In this undated photo, a couple walks their dog at
Memorial Park on East Main Street and Aliso Lane in
Ventura, Calif., where several flat headstones dot the
terrain including that of James Sumner. The United
Sates Cavalry soldier born in 1840, fought in the
Indian Wars and was awarded the Medal of Honor before
his death in 1912. A retired Marine sergeant would
like the body exhumed and transported to Bakersfield
to more hallowed ground. (AP Photo/The Ventura County
Star, Karen Quincy Loberg) ** LA TIMES OUT. LA DAILY
VENTURA, Calif. – The grave site for an 1860s Army
hero awarded the Medal of Honor is now a popular
Ventura dog park with poop soiling what veterans say
should be sacred ground.
"Talk to any veteran, he will tell you it is a
terrible thing. It's disrespectful," said retired
Marine Sgt. Craig "Gunny" Donor, who served two tours
in Vietnam and is bent on getting the soldier's
Pvt. James Sumner, who was awarded the nation's
highest military honor for gallant actions after a
band of Apache Indians kidnapped a settler's child,
died in 1912 and he was buried in what was then St.
Most of the flat grave markers have been hauled away,
but a few dozen markers still pepper the 7-acre
Cemetery Memorial Park that was home to about 3,000
permanent residents. Most were never relocated.
The lush, well-manicured hillside patch of green on
Main Street just a few blocks east of downtown Ventura
has pine, thickets of overgrown junipers and a
magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean and Ventura
It's a beautiful memorial park, a different kind of
park because living people come to have fun. I would
think those buried here would like that," said Jessi
Burt, a 24-year-old park neighbor walking her boxer
Others jogging with dogs in the park say pet owners
are good about cleaning up after the animals.
"The people who use the park are the most reverent, in
my opinion. Sometimes, people will come up and pick up
my dog's poop before I have a chance," said Beverly
Karbum, 58, who was walking her Australian shepherd
Army records show Sumner was a 28-year-old immigrant
from London who led the 1869 chase after the kidnapped
child into a remote canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains
in southeastern Arizona. There was an ambush and a
fierce firefight, but Sumner held off attackers until
reinforcements arrived. Records don't indicate what
happened to the child.
President Ulysses S. Grant awarded Sumner the Medal of
Honor in 1870. Donor believes the medal is buried with
Sumner died in 1912 at age 72. He never married and
there are no heirs, Donor said.
"I'm trying to get him moved to Bakersfield National
Cemetery. He needs to be moved to a place of respect.
Cemeteries are solemn places," said Donor.
But Ventura leaders have so far balked at moving
"We are treating him pretty darn well, except for the
poop," parks and recreation commissioner Sharon Troll
told the Ventura County Star.
The commission voted July 21 to postpone for two
months Donor's request to unearth Sumner.
Park commissioners have told Donor they're committed
to a long-delayed effort to commemorate the area
pioneers and military dead in the park.
But Donor, who lives in Fontana and is a state captain
for the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle club that
honors fallen veterans, isn't convinced. He expects
the fight to wind up in court.
"He has no family, no one else to stand up for him,
except for his brothers and sister in arms," Donor
Coachman, of course I am ticked-off. I think the
soldiers should all be placed where they are
wanted and respected. The present community is
more concerned with stupidity so they deserve
their little world of doggy poop ville. I see he
fought Indians so I am sure some jerks are running
about with the " Evil European " junk.
Don't expect Obama to get involved.
Ignored post by
21 August 2010 20:44
The City Manager of San Buenaventura, CA, is
running around the country trying to do damage
control on one of the worst mass grave
desecrations in the history of our country.
All headstones (600) were removed from the 3,000
local American pioneer graves and thrown off a
cliff up in the hills by the City. The cemetery
was then called a "passive park." (?).
"They forgot to remove the bodies!"
If you were to remove all the headstones and flush
markers from the graves at any cemetery, would it
not be a cemetery? In a cemetery, people are
buried in the ground.
St. Mary's, Presbyterian and the Hebrew cemeteries
are now a 'dog' park because the City has made it
so and after repeated requests, have refused to do
anything to enforce the dog 'leash' problem let
alone even consider the two organized attempts by
the local pioneer descendants to restore the
cemetery, and to abid by all state and federal
When 150 year old local pioneer graves can have
their headstones stolen by the City and ok'ed by
the same City Council, you have to realize that
the scum in our society has risen to the top and
now calls themselves the our elected leaders.
The City was charged to the upkeep of the cemetery
and stopped maintenance to merit the coming mass
grave desecration. It is against the law what the
City did. We have 81 total veterans from the Civil
War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish American War and
WWI buried here, amongst the 3,000 civilian
graves, not just one MoH recipient.
....The City of Ventura got so bold at grave
desecration, they exported their talent to the
City of Whittier, CA and their Mt. Olive Quaker
and Broadway Cemeteries, renamed Founder's
'Memorial' Park with it's now 2,380 desecrated
graves (about 65 veterans desecrated graves).
Another dog park:
If you include the 3,850 desecrated graves beneath
the Holy Cross School next to the San Buenaventura
(Ventura) Mission on Main St.(just dumb old native
American graves), the City of Ventura has their
desecration fingerprints on a whooping total of
13,230 desecrated graves throughout Southern
These were tired and war torn Americans mostly,
leaving behind the horrors of the Civil War and
moving to California for a fresh start and a
Little did they dream that their very graves would
be hunted down by the City of Ventura and robbed
of all dignity and respect.
There are 3 city governments and 2 Catholic
Archdioceses, here in California, that DO NOT want
anyone to know what has happened to our pioneer
Americans and their graves.
For those of you active or retired that would like
to join in on the cemetery restoration cause
please see contacts:
I saw the 'removal' of dis-interred Confederate
Soldiers along with cemetery sections of lessor
respected remains at Dallas when they put up the
Convention Center. Some of the more elaborate
stonework of the wealthier still exists.
Those 'moved' to somewhere was a sight that I'll
never forget. Far more morbid than anything
the Stephen Kings...Anne Rices or exploitation
films ever evoked aside from a few 'snuff flicks'
I regret watching. Made even combat look
civil...as Ernie Pyle once said "A Man only falls
The process of digging up these remains could not
be noble-ized as anthropological grave robbing
Raiders of the Lost Ark Indiana Jones types.
No this was urban progress and that once Hallowed
Ground was suddenly a valuable piece of real
estate with only the unkempt and weedy
eye sore a reminder of those given a Burial
standing in the way of the living mindful of
removing the remains of the dead instead of just
paving the place over (extensive excavation was
If one could imagine hundred year old busted
cutoff liquid leaking coffins stacked on flatbed
trailers and worse accomplished during the
cover of darkness like the ghouls of municipal and
corporate nightmare progress loving community
leaders they were.
The depraved indifference in conduct could only be
described as heinous horror.
In this case it's a dog park for
MOH winner Pvt. James Sumner...and some 3K
*sighs* Indeed, Weatherman. I know that I will
never take my dog to that park as a personal
protest, and out of respect for the soldiers
burried there. I would instead take flowers to it,
and give my salute to this fallen soldier, and all
others burried there. I suggest we all do, and
possibly with help start a Facebook petion?
Fake Patriots, and fake veterans!
Others jogging with dogs in the park say
pet owners are good about cleaning up
after the animals.
I would also like to make mention this is the most
ignorant statement in the article. That is NOT the
point of our anger. That is like someone taking a
crap, or piss on my husband, then cleaning him off
going "I cleaned it off, what?"
Fake Patriots, and fake veterans!