Alert to Fremont home buyers and community members

St. Joseph Cemetery

The purpose of this site is to alert potential buyers of the new homes behind the old Saint Joseph Cemetery of the details of the development of the site.

  1. After selling expensive burial plots with beautiful views of the south bay to families in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Catholic Church dug up 251 bodies (in 2007) and moved them to make room for this development. In the vast majority of cases the Church did not notify the families. The proof is the letter the church sent to the developer WestGate Ventures explaining that they found and removed 251 bodies.
  2. A large number of buried bodies were left in the development. An electronic survey paid for by the developer shows the location of these bodies. The developers have lied about the existence of these bodies. This survey was created by the firm hired to locate the bodies. It takes some work to really understand this issue, but an impartial observer looking at all the data will agree that the evidence strongly suggests that numerous bodies are still buried in this development.
  3. Getting into and out of this development will be very dangerous unless a stop light is placed on Mission Blvd. For proof of this, try to exit the parking area north of the cemetery and get onto Mission Boulevard at rush hour. A stop light is not part of the plan at this time.
  4. A very large majority of the residents in the area are opposed to this development. Every neighbor that attended the city meetings on this development was against the development. Numerous comments on this development by Fremont residents and neighbors express opposition.

251 Bodies moved, many bodies left buried, building roads and houses over them.

251 BODIES REMOVED!

According to information submitted to the city of Fremont by Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 251 buried bodies were removed from the land being developed behind the old Saint Joseph’s Cemetery (Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA). A letter was sent to WestGate Ventures about moving these bodies. These bodies were reburied in the cemetery proper. Actually these graves were dug up, the coffins were discarded, the bodies were put in small boxes and reburied in mass unmarked graves (mainly unmarked, 251 bodies, ten head stones) in the southeast corner of the cemetery. These 251 bodies were removed from the extreme western end of the development. (The western 35 meters of the field) No bodies were removed from the eastern 115 meters despite the fact that the electronic survey showed more indications of buried bodies in the east than in the west. All of this information was given to the city of Fremont by the developers of the site and the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Copies of the documents provided to the city can be found on this site.

The western end of the field being developed contained about 10 headstones of old graves. Several of these were substantial; one was more than four feet tall. These grave stones were also moved to the old cemetery proper. One can be certain that the families that buried their ancestors in the western end of the field (Family names on the headstones include Cesario, Jennings, Sosa, Guzman, Gonzales, and Salter) paid a lot of money to the Catholic Church to bury their relatives on this beautiful site. This is the area that has a great view of the south bay. We can also be certain that the people that buried their relatives on this site did not expect that their bodies would be dug up and moved to make way for a development of new homes. The Catholic Church did an extremely poor job notifying the families of the people whose bodies were removed. Only three family names were mentioned in the report to the city. It will be very interesting when these families learn what happened to the buried bodies of their relatives. Concerns about legal actions or even vigilante justice by these families would be enough to prevent a prudent person from occupying a home in this development.

Many Bodies left buried, building roads and houses over them.

In testimony before the Fremont Planning Commission the representative of the church (Mr. Seelig) stated that they expected to remove 20 to 30 bodies from the field. After removing 251 bodies from the back 35 meters of the 150 meter field (by 60 meters wide) the method of locating bodies was changed and no further bodies were found. It is very clear that this change was made to prevent finding additional bodies to save time and avoid the expenses of removing the bodies. It was cheaper to leave them buried. It is also clear to anyone that studies the evidence that there are a large number of bodies still buried in this development.

The Fremont Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) rejected this development by a vote of 5-0. (Unfortunately they are only advisory.) One of the concerns they expressed was that buried bodies still existed on the site. At the City Council meeting considering the rezoning of this land Joseph Lonsdale Sr., owner of this web site, offered to pay to have areas containing bodies explored in detail. I was, and still am, very certain that numerous bodies are still buried on the site. This offer was ignored as were all comments by residents opposing the development.

WHERE TO FIND THE PROOF

The letter dated 4/5/2010 from Tom Richardson, General Manager, Alameda County Operations, Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services gives extensive details on the removal of the 251 bodies. The developers are not denying that they removed 251 bodies from this area. What they are lying about is the bodies that were not removed.

There is evidence to show that numerous (I would estimate hundreds) of buried bodies are still in this development in a found electronic survey.

No bodies were found in the eastern area of field because the developers did not want to pay for more removal operations. Also, since there are probably 200 to 500 bodies in the eastern section of the field, the removal of this many bodies would have most likely made the approval of the development less likely.

If you live in this in this development in any home except the expensive view homes, there will most likely be numerous bodies buried on your property. You will certainly be driving over buried bodes every time you enter or exit the development regardless of where you live in the development.

If you live in of the “view homes” in the western 35 meters of the development you are living on land that had numerous buried bodies removed. If you live in one of the view homes and receive a communication from a person with one of the following surnames (Cesario, Jennings, Sosa, Guzman, Gonzales, or Salter) be very careful. These were the family names on the headstones from where the graves were dug up and moved to make room for your home. These may have been descendants of the original Portuguese settlers of Fremont. The Portuguese are a wonderful friendly, generous, people. However they are not known for putting up with injustices to their ancestors without taking revenge. These families most likely paid the church for these burial sites only to have their ancestors graves desecrated. While their complaint should be to the Catholic Church that did the despicable deed of moving the buried bodies, righteous anger is often misdirected. It could be directed at the occupants of the house.