By Graham Womack
What happened to Sue Robinson’s body and headstone is, like so much associated with New Helvetia Cemetery, something of a mystery.
Robinson was among Sacramento’s 19th century elite that were buried in one of the city’s earliest cemeteries. A famed actress and dancer, Robinson died in 1871 at 26, with her tombstone falling into disrepair within 20 years, according to news clippings included in a file for New Helvetia at the Sacramento Room at Central Library.
By the time more than 5,000 bodies were exhumed from New Helvetia in the mid-1950s so Miwok Middle School could be built, Robinson’s headstone was likely long gone.
The website FindaGrave.com lists Robinson as still being interred at New Helvetia, an impossibility. More than likely, she wound up where 4,690 other people who were disinterred from New Helvetia during the 1950s did: In a mass grave with 100 headstones at East Lawn Cemetery. New Helvetia Cemetery dates to 1845 and was originally a burial ground for nearby Sutter’s Fort. Notable people buried in the cemetery included Sacramento’s first elected mayor Hardin Bigelow, two-term U.S. congressman Marion Biggs and Donner Party member Phillipine Keseberg (whose first name is spelled as it is on her headstone but varies in other records).
Source: Sacramento Bee