Historic Clearmont Characters Speak About Sunnybrook Cemetery

Historic Clearmont characters took the stage Oct. 22 in Clearmont prior to the Sunnybrook Cemetery walk hosted by the Clearmont Historical Group in Clearmont.

Around 30 people filled the Center to hear the stories of some of the people who are buried in Sunnybrook.

Sandy Hirz, Historical Center director, began the program with a recap of Clearmont’s history saying that due to the cowboys coming into town in the early 1890s, and ‘shooting up the town,’ Clearmont became known as ‘Bloody Clearmont’. One of the fatalities of Bloody Clearmont was an unknown cowboy.

Sandy Hirz

Linda Burton as ‘Landlady,’ took up the story of the cemetery, saying that since that first cowboy resident, there have been 40 more people buried in Sunnybrook, many are marked with wooden crosses, and there are eight permanent headstones. Only 32 of the 41 graves are actually marked, and many of the names have been lost to weather and time.

It is unknown who actually owns the cemetery, but Burton said, “The town of Clearmont maintains the fence around the graveyard so the residents will not get out.”

Ira Roadifer, portraying ‘Cowboy Sam,’ took the stage to talk about his father, Doc Huson, who hoped to establish a town bearing his name. Thinking the railroad would soon push up to Clearmont, he purchased a homestead from his mother-in-law on Clear Creek and made plans for his town.

Sam was born in the old Huson rock house that still stands three miles west of Clearmont, the youngest of the Huson boys. When the railroad went to Ulm, Doc moved his family into Clearmont, where they lived for several years.

Fran Felz, as ‘Clarissa (Ma) Huson,’ Sam’s mother, told her story. She told about being married at 16, to Doc Huson, and giving birth to 10 children, but only seven lived. She said that her and Doc moved to Clearmont when the railroad went to Ulm and how Doc died at age 81 and was buried in Sunnybrook.

Robert Prusak represented Russell Sweat, who was one of Clearmont’s earliest residents. Sweat bought a lot on Front Street where his family lived for a years before buying a resident lot. His son, Jeptha worked as bartender and varies other jobs. Later, Jeptha, wanting a saloon to manage, built the two-story building on Front Street that has been through several owners and still stands today as a landmark in Clearmont. Russell’s health failed and he died in 1903 at age 91. He is buried in an unmarked grave in the Sunnybrook Cemetery.

After the historical background, the group piled into cars and went up to the cemetery. There, with the aid of flashlights and a full moon, they walked among the crosses and graves, seeing a little more of Clearmont’s history.

A display of Sunnybrook at the Historical Center

Amy and Tim Rowe walked to the cemetery as a ‘full moon date night,’ rather than driving. Amy commented the stars were beautiful and it was a nice warm night. Tim said he enjoyed the talks, as they are new to Clearmont, and he liked learning about the area’s history.

The walk concluded back at the Historical Center, where there was a display of photos and more information about the cemetery.


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