[Heritage] Long lost cemetery discovered and preserved

Heritage Info heritage.info at state.or.us
Thu Aug 11 07:56:41 PDT 2011

Long lost cemetery discovered and preserved

When vineyard manager Ken Johnston was looking into some Waldo Hills
property off Howell Prairie Road, he heard that there had been a
cemetery on the land someplace. The property, ripe with significant
Oregon history, was owned by Daniel Waldo.  

Waldo was an early Oregon Trail settler. He spent time at Jason Lee’s
Willamette Mission before settling on the property where the vineyard
grows today. Waldo served as judge for Oregon’s provisional government
prior to statehood, so many significant discussions and decisions took
place on the property. 

As the vineyard owned by Winemakers Investment Properties, LLC, was
being planted a cluster of three headstone bases were discovered. Work
stopped and the company chose to plant around the area, giving it a wide

Kuri Gill, Oregon Historic Cemeteries program coordinator, was thrilled
to hear about the discovery and decision to preserve the cemetery site.

“This is just the kind of action we hope property owners will take
when they make such a discovery,” she said. “The ideal situation is
for historic cemeteries to be documented and preserved in their original

Based on their actions, Heritage Programs of Oregon Parks and
Recreation Department, which houses the Historic Cemeteries Program, has
presented Ken Johnston and Winemakers Investment Properties, LLC with an
Oregon Heritage Stewardship Certificate.

Johnston is taking the preservation effort a step further by working
with the Aumsville Historical Society, Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers,
the Willamette Heritage Center, descendants of the Waldo family, and the
Historic Cemeteries program to conduct further research and enhance the
spot with a fence and historically related plantings. 

There is some debate about who is interred at the site, but the burials
may include some of the Waldo family children, a black man named Drake
and George Beale who was hanged for murder in 1865.

While there are plans to enhance the cemetery, the property is not open
to the public. As a working farm, safety is a concern. The cemetery may
be accessed by making an appointment with the property manager. 

The Heritage Stewardship Recognition Program was initiated by Heritage
Programs of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to raise the
profile of Oregonians who go the extra mile in protecting the state’s
heritage. “We are happy to recognize people doing good deeds for
historic resources in the state,” said Roger Roper, who heads up
Heritage Programs.

For more information visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill
at Kuri.Gill at state.or.us and (503) 986-0685. 

Grants are now available! Visit www.oregonheritage.org to learn more.
Oregon Heritage News is a service of the Oregon Heritage Commission.
Contact us by emailing heritage.info at state.or.us .

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