Linn County Planning and Building Dept., 1994
Township 13S, Range 3W, Section 8
SETTING: The Bunker Hill Cemetery is located two miles east of Shedd, Oregon, on the south side of Boston Mill Drive. The cemetery is situated on the east flank of a small butte, historically referred to as Bunker Hill, which rises approximately 40 feet from the valley floor. In close proximity to the butte are the Calapooia River, Boston (Thompson) Mill, and former Boston town site, located to the west of the butte, and Sodom Ditch and Interstate 5, located to the east of the butte. On the butte is the site of the former dwelling of Americus Savage.
DESCRIPTION: The Bunker Hill Cemetery is a family burial plot for members of the Savage and related families. The following gravestones were located in a recent survey of the cemetery:
Americus Savage was born in the town of Kingfield, Franklin Co., Maine June 9, 1815 - Died Aug. 19, 1876
C. F. Savage (Charles Savage, son of Americus and Mary Ann Savage), Died Feb. 27, 1878, Aged 29 Years, 6 Months, 13 Days
Mary Ann Savage, (wife of Americus Savage), Died Nov. 6, 1886, Aged 69 Years, 2 Months, 9 days
John B. Cornett, (son-in law of Americus Savage), 1832-1911
Sarah J. Cornett, (wife of John B. and daughter of Americus Savage). Listed on gravestone above, 1847-1920
Columbus Savage, Son of A. and M.A. Savage, Columbus died in 1852)
Marion Fletcher, Jan. 11 1878 - Mar. 20, 1911 (son of Ellen Morgan Fletcher and William Fletcher, grandson of John Morgan and Prudence Savage Morgan)
John Morgan, 1833-1910 (son-in-law of Americus Savage)
Allen Morgan, March 5, 1868 - Apr. 28, 1868 or 1869 (child of John and Prudence Savage Morgan)
Lois Morgan, March 29, 1878 - Apr. 19, 1878 (child of John and Prudence Savage Morgan)
Ellen Morgan (Fletcher), Aug. 3, 1858 - Oct. 21, 1878 (child of John and Prudence Savage Morgan)
Thomas Morgan, Sept. 29, 1879 - March 1, 1881 (1891?) (child of John and Prudence Savage Morgan)
Henry Morgan, Oct. 3, 1863 - Feb. 14, 1891 (child of John Prudence Savage Morgan)
Prudence (Savage) Morgan, wife of John Morgan, daughter of Americus Savage - obit states she is buried here.
Allen, Lois, Ellen, Thomas, and Henry are listed on the various faces of a single stone. In addition to the above stone, in close proximity, there were two small stones: one has the name "Thomas" and the other has the name "Lois". It is likely that these stones were for Thomas and Lois Morgan above.
The burials are located on the east side of the butte, beneath a rocky ledge, in three separate areas. The area covered by the cemetery is estimated to be 250' north-south and approximately 75 feet east-west. Americus Savage's grave is isolated from the remainder of the graves and is located the furthest to the north. The Cornett, Fletcher, and Morgan burials are located in dense vegetation to the southeast of the Americus Savage burial and still further to the south are the graves of C.F. Savage and Mary Ann Savage. The Columbus Savage stone was displaced and currently leaning up against the Cornett grave stone. The cemetery was formerly fenced and remnants of the most recent fence, which consisted of wood posts and wire, are still visible.
KNOWN ARCHEOLOGICAL FEATURES: Americus Savage dwelling site
HISTORY: Americus Savage was born in Kingfield, Franklin Co. Maine in 1815. On Christmas Day, 1838, he married Mary Ann Thompson. Their first child, Prudence, was born in Maine in 1841. shortly thereafter, the Savages emigrated to Illinois where their second child, Joseph, was born in 1843. The Savages emigrated to Oregon in 1851 and settled a donation land claim in Linn County in December of 1851.
By 1852, a dwelling was located on the claim. This house, possibly the shanty referred to in a later letter, was situated along the east bank of the Calapooia River. In October of that year, the one year old son of Americus and Mary Ann Savage died. They buried their son on the east flank of a low butte located on their claim. Sometime prior to 1858, probably in 1853 or 1854, Americus Savage built a dwelling on top of this butte. It is reported that the reason for selecting the butte location was periodic high water in this locality.
The butte was supposedly named after Savage located his residence on top the butte and was involved in a squabble with Robert Elder, his neighbor. This dispute, which came to blows, became known locally as the "Battle of Bunker Hill."
In the late 1850's, a grist mill and mill race was built on a portion of the Savage claim. In 1861, Americus Savage was among those that platted the town of Boston adjacent to the mill. More than half of the town site was located on his claim. In the mid-1860's, Americus Savage and his family reportedly moved from the top of the butte to a site just east of the Boston Mill.
