Genealogical RESEARCH SOURCES
UNION COUNTY, OREGON
This information was generously donated to Union County Genealogy
Site May, 1999.
In the interest of speed of loading, I have split the original file. This is the first part of the file. It has a lot of information on it and is well worth reading.
Burials Pt. I
Despite a rich and varied past, many specifics of early Union County history nave been lost. Misplaced burials and destroyed newspaper files, have created many special problems for researchers in this county.
For these reasons, it was a great pleasure when we learned -that a guide to Union County burial sites had been completed recently. with the generous permission of the compiler, John W. Evans, Director of Libraries at Eastern Oregon State College, portions of this work will be reprinted here and in later issues of the BULLETIN.
CENTRALIZED DEATH AND BURIAL RECORDS
In 1971 Lucille Fitzgerald, at that time in charge of records for the La Grande Cemetery District, undertook the formidable task of recording, in one file, all known deaths and burials in Union County. She was assisted in this project by a number of volunteers. The result is an extensive listing derived from all known sources: existing cemetery records, probate files, all surviving newspaper files, existing records of funeral directors, church records, and obituary collections. These sources were supplemented by a field survey that included all - known isolated graves and all cemeteries within the county for which no records have survived. When completed in 1974 the file contained approximately 13,400 names. It was reproduced on three rolls of sixteen-millimeter microfilm under tile following title:
Fitzgerald, Lucille. Death and burials in Union County, Oregon from 1860 to 31 March, 1974; compiled by Lucille Fitzgerald, M. Joy Rasmussen, and John W. Evans. La Grande, La Grande Oregon Stake Genealogical Library, 1974.
Copies of the microfilm are housed at the LDS branch Library, 2504
North Fir Street, La Grande, Oregon 97850, and at Walter M. Pierce Library,
Eastern Oregon State College, La Grande, Oregon 97850; the master copy
is on file in the LDS Genealogical Library, Salt Lake City. These films
do not circulate but are available for use in each library, and information
from them can be provided on request. The LDS Branch Library maintains
the original file as an ongoing project and adds current information. New
information on oil pioneer burials is still discovered from time to time,
and this is also added to the file.
Walter M. Pierce Library maintains a complete microfilm collection
of all surviving newspaper files for eastern Oregon with the exception
of The Dalles, Redmond, Bend, Lakeview and Klamath Falls. The library does
have some of the early (pre-1900) papers for these communities. It also
houses some collections of obituaries from Union County; these include
a number of clippings from papers that are no longer in existence.
UNION COUNTY CEMETERIES
The following list of cemeteries is an expanded version of information
provided for the Oregon Department of Transportation Cemetery Survey (Salem,
1978). Many of the establishment dates were approximate and based on information
available at that time. In some cases more accurate dating has since occurred;
dates in -the following list have been corrected accordingly. Location
of the cemetery record is given if a public record exists.
[* indicates a detailed description to appear later]
Persons consulting these notes should bear in mind that US Hwy. I
80 N has been redesignated I84. Most of the
temporarily marked but unidentifiable graves in these cemeteries are of course occupied by persons represented in
the death and burial records of Union County, though it may no longer be possible in most cases to match an
individual with an unmarked grave. Names of additional unknowns will be discovered from time to time, but the
records can never be complete: too many sources have been lost. Records early funeral directors were, almost
without exception, discarded or destroyed long ago and many old newspaper files met the same fate. For example,
virtually no La Grande newspapers prior to 1892 have survived. These, if they existed, would tell us a great deal
more about the people -- an estimated three to five hundred of them --who still sleep beneath the lawn at Eastern
Oregon State College, for this was the community's only cemetery from 1853 to 1878.
Located 2 miles north of La Grande on Ht. Glen Road. Established 1866, deeded over for public use by the Ackles family in 1879. Four acres. Lonely and picturesque; sited on a low bare eminence. S.21, T2S. R38E WM. Records and maintenance by La Grande Cemetery District.
Located on 12th Street at G Avenue, La Grande. Roman Catholic Cemetery. Established 1900. Four acres. Shares low rounded eminence with Hillcrest Sec 8, T3S, R38E WM. Records and maintenance by La Grande Cemetery District.
Located an hill one half mile southeast of Cove. Established 1865. Fifteen acres. Park like setting with fine view of mountains and valley. Sec 22, T3S R40E WM. Records and Maintenance by City of Cove.
Located one half mile east of Elgin on Clark Creek. Established I'D acres. Sited on beach above stream in pleasant, partially timbered area. Sec. 23, T 1 N, R 39 E WM. Records and maintenance by City of Elgin.
Located one and one half miles north of Elgin on Rockwall Grange Road. Established 1875. One half acre. In field next to road; includes a few large pine trees. Sec. 3, T 1 N, R 39 E WM. No record; maintenance by City of Elgin
Formerly the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. Located one-half mile southeast of LaGrande on Foothill Road. Established 1878. Forty acres. Occupies open hillside. S. 16, T35, R38E WM. Records and maintenance by LaGrande Cemetery District.
Also known as Cricket Flat Cemetery. Located one half mile north of Oregon Highway 82 on gravel road; junction is 4.2 miles northeast of Elgin. Established 1830. Five acres. Serves local agricultural area. Pleasantly sited on the eastern slope of a small hill. Sec. 5, T 1 N, R 40E WM No record maintained by area residents.
Located one half mile north of Hilgard. Established 1885. Two acres.
In pine forest on top of hill. Ses.30, T2S, R 37E WM. Private but maintained
by La Grande cemetery District; LDS Branch Library in La Grande has copy
Vicky Gray sent me an e-mail regarding this cemetery. She says it is a private cemetery and is not maintained by any district in Union County.
