Life Saving Station and "G" Ranch Cemetery
Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California
Take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard into Point Reyes National Seashore. Follow road signs for "Lighthouse." The cemetery is about 20 minutes driving time from Bear Valley Visitor Center. The small cemetery is past the Oyster Farm turnoff, just west of Schooner Creek. Cemetery turnoff is marked "Historic Life-saving Station Cemetery", road runs north. Small parking area is available. Hiking trail runs west, uphill, to the cemetery.
The newspaper article (below) from the award winning Point Reyes Light, May 1, 1986, tells the story of how the Life Saving Station Cemetery was rediscovered, the plans for restoration, and some detail about the people interred there. Some current hotographs follow.
Guardsmen and Rangers to Restore Old Gravesites
By Rhonda Parks
Members of the Point Reyes Coast Guard Station this Thursday were scheduled to restore a gravesite in the National Seashore where 11 officers of the former US Lifesaving Service at Point Reyes lie buried under tall grass.
Two of the gravesites were first discovered in 1959 by rancher Joe Lunny. The larger of the sites contains the remains of Captain Henry Claussen, the first commanding officer of the Lifesaving Station, and his family.
Graves near the Claussen family site contain the remains of officers John Korpola, George Larson, Andrew Anderson and Fred Carstens, all of whom served at the Life Saving Station.
Created in 1860 as a branch of the Treasury Department, the Lifesaving Service was absorbed by the Coast Guard in 1915. The site of the old lifesaving station now houses the Coast Guards' west coast communications station.
Coast Guard Chief Bruce Elliott said he and nine other men -- members of both the Coast Guard and National Park Service -- will clean up the gravesites Thursday - "in memory and respect for the forerunners of the present day Coast Guard. "
"We plan to mow the high grass around the gravestones, cut the trees, and paint and repair the fences," Chief Elliott said.
When the graves were first discovered in the late 1950s, a Coast Guard Commander had officers search the records for circumstances surrounding the death of members of the Claussen family and Lifesaving Service officers.
The log of the Lifesaving Station contains accounts of how the servicemen died:
Andrew Anderson, Fred Carstens: At 10 a.m. on Dec. 12, 1890, the boat crew was trying to pull a boat up on the beach when a large wave came in, overturned the boat, and injured both men. They were transported to a dwelling and the doctor was called but arrived too late. Both men died at 11: 10 a.m. Dec. 13, 1890. Reverend McCoy preached a double funeral the next day.
John Korpala: At 8 p.m. March 2, 1891, Korpala complained of having chills and a severe headache. At 6:30 a.m. March 3 he was found dead in the bed in his room. The coroner said Koipala died from a hemorrhage in his lungs.
George Larson: On March 1, 1893, while practicing with a boat in the surf, Larson was killed when a breaker came in and turned the boat over. Larson was struck by the gunwale of the boat and killed instantly.
Hinrik Claussen (1819-1872): He died of blood poisoning from an insect bite . His son, Capt. Peter Claussen, officiated at the service.
Agneta Claussen: The wife of Capt. Claussen, she died on 1877 of unknown reasons. Her husband officiated at the ceremony.
Christiane Claussen: The Captain's second wife, she died in 1892 giving birth to their first son, Henry.
Capt. Henry. Claussen: He died Nov. 13, 1915, after a three- year illness diagnosed as massive stroke. He was buried along side his mother.
(Article reprinted here with the kind permission of Robert Plotkin, Editor and Publisher, Point Reyes Light.)
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