"God's Acre" Here Beautiful Shrine for Everlasting
Sleep of the Honored Dead; Has Colorful History
Cemetery Developers Braved
Threats of Lynching from
By G0LDA G. LAWS0N
Intrigued by the rumors that persisted in being repeated by Clark-
ston's ambitious population, that there
was a history back of their cemetery,
we had oft expressed a desire to visit
that hallowed ground while we were
yet living, in order that we might
form our own opinion, so last week
accompanied by .William Fehr and
J. H. Clear, president of the association, we had our first view of Vine-
!.irid cemetery, the name that first
attracts the attention, as it is inscribed in large letters on the cement
arch that frames the entrance to the
driveway that leads directly off the
Roosevelt highway and winds gracefully around the grounds of the
As Mr. Fehr drove slowly through
the arch-gate and guided his car over
the driveway, a feeling of awe almost
overcame us, for the sight was so
beautiful that one's imagination could
picture it as existing only in dreams.
In the distance the hills arose majestically seeming to smile benignly
upon the river flowing contentedly
along at their feet. Farmers were
busy in their fields and vineyards,
and the occasional lowing of cows in
the pastures nearby further enhanced
the loveliness and naturalness of the
In the larch and maple trees, the
mourning doves cooed their musical,
though mournful, notes above the
green resting places of the revered
dead, while the shafts of morning
sunlight piercing through the dense
foliage of evergreens, struck the glistening head stones, carressingly bringing forth a million scintillating lights
outrivalling the brightness of diamonds.
The world with all its troubles and
tribulations was forgotten and in our
mind the thought aDpeared: "How
peaceful and happy they must be to
rest in a spot of sylvan beauty such
as this, if they knew any thing about
Looking at the terraced grounds
one could scarcely believe that in
years agone, the cemetery grounds were
only rough gopher-infested land covered
with sagebrush, and that a threatened
lvnching was narrowly averted in order
that the present beauty might be attained.
CITY THEN "CONCORD"
The town of Clarkston, as many do
not know, was then Concord, but
later named Clarkston in honor of
Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, as Lewiston just across the river
was named in honor of Lewis of the
Originally, this ground was home-
steaded by peonle who held it by
timber-culture which was only a form
of camouflage, since the timber culture meant nothing, only that the land
was used for some form of culture,
thus allowing the man who filed to
keep possession of the land. Timber
culture as it was then merely included
the digging of furrows in which
branches or twigs were placed and
covered over with soil. They would
never produce any timber, since they
would not have sprouted had there
been an abundance of water, and since
there was no water available at that
time for irrigation purposes, the timber
culture was only a flash.
PURCHASED 20 ACRES
This whole countryside was named
Vineland and as settlers came and
population increased, the need for a
cemetery became evident, and as this
land was opened for sale as far back
as April 16, 1896, the present cemetery is no new project. The land
:~'s .^'fr'i".wi^.V*i^.-y ':■*, -W::^.~ :■.::■ ■*■>-<..;.
"A SPOT OF SYLVAN BEAUTY"
was then owned by the Lewiston
Water & Power Co., so that it was
necessary to purchase the required
ground from this company. Twenty
acres were chosen for the site, eight
acres being set aside for future need.
As the cemetery land was at that
time barren and unattractive, people wondered how that bleak stretch
of hilly waste could ever be made
into a spot desirable for a resting
place for their departed. Although
graves were made and burials conducted, people were not satisfied with
CLEAR ALWAYS PRESIDENT
In 1897, Mr. J. H. Clear bought the
first lot in Vineland cemetery. J3n
July 24, 1912, articles of incorponP
1JoT?"weTec!rawn with the following
named signers: J. W. Turnbull, A. J.
Garver, R. Lusk, M. E. Turner, C. M.
Evans, J. H. Clear, J. D. McElvain,
M. A. Fehr, Mrs. M. E. Turner and
J. H. Bethel. The first trustees were:
J. D. McElvain, M. A. Fehr, M. E.
Turner, J. H. Bethel and John C.
