Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Mt. Union Cemetery, Benton County, OR

By the end of October, this old oak tree, not quite green leafed but tinged with a reddish orange hue, still spreads its protective branches over the grave sites of my Keyes ancestors. The Mt. Union Cemetery is on a hillside north of Philomath, Benton County, Oregon.

The cemetery itself has quite a history. On May 11 1861, former slaves, Ruben and Mary Jane Holmes Shipley, deeded this land, which was part of the farm they purchased, to the be the site of the Mt. Union Cemetery. Their only proviso was that they and their family be allowed to be buried in this cemetery on the hill.

Commemorative Shipley Stone

The first of the Tennessee born Keyes family to be buried in this cemetery were the older Keyes brothers, John(died January 25, 1870, age 74 yrs, 15 days) and James (died October 29,1877, age 57 yrs, 3 mos, 17 days). The spire that marks their final resting place is under the spreading arms of the old oak tree. John Keyes' inscription is on the east side of the spire and James Keyes' inscription is on the west side

Gravestone for John and James Keyes

Inscriptions on the gravestone for James and John Keyes

A beautiful resting place for these two Tennessee brothers,
and early Oregon pioneers.

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