The Santa Margarita Public Cemetery

By Cheri Roe

The Santa Margarita Public Cemetery District was formed by the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors on March 5th, 1909. (1)

The Santa Margarita Cemetery, as originally designed in 1915, was generated from a grant of land 3.5+ acres from the owner of the Santa Margarita Ranch, Frank Reis.

The Santa Margarita Public Cemetery District serves the communities of Santa Margarita, Garden Farms, La Panza and outlaying areas. (2)

The Santa Margarita Cemetery has 1740 plots laid out in 3 sections. Santa Margarita Historical Society and San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society have completed a census of our cemetery. If you are looking for a relative or have any information about your relative in our cemetery, please contact us at "" and we do our best to help.

In 1993 The SM Cemetery District made improvements: pave and curb roads, fix headstones and cover plots with new topsoil that had eroded away. Also a spiritual/inspirational gathering gazebo was built.

There are two stories about why our Cemetery is located where it is. Both may be true and are recounted here. What is not disputed is that before 1889 (when the town of Santa Margarita began), Patrick Murphy allowed (or didn’t stop) town people from burying people on Ranch property. After Frank Reis bought the Santa Margarita Ranch in 1904, he realized that this practice couldn’t continue and gave the land where the present day cemetery is located. However, some gravesites pre-date our cemetery’s inception. Were people relocated to the present cemetery? Or were people already buried at the present location so that is why the cemetery is located where it is?


County Board of Supervisor’s minutes 1909 page #218
Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) report 2002
San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society

Special thanks to: David Church - LAFCO, Jim Patterson - 5th District Supervisor and especially Martha Graham and San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society!

San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society
for contacts, classes, and Genealogy Libraries.