Applewhite, with J. H. Clear chosen
president, an office that he still holds.
Interviewing different interested
parties, we learned that at that time
there was considerable murmuring
and discontent with the appearance
of the cemetery. "It was unattractive," people said, "an injustice to
the memory of their dead" and "what
could be done about it?" Mr. Clear,
as president, was questioned about
the matter and it seemed that it
was up to him to do something, or
to at least start something, and according to old-timers here, ho not
only started something but he finished
what he started.
THE "BATTLE" RAGED
As' the story goes, the ladies prepared a chicken dinner and people
from miles SrUlUHl carrrc—armed with
hoes and shovels, preparatory to
cleaning up the cemetery, but Mr.
Clear according to the dictates of his
own better judgment and backed bv
a few staunch helpers, came with
horses and plows and scrapers. He
began to remove the foot stones and
place them aside out of the way. The
ground would be levelled and terraced,
the graves would become places of
beauty where grass would grow and
flowers bloom in profusion.
"But no, that would be desecrating
the dead," said the objectors, and
"why, the horses' feet might go into
the graves as far down as the caskets"
and "we will kill" or "tar and feather
the perpetrators," were phrases muttered angrily by those who believed
they were right, but the president and
the few helpers on his side stood their
ground. "No, they would not move if
they were killed for it." One lady became frightened and begged the wives
to get their husbands out, In vain did
the wives beg.. The husbands were
adamant, they stayed on the job, and
the present well terraced, levelled and
beautified cemetery is the result of that
SECTION FOR INFANTS
Mr. Clear called our special attention to the' baby lot, where a number
of tiny graves were in evidence, for
many times parents do not wish to buy
a family lot, and on the first terrace
at the outside there is the lot where the
little ones rest.
Lots are checkered 20 feet square and
accommodate eight graves, then there
is the vine-covered tool shed. The
grounds are kept velvety with a
gasoline mower used judiciously by A.
L. Torgerson, who has been sexton for
16 years, giving the best of satisfaction.
Harriett Saxton, who is now librarian
at Los Angeles, was the first secretary-
treasurer. J. H. Bethel was the first
vice president. There is no indebtedness
on the cemetery, and the purchase of
a new lawn mower costing more than
$200 is contemplated in the near future.
The name of this association is "Clarkston Cemetery Association, Inc."
Following are the present office
holders: J. H. Clear, president; J. C.
Raaberg, vice president; E. N. Clark,
treasurer; M. J. Crabb, secretary. The
finance committee is comDosed of J.
B. Sanborn, J. C. Applewhite, John F.
Worum. The trustees are: J. Warren
Stephens, W. M. Ham, E. J. Doyle,
John F. Worum, J. B. Sanborn, A. C.
Vorous, H. D. Benedict, Mrs. W. G.
Calvin and J. H. Clear.
MADE PROFIT IN 1931
The balance sheet for 1931 shows
a profit, which is considered remarkable when the fact is taken into consideration that at the time of organization there were no funds and John
C. Applewhite passed the hat asking
members to each give SO cents, which
they did gladly.
In 1916, the perpetual care association
was organized and single graves sold at
$20, in addition to the perpetual care;
or four-grave lots $60, with the additional cost of perpetual ca,e. Tin;
money derived from this source when
invested in first class mortgages provides sufficient interest to pay for
perpetual care of graves, since many
who bought lots years previously and
those who are now buying for future
needs, pay for perpetual care.
The Clarkston Cemetery Association
balance sheet as of Dec. 31, 1931,
Cash and balance in bank....$ 516.25
Bonds, stocks, warrants 4,707.19
Promissory notes 700.00
Notes, accounts receivable .... 617.90
Cemetery lots salable 3,538.00
Buildings, tools, equipment.... 2S2.91
Cemetery addition 2,406.74
Read estate (Wilkinson) 1,500.00
Real estate (Martin) 424.55
Perpetual maintenance fund ..$19,457.00
Escrow contract payable 1,200.00
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