Saturday, August 8, 2015

Rosalinda Labastida de Coney (1844-97) and Dr. Ignacio Herrera y Cairo: Buried Heart

Rosalinda Labastida de Coney
One of the more unusual burials at Mountain View Cemetery has to involve Dr. Ignacio Herrera y Cairo, the former Governor of Jalisco, Mexico and Grand Master of the Masonic Veteran Association of the Pacific Coast.

Dr. Ignacio Herrera y Cairo was an arch-enemy of the Catholic Church for having imprisoned a group of Carmelite friars who he maintained were plotting against the government. The Catholic Church never forgave him and Herrera feared for his life from that day on.

In 1858, a group of men showed up at his ranch and exacted their revenge. Anticipating his eventual death, Herrera asked his fellow Mason brothers that if he was ever murdered they should  preserve his heart to show that he had the heart of a man who had died for his devotion to Masonic principles.

Thirty-five years after his murder, his heart was transported from Mexico to Oakland by his sister Rosalinda Labastida de Coney and kept at the Masonic Temple. When his heart was ready for burial thousands of Masons gathered at the gates of Mountain View Cemetery and along with four Knights Rose Croix escorted his copper casket, draped in the Mexican flag, to its final resting place. The casket with the heart was placed beneath a granite monument where Rosalinda ensured that all of his final wishes were properly honored. The Masonic Choir sang the "Martyr's Hymn" and Edwin Sherman delivered a eulogy that blasted the Catholic Church and charged them with his murder.

When she died in 1897, Masons turned out in droves for her funeral, with each person placing a red rose on her grave. Her foster son, the acclaimed artist Xavier Martinez designed the plaque that graces her grave.

Sources: Sacramento Daily Union (6/25/1894); Bancroft Library; Sunday Herald (6/25/1894)

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