Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

The Forgotten Cemetery

Forgotten Cemetery


n Memorial Day 2010, one small purple iris was all that was paying tribute to past loved ones in this forgotten cemetery in Arbon. The flower, much like the homesteaders who came into the Arbon Valley, is unbreakable and determined that Arbon is worth the biting cold, the fierce winds, and the  hard work it takes to survive here. It is planted over the grave of a little girl, Lucille Danken Fredrickson, who was laid to rest November 19, 1914. Incredibly, this plant has survived on its own for nearly one hundred years.

This is not the main cemetery located off Bailey Road but a small acre of ground about a mile west of the Arbon School. The hallowed ground lies surrounded by CRP fields, belonging to the Estep and Adams families and has no public access road. It is a lonely hill seldom visited by anything other than gophers, rabbits, and an occasional coyote.

Many of the grave markers have rotted away, disappearing into the ground. One partial wooden grave marker still stands while another lies next to it in the grass. Both are washed clean by sun and weather. The last burial here was in 1939. Other markers and headstones, still in existence, date back to the 1920’s, and many belong to babies who succumbed in 1915 and 1916. A hand drawn map exists of others buried in the graveyard. According to the map 24 known people are buried on this hill. This cemetery is listed as an official cemetery in Power County, set aside for burying the dead and is not privately owned.

In the fall of 2009, Braden Campbell fenced, mowed the area, and installed a gate for his Eagle Scout project. He received help from adults, Ken Campbell, Stu Adams, and David Lusk. Members of his Scout troop, Eric Ward and Hank Fitch also helped in this endeavor. Many thanks go out to this group for repairing this memorial to the dead.

Spring found the cemetery looking as if it had green mown grass. Once again those family members who have loved ones resting here can be assured they are well-cared for and honored in their final resting place.