In 1863, coal was discovered in the Newcastle, Washington, area located 10 miles southeast of Seattle between Bellevue and Renton. The Newcastle Cemetery was founded there to meet the needs of the miners. The first burial took place in 1879, and the most recent in 1979. A local association currently (1999) oversees the cemetery.
The Newcastle coal mines began operation in 1867, and remained in operation until about 1929. The primary period of activity for the Newcastle Cemetery mirrors these dates.
The total number of burials at the two-acre cemetery is not known. Reflecting the diversity (and possibly the biases) of the mine workers, the cemetery has separate areas for the burial of Chinese and African Americans.
Today, the cemetery is overseen by the Newcastle Cemetery Association, founded by descendants of the mining families that settled in the area. The Association has undertaken to maintain and restore the cemetery.