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Manteca Historical Society donates name plaque to East Union Cemetery
Leon Sucht, right, of the Manteca Historical Society, unveils the East Union Cemetery plaque that the organization donated. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
There was a time when cows grazed freely in East Union Cemetery among the gravestones of such Manteca pioneers as Joshua Cowell and J.Walter Graves.

That didn’t sit too well with some who felt the rural cemetery just over a mile west of Manteca deserved more protection. That led to a fundraising drive in the 1920s to install fencing, put in water well plus placed two entrance arches for the cemetery established in 1872. One arch – the one of the Louise Avenue entrance – has since been removed to make room for large trucks that bring in concrete burial vaults.

Now another improvement has been made by the community. The Manteca Historical Society on Memorial Day donated a plaque set in a stone that gives visitors the cemetery’s name. Up until now  the cemetery had no sign that identified it as East Union Cemetery.

Before the cemetery was established, many settlers were buried in family plots on their own land and some in an earlier cemetery at Mossdale.

The donation of two acres by Alvin Shedd, who represented the area on the Board of Supervisors in 1872, led to the establishment of the cemetery. It was incorporated as Union Memorial Cemetery in 1877.

The name was changed later when it was discovered a cemetery in Brentwood was already called Union Cemetery. The association opted to change the name to East Union Cemetery as there was already a school on Union Road with that name which predated East Union High.

The cemetery is owned by an association which means every family that has a member buried there belongs to it and has a say in its operations.