‘Aunt Betty’ Rathbun at Hollywood Forever…

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

‘Aunt Betty’ Rathbun


BORN: Unknown

DIED: January 26, 1925, Los Angeles, California

BURIAL: Hollywood Forever Cemetery,

Section 12 (near the Otis-Chandler –Times memorial)


By Allan R. Ellenberger 


Her age was unknown, but it was believed that Betty Rathbun, a full-blooded Mound Valley Indian, was more than 100 years of age. On the death certificate her age is given as 80 but this was only an estimate. She must have been many years older since friends said that she remembered distinctly events that happened more than a hundred years earlier, and that she possessed all of her faculties until the end.


For many years ‘Indian Betty,’ as she was sometimes called, lived in a little house on West First Street that was furnished by the Dunkard Church. She was a deeply religious woman and though in need, would never accept a cent from the government.


Betty was a protege of the Sunshine Society, which took care of her for many years. Little is known of her history except that she was taken captive by a waring Indian tribe and later sold to the family of an Army officer for four head of live stock. She served the family for many years before coming to Los Angeles. Betty never married.


Neighbors told her that at her death she would be put in Potter’s Field. However, when that time came, on January 26, 1925, at the General Hospital, she was laid to rest at Hollywood Cemetery in a lot that was purchased for her by Bernice Johnson of the Sunshine Society.



The preceding is one in a series of biographical sketches of
Hollywood Forever Cemetery residents.


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One Response to “‘Aunt Betty’ Rathbun at Hollywood Forever…”

  1. Melissa says:

    Such an interesting albeit sad little story. Thank you so much for giving “Aunt Betty” her well deserved 15 minutes. Pity she wasn’t interviewed for a biography; she was truly living history.


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