Formerly the Masonic Cemetery. Located in La Grande; bounded by E and H Avenues and 10th and 12th Streets; entrance from G Avenue. Established 1895. Fifteen acres. Park like and occupying low, gently rounded eminence. Sec. 8, T 3S, R 38E. WM. Records and maintenance by La Grande Cemetery District.
INDIAN CREEK *
Located five miles southeast of Elgin on Indian Creek Road near intersecting gravel road. Established 1880. One half acre. On open grassy elevation. Sec. 36, T l N, R 39E, WM. No record; not maintained.
Located one half mile south of Island City on Hunter Lane. Established 1890. Eight acres. Sited on level ground in rural area. Sec. 3, T 3S, R 38 E WM. Records and maintenance by La Grande Cemetery District.
LA GRANDE CEMETERY
Located in La Grande; was in area now bounded by J and L Avenues, 8th and 10th Streets. Established 1863. Approximately ten acres. On bench above city. In disuse by 1910 and made available in 1927 for use as the site of Eastern Oregon Normal School (now Eastern Oregon State College). Several occupants were moved to other local cemeteries at tile request of relatives; some others, mostly unknowns, were moved to Hillcrest when building foundations were excavated. The rest of the site was then leveled and planted, and all visible traces of its original use were removed. Sec. 8, T 3 S, R 38E WM. No records, no visible traces. Site maintained as college campus.
Located one-quarter mile southwest of Meachen; beside I 80 N (100 yards south of freeway at point just west of railroad overpass). In Umatilla County but included in survey. Established 1860. One Half acre. In pine forest, on low hilltop; a pioneer burial ground utilized by wagon trains and families who cut ties for the railroad. Sec. 3, T 1 S, R 35 E WM. No records; not maintained, few visible traces.
MT. PLEASANT *
Also known as Scott Cemetery. Located on Palmer Junction Road, 4.5 miles north of its junction with Oregon Highway 82 at Minam Hill summit Established 1900. one acre. Located in partially wooded area; adjoins small Baptist Church, now in disuse. Served local agricultural area. Sec. 15, T 2N, R 40E WM. No records; not Maintained.
Located on Cove Road, five miles west of Cove. Established 1898. Approximately one half acre. was located on low bare knoll west of Catherine Creek, approximately 200 yards south of highway; served town of Nibley, established to grow sugar beets for factory in La Grande a venture that failed. In disuse by 1910; farmed over after 1950. S.1, T 3S, R 39E WM. No visible traces of either cemetery or town. Record is preserved by LDS Branch Library, La Grande.
Located in northeast corner of North Powder city boundary, on old U.S. Highway 30. Established 1875. Fifteen acres. Rural setting; S.22-23, T 6S, R 39E WM. Records and maintenance by City of North Powder.
THE PARK *
Unnamed pioneer cemetery located in The Park, a high valley surrounded by forest. 16.4 miles southeast of Union on Oregon Highway 203. Established 1875. One acre. Sited in grove of pine trees in otherwise open field, 100 yards north of highway. S.11, T 6 S, R 41E WM.. no record; not maintained.
PINE GROVE *
Located one half mile east of Pine Grove Church (8 miles east of Elgin on Oregon Highway 82; church is ¼ mile southeast of highway on gravel road). Established 1900. One half acre. Sited on ridge above Minam Canyon, in open timber. Served population on of local rural area. S.12, T 1N, R 40E WM. No access road. No records; not maintained.
Located on timbered knoll, on fence line, one quarter mile east of nearest road approximately three quarters of a mile south of Oregon highway 244 at Point approximately thirteen miles south of its junction with I 84). Established 1882. 1/2 acre. Served rural community of Starkey, named for pioneer John Starkey who was also first postmaster there (1879). S.3, T 4 S, R 35 E WM. No access road. no records; not maintained. Note: The Starkey information given to Lewis A. McArthur, and repeated hydraulic in Oregon Geographic Names, is in error. There was no Fred Starkey.
Also known as Summerville - Imbler Cemetery. Located one and one half miles northwest of Imbler on Dry Creek Road. Established 1865. Fifteen acres. Sited on low rounded hill above creek bottom; many trees and fine view of mountains and valley. Beautifully maintained. S.18, T 1 S, R3 9E WM. Records and maintenance by Emery Oliver, Summerville, Oregon 97876.
Located on eastern boundary of the city of Union. Established in 1862 10 acres. Sited on lower slope of hillside. Notable for its overall Victorian quality embodied in mature plantings, original structures, and an abundance of fine monuments. S.19, T 4 S, R 40 E WM. Records and maintenance by City of Union.
A family cemetery located two and one half miles southeast of Elgin on the Indian Creek road. Established 1870. Situated on hillside, in field above house. The gravestones, but not the occupants, were moved to Elgin Cemetery c. 1950 and the plot farmed over. No remaining visible traces; private. No record
WRIGHT (Lower Cove Road)
A family cemetery in which other area residents were also buried. Located on Lower Cove Road 6.7 miles east of its junction with Oregon Hwy. 82, on hillside above road; Junction is 6 miles northeast of La Grande. Established 1870. Sited on open hillside with southern exposure, overlooking valley. Sec 18, T2 S, R 40 E WM. Private. No record; protected but not maintained.
WRIGHT (Medical Springs)*
A family cemetery. Located on edge of bluff immediately above, and
northeast of the Highway intersection in Medical Springs. Established 1899.
Sited in area of rock and sagebrush. Named for family of Dunham Wright,
early pioneer of the area. Private. Occupants are listed on large single
marker at intersection. Not Maintained.