Mesa County Genealogical Society

Teller Institute Burial Ground

This page was last modified:

1886 - 1911

There has been ongoing research over the years to attempt to establish the location and burials.

Journal of the Western Slope, Volume 8, No. 3, Summer 1993: pg 19; "The number of persons laid to rest in the school cemetery would be one indication of health conditions at the institute. Unfortunately there is no record of burials and, today, the location of the school's cemetery cannot be ascertained..." **footnote: "The Mesa County Genealogical Society, which has cataloged all known cemeteries in Mesa County, confirms that the Indian School Cemetery has not been located. However , there is documentation that a small number of remains from the Indian School were removed to the Orchard Mesa Cemetery. Conversation with Phyllis George, January 25, 1993."**

The 'Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs' (RCIA) for each year can be found on-line. They are searchable *.pdf files at 'The History Collection of the University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries'. They can be found here. They are fascinating.

From the 17 Sept 1896, Annual Report of Commissioners of Indian Affairs:

Teller Graveyard Fencing Notice

There has been renewed interest in the Teller Institutes burial ground with archaeologists considering the use of ground penetrating radar to locate the old burial ground. A presentation was recently given at the Mesa County Public Library by John D. Seebach, PhD about this project.

In May 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior released Volume 1 of an investigative report which begins to address the history of Federal Indian Boarding School Policies. It can be found here.

In September 2023 the Interior Department launched an oral history project related to the Federal Boarding Schools. The details can be found here.

Although the Colorado Department of Human Services Teller Institute Task Force which can be found here, concluded it's work, more information about the continued investigations of deaths and burials of Indigenous children can be read at HB 22-1327

Although the exact location of the Teller Institute burial ground is unknown images of the institutes maps are included here. These maps are held by the Museum of the West - Loyd Files Research Library. [Note: clicking image will open a larger view.]

Teller Institute Map Teller Institute Map Overlay

There is a 'Find A Grave' list for 16 of the Teller Indian School burials. There is no source information given.

The obituary for one teacher was also located. Miss Lois or Lue H Childs died in August 1900 of typhoid fever. One obituary stated her body was not "shipped home", and was buried in Orchard Mesa Cemetery, however another stated that her brother "accompanied her remains to Columbus, Ohio". Her grave is not listed on Find-a-Grave or Billion Graves in either location.

  • Miss Childs, Grand Junction News, 04 Aug 1900
  • Miss Childs, The Daily Sentinel, 01 Aug 1900.

  • *Note* The death dates in square brackets were found in the RCIA (Annual Report of Commissioners of Indian Affairs) for the year of death. They are often differnt from the death date listed in the obituary. The RCIA does not note any sources for the dates they give.

    Listed in RCIA but not in Find-A-Grave. It is not known of these were students or employees or if they were deaths or dates of residence:

    • Raymond Numa - 23 Dec 1893; Age 16, died at Teller Institute Monday night of consumption, buried Tuesday.
    • Clara Upshaw - Jul 1905
    • W.I. Davis - 1886 or 1888
    • Thomas H. Brean or Brown - 1888/1889
    • Geo. Wheeler - 1889
    • Sanford P. 'No last name' - 1889/1890

    Back to Cemetery Alphabetical List

    Valid CSS!