In the mid-1800's, settlers came from the mid-west to settle in Oregon. Obviously, there were great hardships along the way as well as once they got there. Many of the original brave and hardy people who founded and settled the town of Lebanon, Oregon were buried in the Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery. Ever since the late 1890's, however, various people have tried to move the bodies buried in this cemetery, and years of neglect have not helped. A number of volunteers, however, have strived hard to remember those souls who founded the city. Two of these are Pat Dunn and Jeanne Gentry. They have published a book, "Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery", which contains the history of the cemetery, and the efforts to uproot it. It also contains some 170 pages of the history of the people who are buried there, along with extensive photographs.
Arthur Vance Saltmarsh and Elvira Lee Saltmarsh are two people buried there. They are among the few original Saltmarsh's who started the extensive Oregon line of Saltmarsh's. But Arthur and Elvira had a very difficult time in Oregon. Of their eight children, only one, William, lived long enough to marry and have children. Elsie died at age three in 1861. William's twin died at birth in 1863. In Jan. 1879, Annie, age 12, died of the scarlet fever that was rampant at the time. Worst of all are Fred, age 8, Berton, age 4, and Armina, soon to be married at 23 years of age, who all died on February 5, 1879 due to scarlet fever. Omer died at 21 years of age in 1881. When preparing to dig a grave for his daughter Annie, he met his son (from his previous marriage) Joseph, preparing to dig graves for his two little girls, who had also succumbed to scarlet fever.
The cemetery is in need of help. Although the city of Lebanon has taken ownership of the site, many of the stones are broken or misplaced. I urge all Saltmarsh relatives, anyone who is related to the pioneers of Lebanon, or anyone with just an interest in the tales of the time to purchase this excellent book. Many stories are related which make it fascinating reading. All proceeds from this book go into a fund for restoration of the cemetery. For ordering information please click here (it is the second item under "Sale Books", about halfway down the page). Donations may also be made to the Lebanon Genealogical Society.
Please send any comments, questions, and suggestions to Mike
Last updated: 31 MAR 2001
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