Burton Matteson

Director of Cemeteries,

Violett Sexton





Tabatha Smallwood

Assistant Director of Cemeteries,

Oakridge & West Goshen Sexton




All mail to:

Goshen City Cemeteries

202 S. 5th Street

Goshen IN 46526

In 2004, the City Council passed an ordinance which established a Department of Cemeteries combining the management of cemeteries under a Director of Cemeteries and a Board of Cemetery Trustees. The Board, consisting of five members, appointed by the Mayor, meets four times a year.

Official cemetery records are maintained, deeds are issued and payments are processed through the Clerk-Treasurer's office, 202 S. 5th St. Contact them at 574-533-8625.

The “Cemetery Information & Regulations” document contains decorating guidelines and other information pertinent to cemetery patrons.

Cemetery fees are set by the City Council.  Current fees were established in Ordinance 4746.

Our cemeteries:


The earliest known burial at Oakridge Cemetery was in 1832. The trustees of First Methodist Church founded the cemetery in 1839 and passed it to the City of Goshen in 1859. The 40 plus acre property, just north of the U.S. post office across the railroad tracks, contains numerous historic burials including eight mayors of Goshen and veterans from every major American war. Unique sections at Oakridge include the Grand Army of the Republic and potter’s field sections and sections founded by Sharis Israel (Jewish congregation), International Organization of Odd Fellows and Eastern Orthodox churches. Burial sites are available at Oakridge.


Settler John Cripe who died in 1831 is believed to be the first burial at West Goshen Cemetery. The site was purchased and used by the German Baptist Church as a cemetery beginning in 1859. After being a church cemetery for over 100 years it was ceded to the City of Goshen by West Goshen Church of the Brethren in 1975. The property, south of Berkey Avenue, near the junction of Berkey and Dewey Avenue, includes over ten acres and has burial sites available for purchase.


Violett Cemetery, located on Violett Road, just south of Kercher Road and the Goshen Dam Pond, is named for the pioneer family that first owned the 40 plus acre property. The first known burial at Violett was in 1837, but local lore suggests that a Native American burial ground existed on the property prior to that. Another local legend suggests that the Underground Railroad passed through along the east bank of the Elkhart River. Violett was officially established as a cemetery sometime in the mid- to late 1800’s and passed to the City of Goshen in 1897. Burial sites are available at Violett.


Dierdorff Cemetery is a small pioneer-era cemetery of less than two acres located just south of Goshen College on Main Street. The first burial here was Elizabeth, daughter of German Baptist pioneers on their way to Iowa in the early 1830’s. The property was purchased and established as a family cemetery by Peter Dierdorff in 1854. It has been maintained by the city since 1976 but was incorporated into the Cemetery Department only in recent years. No burial sites are available there.

Interring Cremated Remains

More people are choosing cremation and relatives frequently delay the final disposition of those cremated remains until warmer weather.  This time of year we are frequently asked about what is necessary to make these arrangements.  Here are the basics, from the sexton’s perspective:

Under Indiana statute, a funeral director should be present whenever cremated remains are buried or placed in a columbarium or cremation bench.  If you are in possession of the cremated remains, it is your responsibility to contact a funeral director and arrange for their presence.

It is the policy of Goshen City Cemeteries to require the use of a vault or urn-vault of concrete, hard plastic or other rigid, durable material (wood, porcelain, glass or other brittle materials are not suitable) to bury cremated remains.  Most funeral homes and vault companies sell these containers.

The sexton should be notified at least two business days in advance of the date/time of the planned internment and the dimensions of the vault being used.

Goshen City Cemeteries requires an Indiana Transit Permit (or copy of it) which can be obtained from the funeral home.  This is a different document from a cremation certificate (issued by the crematory).  This permit (or copy) must be presented to the sexton prior to internment.

Cremated remains can be buried on a regular burial space provided there is no previous full burial on that space – they cannot be buried on top of a previous burial.  Up to four burials of cremated remains may be buried on a regular burial space.  Violett Cemetery also has cremation-only spaces to accommodate a single set of cremated remains.  Spaces for burial may be purchased through the sexton.

The cost of opening and closing the grave or niche must be paid in advance of the internment, either through the funeral home or directly to the sexton.  Checks should be made out to the City of Goshen.