History of the Glenada Odd Fellows Cemetery



The following is excerpted from Tangled Grass: The Story of Those Buried in the Glenada, Oregon Odd Fellows Cemetery by Kevin K. Mittge and the members of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society.

The Glenada Odd Fellows Cemetery in Glenada, Oregon, was one of the earliest cemeteries in western Lane County. It was established in 1892 by Heceta Lodge #111 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF).

It was only in January of 1896 that the Lodge set up a “Document of Regulations” and gifted Glenada Mayor George Colter with four lots in block 15. The first owners of lots on May 13, 1896 are reported to be F. A. Johnson, L. G. Johnson, I. B. Cushman, George H. Colter, John Chinaman, W. E. Warren, August Olsen, Lenard Christensen, Edward Finsterwalder, and Alfred Mason. As has become clear, however, some of these “owners” were buried here long before and were “grandfathered” into the record book. Among the early area residents involved in the IOOF lodge, who are either buried or have loved ones buried in the cemetery, are Thomas J. Boren, William Kyle, John A. Mason, Marion Morris, August Olsen, J. N. Wisdom, and W. H. Weatherson, among others.

The IOOF rules stated that each year a Cemetery Warden would be appointed and hold office until the next Warden was appointed, at which time he would deliver all the papers and books related to the cemetery. The duties of the Warden included selling lots in the cemetery and keeping a record of the lots sold or deeded “with the name of the parties who holds the Same, and the names of those buried and Date of Burial.” An individual lot, measuring 7 ½ and 12 feet would cost $2.50, a half block $5.00, and a full block would be $10.00. It was stated that no fees would be paid by Odd Fellow members for lots deeded to them by the Lodge. Each Odd Fellow was entitled to one free lot.

A “Cemetery Register” listing the record of sales as required by the regulations was kept through the years, with the last lot sales recorded in the 1930’s. At that time a new register was begun but no IOOF member today knows what has become of it. There is some question as to the actual dates of the entries in the cemetery register because many of the entries are difficult to read and interpret. Regardless, the register has been an important resource for the names of those said to be buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery. References to the cemetery register in the biographies which follow refer to this cemetery register. Some burials were never recorded and may never be identified; a few have been identified through early newspaper articles and obituaries. It has been suggested too that some people quietly buried their loved ones there, even doubling up on grave plots, and the burials were never recorded because times were hard and the families didn’t have the money to pay for a plot. Thus, we may never have a complete listing of those buried in the cemetery.

In the 1890’s and early 1900’s several early settlers were buried in the Glenada Cemetery rather than the Masonic (later Pacific Sunset) Cemetery, coming as far as Mercer Lake to the north, Fiddle Creek to the south, and Sweet Creek to the east. The cemetery saw its greatest popularity between 1910 and 1930 with a number of local citizens being buried there. After the 1930’s the number of burials began to decrease. The Odd Fellows Cemetery deteriorated over the years with fewer and fewer burials and little or no upkeep other than that done by family members on a small scale.

The first major effort to rehabilitate and preserve the cemetery occurred in 1988. In that year Oscar Funke, a descendant of one of the pioneers in the cemetery, visited Glenada, was appalled by it’s run down condition, and vowed to reclaim it and establish a fund for its perpetual care. He died before he could make that happen but his wife Mabel and nephew Jay Humphries took over the effort. Mabel Funke donated $5000 to establish an endowment with the Western Lane Community Foundation to aid in the maintenance of the cemetery. A local boy scout troop sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, members of the church, and the local representatives of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows provided the labor to clean up the cemetery. On a Saturday in the fall of 1989 they began their work. At that time “...only a few headstones were visible above the salal, scotch broom, ivy and small trees...” The laborers worked their way from one end of the cemetery to the other, clearing brush, and discovering long forgotten graves in the process. A decade later, in 1998, local Boy Scouts Ryan and Cory Eichelberger took on the project to earn their Eagle Scout badges. They cleaned up the area, removing weeds and brush which covered the graves, and loggers were called in to remove tree stumps. A newspaper article at the time noted: “Curiosity began to develop about who was buried in the cemetery since several gravestones and gravemarkers were missing.” John Quay, a member of the Odd Fellows and former Siuslaw Pioneer Museum director, began work to identify those buried in the cemetery.

The brush has been cleared and the grass cut. The stumps have been removed. The cemetery is now clearly divided in three sections, with burials in the western and eastern sections. The middle section is cleared and open with no known burials. At the small parking lot a cemetery sign announces: “Oregon Pioneer Cemetery. Glenada Odd Fellows Cemetery.” A rough road separates the middle and the eastern sections.

It is difficult to say with any degree of certainty how many people are buried in the Glenada Odd Fellows Cemetery. There are 70 grave markers and at least 138 identified burials, so only one half of those buried have their graves marked. The cemetery register of the Heceta Lodge #111 names several people who apparently purchased lots but were not buried there, including Edward Finsterwalder and J. R. Pickelsimer; the format of the record does not always make that clear. For example, Pickelsimer is listed in the burial column but with information usually entered in the purchaser column; no contemporary record in area newspapers or death certificates could confirm him as a burial in the cemetery.

Transcription of the stones and listing of all the burials has been done at least three times. The first list appeared in the Oregon Genealogical Bulletin in 1976. The Bulletin described the cemetery as it appeared in that year: “Depending, as the [Odd Fellows] Lodge does, on fraternal zeal and contributions of assistance for maintenance, these plots have little to distinguish them from the surrounding jungle.” They stated that the “reader of the headstones and consulter of the records was Mrs. Frank “Kay” Barrett of Glen Ada. The keeper of the records is Charles V. Hammon, of North Fork Road, Florence.”

The next listing of burials, Cemeteries in the Florence Area, was compiled by Eileen Gray of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society and published in 1993. A similar compilation by the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, published in 2001, was called Siuslaw Cemeteries, and Book 2 of that publication included the Glenada IOOF Cemetery. Both lists included several people not buried in the cemetery: William Bernhardt (Mapleton IOOF), Stella Arline Boring (Linslaw), Robert M. Jones (Mapleton IOOF), and Abner Miner (Mapleton IOOF). The “Joughty” that is listed in both records is really Daniel Yorty. No information, such as gravestones, obituaries or death certificates, can be found to confirm that J. R. Pickelsimer or Naky Thomas, who appear in these lists, were actually buried in the cemetery. There is also listed in both compilations, as well as the original IOOF cemetery register, an “unnamed Italian.” The dates for death and burial are the same as for Adolph Scapelli and John Vinimcassa, who died in an accident. Newspaper accounts of the accident do not mention a third person.


Last updated on Oct. 5, 2005 (C)opyright 2005 Glenada Odd Fellows Cemetery Association