Pioneer cemeteries and photography combine, for me, into a series of unanswered questions each time I stroll through the almost always empty cemeteries.
Today, I visited three such cemeteries in the Portland area. All the designated ‘pioneer’ cemeteries were primarily recipients of folks born in the early to mid 1800’s and then their children born around WWI.
I was struck by a few observations for these three cemeteries: they were now surrounded by industrial, commercial enterprises…the designation of ‘pioneer’ seemed lost amid the flow of semi-trucks, transients, strewn beer cans…the trees were old, gnarly and offered privacy to the noisy traffic within a few feet of the Oregon Pioneer headstones.
As I have noted before, these are not old graves compared to other parts of the country or world. But, for the Oregon Territory these were the early settlers and most names today were unknown to me excepting a very few: Wilkes, Zimmerman, Reynolds. A good outing with a few finds that were poignant or provided images of tragedy.
These cemetery outings are interesting indeed. I found the usual minimally marked graves (a number) and the unnamed baby’s grave. All these combine, for some reason, to make me marvel and wonder and take the focus away from the cold East wind blowing across these small parcels of history.