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The History Mystery #31

North Fork History Group members recently came across these two grave sites about one half mile south of Bass Lake dam. The names on the graves are George Pell, Theophilus Belmontes, Alex Carso, Agapito Mora, but there are no dates.

Does anyone know the history of these graves? Please leave a comment on this site or email NorthForkHistoryGroup@gmail.com

Prepared by Connie Popelish

History Mystery 31 graves 1

Follow-up to History Mystery #30

We received no information about the identity of the two girls in the photo. If you should come across any information, please contact coarsegoldhistoricmuseum.org or leave a comment on this website. Thank You

History Mystery #30


  1. As a Senior Archaeologist with Applied EarthWorks, Inc. I was part of a research team piecing together the history of the Crane Valley (Bass Lake) Dam during its recent seismic upgrade. The grave sites south of the Dam contain two grave markers marking the location of four burials – Theophilus Belmontes, Alex Carso, Agapito Mora, and George Pell. Three of the names are on one marker while George Pell is listed by himself on the other marker.

    An article in the San Francisco Call on March 6, 1910 reported that Alex Carsa (ending in an “a” not an “o”) and Al Mora, who were both employed by the San Joaquin Light and Power Company, were killed instantly when a derrick fell over at the Crane Valley quarry. The article stated that four other workers were injured in the accident, one fatally. The state death index indicates that Belmontes died the same day as Carsa and Mora. There is a “Don Monte” listed in the newspaper article as wounded or, more specifically, crushed with internal injuries. Is it possible that “Belmontes” and “Don Monte” are the same person and he is the individual of the four who was fatally injured and later died?

    There are two George Pells listed in the death index between 1905 and 1939. Both died in Fresno—George A. Pell in September 1932 and George F. Pell in December 1908. If, in fact, either of these individuals are associated with the marked gravestone, it is probably the latter (George F. Pell) given the similarity in the date to the deaths of Carso and Mora and the third individual ”Belmontes/Don Monte”. If so, Pell would have died and been buried first (1908), with the others meeting their fate two years later (1910). Although it is not certain how Pell died, the fact that Carso, Mora and Belmontes were buried at the same location suggest that Pell’s death also may have been linked to construction at the dam. The mystery continues!

    • Interesting! It’s great to learn a bit more about our local history in the Crane Valley/North Fork/Bass Lk area. Thanks Mary, for filling me in on my history!
      Michael O

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