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Group honors dead at Utah pioneer cemetery

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HURRICANE, Utah — A group of history buffs has honored the dead at a pioneer cemetery in southern Utah.

The Sons of Utah Pioneers dedicated a new memorial plaque Saturday that identifies the 38 people thought to have been buried at Harrisburg Cemetery in Hurricane, The Spectrum of St. George reported.

The ceremony took place 96 years after the last burial at the cemetery, and culminated three years of research by Don Burton of the organization's Cotton Mission Chapter.

His wife, Laura Burton, said the couple was drawn to the cemetery by the tombstone of her great-grandmother, Susanah Drummond Robb, who died in 1873 while giving birth to her stillborn sixth child. The baby was buried in Robb's arms.

Don Burton's research found that half of those buried in the cemetery were younger than 6.

"It became kind of a dear story for us, and he said we need to find out who's buried here," Laura Burton said.

Featuring ornate fencing and decorative plants, the cemetery sits in the middle of the Harrisburg Estates subdivision, where members of the homeowners' association have helped with its upkeep.

The Harrisburg pioneers were part of a cotton mission sent to southern Utah by Mormon church President Brigham Young.

According to the Washington County Historical Society's website, the settlement was founded in 1861 but all but gone by 1892. Floods, fires and a nearby silver boom forced residents to move away over time.