Bingham City Cemetery - Description / History

By Paul, Lori, Brad, Tiffany, and Stephanie Jencks

(Connecting Families Across The Globe Volunteer Genealogy Research Team)


 History and data for genealogy seekers:

Bingham City Cemetery, also referred to by some locals as the “Kennecott Copper Cemetery”, consists mainly of past residents of towns or camps that used to be known as Bingham Canyon, Carr Fork, Copperfield, Copperhill, Copperton, Dinkeyville, Freeman Gulch, Frogtown, Highland Boy, Lark, Leadmine, Lower Main, Phoenix, and Telegraph.

The city of Bingham was located just below the Utah Copper / Kennecott Copper Mines.  Bingham was incorporated in 1904, but it is clear that burials were taking place well before that.  The exact date when burials began at Bingham City Cemetery is not known. The earliest documented birth is in 1824. One tombstone documents a death date of 1873; several others show death dates during 1879.  According to town board minutes, the cemetery was created in 1913.

Many people buried in the cemetery braved ocean crossings and found their way across the United States in search of employment at Utah Copper and Kennecott Copper Mines.  Burials are found from people born in more than 30 countries; Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Nova Scotia, Puerto Rico, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, Yugoslavia – as well as from 38 states within the United States.

This cemetery has a diverse, multi-ethnic background.  Many headstones are in different languages. Please note that some names were “Americanized.”  Do not get discouraged if you cannot locate your ancestor at first glance.  Some examples of “Americanized” names are Brkljacic to Blockovich, Busljeta to Bullet, Epop to Error, and Jengich to Yengich etc.  Names were also spelled phonetically, which accounts for the many discrepancies in spelling.

Parents buried several babies and small children due to epidemics like Typhoid Fever, Diphtheria, and Whooping Cough.  Young men lost their lives from mining accidents and some suffered violent deaths, such as murder. People died from many diseases that are 100% curable today.   The deceased were mostly laborers and many did not have money set aside to buy a headstone.  It is heartbreaking to see the hundreds of deaths of people under the age of 30. Some families are buried together in unmarked gravesites with only one parent being noted with a headstone at best. Times past were hard for these people as they suffered through several wars and The Great Depression.

In addition, Kennecott Copper Mines relocated the remains of those buried at Chandler Cemetery (Dry Fork area) to Bingham City Cemetery in 1999.  The Chandler cemetery was moved when Kennecott expanded mining operations in the canyon.  That cemetery consists mainly of burials that were from the Chandler family and snow slide victims from Finland.

48 known War Veterans are buried at this cemetery, including those who fought in the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and II, Korean, and Vietnam War.

2 police officers that died in the line of duty received recent headstones.

A fire and later a flood swept through the cemetery, which caused the metal markers to become unreadable and damaged some gravesites. Vandalism has occurred.  Time and deterioration resulted in the inability to decipher some headstones.

Bingham City was disincorporated in 1971.  By law, care and maintenance of the cemetery was legislated to the largest state agency operating within the city limits; that being Jordan School District.  The records they inherited were threadbare, incomplete, and highly inaccurate.

 

Today the Jordan School District is the proud owner of this historic and sacred ground. A new 4 acre section has been developed. Cemetery plots can be purchased to the west. For information regarding the cemetery please contact-

Jordan School District Auxiliary Services
7905 South Redwood Road
West Jordan, UT 84088-4601
Attn: Cemetery Sexton-Paul Bergera or Peggy Margetts
801-567-8753

  

Sources of Geneological Information

The information on this website is a compilation of work from the Jencks family and the following sources:

  • Bingham Mortuary Records
  • Bingham City Cemetery Records and an old plat map
  • O’Donnell Funeral Home Records
  • Information from Faun Price- Past Daughters of Utah Pioneers member
  • Records from Gordon Bodily-Past Bingham Canyon Lions Club member
  • Bingham Bulletin newspapers on microfilm
  • A database compiled by the staff at Jordan School District’s Auxiliary Services 1971-2003 from old, sparse records from Bingham City
  • Two tombstone transcription projects including a digital photograph survey of each burial/headstone and a GPS reading of each gravesite by Brad, Tiffany and Stephanie Jencks alongside Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (2004 and 2014)

 
For those looking to find their ancestor, on this website you will find a color headstone photo, GPS burial location, all vital statistics, and any information that the Connecting Families Across the Globe International Research Team has found.  Please feel free to print any information about your relative or ancestor.  This material is copyrighted and made available free of charge for the personal use of people researching their ancestry.  No permission is granted for the use of this material for monetary gain or use on other websites  unapproved by the Paul Jencks family.

 

Service at the Bingham City Cemetery

 The Journey through May 2017-

  • Over the past 14 years, the Jencks family organized, led and worked with 2,400+ volunteers in reconstructing sparse, incomplete cemetery records.
  • 1,100+ previously unknown burials have been proven.
  • People from 30 nations and 38 states in the US have been identified.
  • Cemetery visitors have been personally interviewed by the Jencks' for more than a decade every Memorial Day weekend. The research has been compiled into books and made available online and in print, at no cost, for those seeking to find their ancestry.
  • Education and service tours are conducted by appointment through the Jencks family.  See below-

Connecting Families Across The Globe Volunteer Genealogy Research Team, (the Jencks family), a non-profit international research group was formed to answer cemetery genealogical inquiries. They can be contacted the following ways-

info@binghamcemetery.com  or  binghamcemeteryinfo@jensgroup.com

PO Box 95309
South Jordan, UT
84095
  • An alphabetized listing of burials/wall of honor with more than 1,800 names is updated regularly.
  • Bingham City Cemetery Vol. I, a 1,500 page historical cemetery book,  authored in 2004-Brad Jencks, Eagle Scout project.
  • The Next Generation-A Lasting Legacy cemetery book, authored in 2014- Stephanie Jencks, Girl Scout Gold project.

Bingham City Cemetery research has been donated to genealogy libraries, archives, repositories, and free genealogy websites for use in assisting people to find their ancestry.

See binghamcemetery.com  and   binghamcemetery.com/unknown-but-loved   for the latest  including research and description. On these websites you will find updated headstone photos, GPS burial locations, vital statistics, cause of death, and other pertinent information to help you find your heritage and ancestry.

  • Multiple cemetery beautification projects have improved the grounds.
  • Headstones have been repaired, restored, preserved and/or replaced.
  • A granite international monument in honor of 30 nations was erected (Tiffany Jencks Girl Scout Gold and Stephanie Jencks Girl Scout Silver projects).
  • Flags are placed by the Jencks and The American Legion each Memorial Day weekend to honor military veterans.
  • Veterans of 6 wars received replacement headstones courtesy of the Jencks family. Installed by the Bingham High School football team
  • A granite military monument was erected by Brad Jencks, The Bingham Canyon Lions Club, The American Legion, Post 132 Kearns Utah, The United Veterans Council.
  • State of Utah death certificates, scanned, recorded and copied by the Jencks team, family, friends and student volunteers that attend 4 schools within Jordan School District. 2005-2006
  • Ongoing interviews and international correspondence by Connecting Families Across The Globe. 2004-present

  

The Latest Developments

  • 130 Unknown But Loved mini granite headstones were designed, made and installed - Stephanie Jencks - Girl Scout Gold project in conjunction with Bingham High SkillsUSA Chapter.  Bingham SkillsUSA combined with students/teachers, multiple church groups, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Salt Lake County 4-H to make this happen.  People who were once forgotten or represented only by unreadable, rusty metal markers received the proper honor and respect that they deserve.
  • In addition to her recent cemetery book, Stephanie made a self guided educational/history and service tour for all cemetery visitors. It can be accessed via QR code and a mobile device. You are encouraged to take this tour and enjoy learning more about this unique cemetery. Please be respectful of the cemetery grounds and follow the challenge to pay it forward in service at the end of your tour.

Scan the QR code below to take a self guided tour as you enjoy a glimpse of the legacy left behind.

Historical Tour QR Code

  • A Service in progress - Sponsor Someone Special memorial pavilion.  Nearly $30,000 was fundraised by Stephanie Jencks for a covered pavilion, memorial, and information center. This project is still under construction. Phase 3 will be complete May 2018 with a formal dedicatory program.  To include the following:

1-Individualized plaques listing each deceased person by name, (Handmade by Special Education students/South Valley School)
2-GPS grave locator for every burial
3-New cemetery map
4-QR Code with self guided history and service tour
5-History of Bingham Canyon and past residents
6-Wall of honor for military veterans of 6 wars and police officers who died in the line of duty
7-Personalized life sketches
8-Artwork through the eyes of a Special Education student graduate
9-Sitting and meditation area
10-Memorial tribute for donors and businesses

FOR STATUS UPDATE CLICK HERE

  • An education lab/medical forensics study of animal bones is being conducted in the SW corner of the cemetery by Ms. Cynthia Cox, teacher at Bingham High School. The area is fenced off with a locked gate. Please do not disturb the ground in that area.
  • Gratitude for this lifelong service goes to Jordan School District, The History Channel/Roots Television online, Ancestry.com, RootsWeb, USGenWeb, The Bingham Canyon Lions Club, Copperton residents, The American Legion-Kearns Post 132, The United Veterans Council, The Utah State Historical Society, National Federation of Genealogical Societies, Salt Lake County Archives, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Bingham High Football Team, Bingham High SkillsUSA, Jordan School District students, Salt Lake County 4-H, The Aspect Foundation/International exchange students, multiple religious denominations, Nu-Art Memorial, Stock Lumber, Freddie Foundation, Utah Funeral Directors Association and Families, private businesses, and 2,400+ donors/volunteers, ages 7-94. We came together to honor the world! KUDOS EVERYONE!!!

Comments from our developers

All of the genealogical information has been verified to the best of our ability.  Advice has been sought from amateur and professional genealogists, computer professionals, engineers etc. Every effort was made to be as accurate as possible in documenting the burials.  Living offspring will need to further verify the accuracy of their ancestors buried at Bingham and Chandler Cemeteries. This gives you a good start.  If you need assistance, please to contact us, we research at no cost.

Jordan School District upholds the responsibility to properly care for the cemetery.  They are doing a wonderful job.  As stated they are in the business of education not cemetery ownership. We have made the agreement that we will answer worldwide inquiries to assist them. We are willing to search for additional information about your ancestor from this area at no cost. We live near the largest genealogy repository in the world.  Several out of print books are available for us to research.

If you find discrepancies in the information, or have additions to the research, please contact us. We will continue to update new information as it becomes available.  Best regards in your pursuit to find your heritage. 

 

Background and recognitions

What you see here started with the efforts of Brad Jencks… an Eagle Scout. It turned into a lifelong multi generation/community and global project. The motto began: It takes a community, not just a boy. Thanks to all that have contributed in this effort to honor people buried in sacred and hallowed ground.

May we always remember and respect the lives of those who have gone before us. As the international monument states “They crossed the land and sea to build a life for you and me.”

History has been preserved from flood, fire, vandalism, and future deterioration.  The research/information was donated to the Utah State Historical Society who placed it on the State of Utah’s burial database web site.  It is text only.  This is one of the most utilized web sites in Utah State government.  One may visit the web site at- http://history.utah.gov/burials/execute/searchburials

Jordan School District Auxiliary Services staff members generously donated a large amount of non-paid time inputting the previously inherited records before we began the quest to find more information. These good people spent many hours compiling a database that was the backbone of this project.  This was a huge task and a big thank you goes out to all those who helped provide this information.  To be continued...

Headstone Photo Survey