you'll want to take the Morrison Exit (the "Red Rocks exit") off of the interstate.
Once you get to the parking lot, you'll hike a long trail up a mountain until you reach the cemetery.
The History of Colorado's Mt. Vernon Cemetery
Mount Vernon was founded in 1859 and served as a pit stop for gold seekers during this period of time. Interestingly, even though it is nothing more than a tiny cemetery these days, Mt. Vernon was once considered to be Colorado's capital city in the early days.
Who is Buried at Colorado's Mount Vernon Cemetery?
While it has been said that there are numerous unmarked graves at Mt. Vernon Cemetery, we do know the identities of two men buried there.
One gravestone belongs to Reverend Isaiah Rogers Dean, a man who moved to Colorado in an attempt to heal from tuberculosis but passed away in 1860.
The other gravestone in the cemetery belongs to James H. Judy who passed away at the age of 21 in 1867.
What Does the Mt. Vernon Cemetery Plaque Say?
When you reach Mt. Vernon Cemetery you'll be greeted by a plaque that tells a bit of the history of the site and two men that are buried there. This is what the plaque says:
Before you once stood the town of Mount Vernon. Founded in 1859, Mount Vernon offered supplies and lodging to gold seekers headed west along the Denver, Auraria, and Colorado Wagon Road. The only physical reminders of this bustling townsite in the Territory of Jefferson (now the State of Colorado) are the two stone grave markers. To find the cemetery and grave markers, look west for the small fenced area as you travel along Village Walk Trail.
One marker identifies RE. I.R. Dean, who dies in 1860. His stone reads, I am at Rest.” Rev Isaiah Rogers Dean moved to Colorado from the Midwest to enjoy the healing mountain air after being diagnosed with lung consumption (tuberculosis). The other is labeled James H. Judy, who dies in 1867. His stone indicates, “Aged 21 years 8 months 15 days.”
Although there are other burials in the cemetery area, the identities and the exact location of the remains are unknown. Respect historic landmarks and their incredible stories.
Take only pictures and do not disturb these important monuments of Jefferson County’s past. Enrich your park visits with local history. To learn more about the town of Mount Vernon and the rich heritage of Jefferson County, please visit the Hiwan Museum History Reference library or contact the Jefferson County Historical Society.
Take a virtual tour of Colorado's Mt. Vernon Cemetery: