Rand District Cemetery: Memorials and Minerals

Weekly Journal Miner, 23 Dec 1896.

“Collected here are the final resting places of some five generations of dream chasers, miners, merchants, ranchers, freighters, madams, promoters, vigilantes, teachers, movers and shakers, loafers and busy bodies; most from somewhere else, from all over the world, all brought here by the winds of fortune, and caught, like nuggets, in holes in the ground.”

~Rand Desert Museum

Rand Desert Museum maintains a monument at the northeast corner, commemorating the many anonymous graves on site and listing the known names of those present.

The San Bernardino County Sun, 20 April 1938

Definition of a ‘Mine’:

“A hole in the ground owned by a liar.”

~Mark Twain

The Pittsburgh Press 22 Dec 1978. By today’s standards, this story went viral when it appeared in newspapers throughout the nation. Thank you, Charley King.

The Bakersfield Californian, 31 Aug 1940

The Rand Desert Museum supports the cemetery by adding names to the pioneer plaque when research shows that a pioneer of the District was buried in the cemetery but the headstone is missing.

The Bakersfield Californian, 15 Jan 1943

The Bakersfield Californian, 20 Oct. 1944. Although the Constable is not buried at Rand District Cemetery, we thought his obituary was a fitting tribute here.

The Times, 6 May 1957.
The Grave Monuments of Burro Schmidt & Tonie Seger, two of our more celebrated pioneers.
Eveleyn Ann “Tonie” Seger 1897-2003. Tonie and Burro Schmidt never met in real life but their friendship was an enduring one.

Why would a man take 38 years out of his life to tunnel through a solid granite mountain?

The questions are many. The answers are few.

William “Burro” Schmidt dug a half mile tunnel in Copper Mountain which was completed in 1938.

The Bakersfield Californian 6 March 1977
The Bakersfield Californian 6 March 1977

Little did Burro Schmidt know as happenstance would have it that years after his death a widow by the name of Tonie would pay the ultimate tribute to the miner by protecting his legacy for the rest of her life, and spending eternity next to his grave.

The Bakersfield Californian, 28 June 1955

The Los Angeles Times 5 May 1959

Bakersfield Californian, 24 May 1948

The San Bernardino County Sun, 22 Nov 1958

The Bakersfield Californian, 19 May 1949

Our respect to the groundskeeper who tends and protects Rand District Cemetery so beautifully for visitors from around the world to enjoy. Thank you.

The Bakersfield Californian, 6 Oct 1948

We couldn’t help noticing a modular home across the street that had a sign which read, “Passport to Oz.”  The front yard is decorated with a Tin Man statue and other interesting works of art but we just admired from afar since there was no yellow brick road in sight. We really enjoy the whimsy that many homes display in the local area.

And in the weirdest thing I saw all day category goes to…

Carrying on the theme of discovering unique and unusual things, we spotted this tiny “creature” on the ground near the Rand District Cemetery sign. What it is, or who left it there is anybody’s guess.  It’s still there waiting for the next mystified visitor to find it.

Boot Hill, Johannesburg, California.

On the way to the cemetery from Randsburg the back way on Butte Avenue towards Johannesburg, we came upon a well-tended “Boot Hill,” decorated with all manner of boots on a hillside near an off-road area.

For further information about Randsburg and its fascinating history, please read our accompanying article at https://www.thedesertway.com/randsburg-ca/

Citations and Suggested Resources:





Directions: https://www.yelp.com/map/rand-district-cemetery-johannesburg

Located on a hill in Johannesburg, California, the cemetery is bounded by Mt. Wells Avenue on the north, Sunset Avenue on the south, Ophir Street on east, and Fremont Street on the west.

2 thoughts on “Rand District Cemetery: Memorials and Minerals

  1. This coming weekend, we will reunite my uncle, Garry Dore who we lost earlier this year, with his brother Glen Dore and my Grandmother Mary Lou Dore and Grandfather, Chuck Dore. All of their ashes to Rand Cemetery under my uncle Glen’s desert mimosa tree planted over 33 years ago, where he was then laid to rest. The Dore Family finally all together, with family coming as far as Wisconsin to celebrate their lives…reuniting brothers, & the parents with their sons. We will love and miss you for all eternity. Via con Dios <3

  2. What a beautiful, well kept “old West” cemetery. My father Capt. George W. McCormick Jr. is buried in the cemetery. He was murdered next to his campsite in 1966. He spent many a happy week-end mining his 40 acres. It truly was his paradise on earth.

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