In 1871, Americus Savage began to sell his land supposedly because of financial difficulties. The south portion of his claim was sold to John Isom and a deed dated September 23, 1871 records the transfer of an 11.55 acre tract to his children with the following stipulations:
"reserving and accepting a lot of ground on top of the hill within the said conveyed lands (usually called Bunker Hill) of one hundred and sixty feet square together with the right of way from thence North to the main road sixty feet wide which is hereby granted and conveyed to the Grand Lodge of Free Masons in Oregon in the following conditions, to wit, That the Free Masons of Oregon shall Build a Temple thereon - and shall commence to build said Temple within twenty years from this date and further after said Temple is built That my heirs and their heirs shall have the right to rest their Dead when taken to be interred in said Temple of the wish. The above described land is hereby conveyed to my heirs and their heirs for a burying ground forever subject to the foregoing reservations and in the case the Grand Lodge of the Free Masons shall not occupy it by commencing to build a Temple within twenty years from the Date hereof then the whole shall revert back to my heirs and their heirs to be used as a burying ground forever and for no other purpose except the previous reservation."
Americus Savage and his wife separated at about this time and Mr. Savage went to eastern Oregon, presumably to visit of his sons living in Umatilla County. In the spring of 1872, Mr. Savage made a trip to the eastern United States visiting family. He returned to Oregon in November of 1874 and remained here nearly a year before once again making a visit to the east. In July of 1876, he returned to Oregon again. On August 19, 1876, Mr. Savage, who was staying with his son on the "old home place" arose early and went into the orchard some distance from the house, took off his coat and his vest, and hung them on a tree, laid down with a blanket around him and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a small pistol. (A step-grandson indicated in a 1930's interview that Mr. Savage committed suicide at the foot of Bunker Hill.) Americus Savage left the following suicide note:
To all my friends and friends of humanity and to my children:
Dear children and friends: - I have but one request to make. I want you to bury my body on the north side of Bunkerhill, at the east end of the old building, close under the west side of the raspberry vines. Dig my grave north and south. Lay my head to the south. I believe it is the proper way to bury the dead. I want no coffin; wrap me in my blanket, lay me in the vault and cover me up. I do not wish for my grave to cast a shadow over the grave of any one. Let it be hid from mortal sight, and be forever forgotten. Bury me deep.
Beneath the raspberry vine,
I feel grateful to all my friends for their kindness to me, and especially my children, and my wife in particular. I hold no hardness or malice against any human being. Forgive me for all my bad management. Forget me. Mourn not for me, I will be at rest. I have travelled and hope to lay my body down away from troubling my friends, but there is no other place so dear to me as the old place in Oregon. If I had killed myself five years ago when I was first tempted, it would have been better, as I then foresaw and predicted. Before I sold my land, I chose death then rather than to sell. No one will ever know my feelings at that time. But I could not die, and could not then consent to take my own life. But I am now past labor. I have spent all I had, and I choose death rather than to be a burden my people. I wish to be as little trouble as possible. I will lay my body in the burying ground. Tear away the old shanty, the remnant of the first building that sheltered us from the storms after our weary journey across the plains, and burn it up. Lay stones around and on my grave. Put some private mark so you can tell if my body has been snatched away by doctors. I do not want them to get my body.
:In addition to the above note, Mr. Savage noted that he owed one dollar to Alfred Hill in Albany. "Please pay it; it is all I owe in the world." "I have often said that I would never die with consumption if I could help it, and I have but one way to do it."
The grave of Americus Savage was the second recorded burial in this family plot. The newspaper noted that "The remains of Americus Savage were interred ... on the site of his first residence in the Willamette valley - a detached butte that rises to a height of forty or fifty feet above the surrounding prairie, almost a half mile east of the Boston Mills - a beautiful and romantic spot."
Two years later, in 1878, Charles Savage, the son of Americus and Mary Ann died. He was buried in the family cemetery, near his brother Columbus. That same year, two children of John Morgan and Prudence Savage Morgan, Lois Morgan and Ellen Morgan Fletcher died. These grandchildren of Americus and Mary Ann Savage were buried in the family plot in an area almost midway between the Savage children and Americus Savage. Another Morgan child, Thomas Morgan was interred in the cemetery in 1881. In 1886, Mary Ann Savage, Americus' wife died and was buried near her children. In 1891, Henry Morgan, another son of John and Prudence Savage Morgan was interred in this cemetery.
In the early 20th century, John Morgan, who died in 1910, was buried near his children. The following year, one of his grandchildren, Marion Fletcher, and John Cornett, the son-in-law of Americus Savage, were buried on Bunker Hill. The last interment is believed to have occurred in 1920 with the burial of Sarah Savage Cornett. It is possible that others are interred in this cemetery. Prudence Morgan, the wife of John Morgan, was also buried here according to her 1917 obituary. No stone for her has been located and she may be buried next to her husband. Nathan Kropf, son of the current property owner, recalled seeing a wooden marker when he was a child.
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