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Community invited to Redland Pioneer Cemetery open house

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Redland Cemetery Board will hold a cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 20, to get the site ready for Memorial Day

Robins, bluebirds and mourning doves provide the songs, and nature provides the scenery at the Redland Pioneer Cemetery, where Redland and Lyons roads intersect.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Yvonne Weninger, treasurer of the Redland Pioneer Cemetery Board, looks at the grave of Spanish-American War veteran William Corry Hicinbothem who died in 1937.But weeds have taken over some of the historic graves, and so the Redland Cemetery Board will hold a cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 20. The activity will get the site ready for an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 29.

The community is welcome to help with the cleanup, which will focus on weeding around graves and planting flowers. Those interested in volunteering should contact board chairman Margie Tosi at 503-631-3625 for more information.

"We haven't [held an open house] for several years," Tosi said. "We want the cemetery to be beautiful on Memorial Day." She also noted that board members will be available that day to answer questions and point out graves.

The community is invited to the open house because "we want more people to be aware of the cemetery," said Beverly Jeppesen, a cemetery board trustee.

Recently, she took advantage of a sunny day to weed around the gravestones of her stepfather, Victor Allen, and her mother, Sylvia.

Victor Allen lived his entire life in the Redland house that his father, Horatio, built. The house still stands, and Jeppesen's brother currently lives there, she said.

Horatio, who was born in 1859 and died in 1935, also is buried in the Redland Pioneer Cemetery. He was a veteran of the Indian Wars, serving from 1883 to 1888.

That same day, Tosi tracked down the grave of Anson J. Wright, the first person to be buried at the pioneer cemetery in 1858. Nearby are the graves of David Cutting and Matthew Richardson, who donated the land for the cemetery.

Among the historic graves are those of six Civil War veterans, Tosi said.

One of them, Amon Plowman, was a member of the 1st Regiment of the Mississippi Marine Brigade Infantry. He was aboard a small, light-armored boat that was fitted "to ram Southern boats," said Ron Tosi, a cemetery board trustee.

Amos Leek, another Civil War veteran, served with the 10th Michigan Calvary; he died in 1922.

Next to his grave is a small star-shaped flag stand emblazoned with GAR, which stands for "the Grand Army of the Republic," Ron Tosi said.

The GAR was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army and other branches of the military who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces.

Other Civil War veterans buried at the Redland Pioneer Cemetery include John Bargfeld, Samuel Benton Kingery Gray, Lemuel Hickman and John Higgins.

The grave of William Corry Hicinbothem, a Spanish-American War veteran, has a flag stand with the initials USWV, which stands for United Spanish War Veterans. The USWV was an American veterans organization, consisting of veterans of the Spanish-American War and other smaller conflicts. It and the GAR were formed primarily to help veterans stay in touch with former colleagues, similar to today's Veterans of Foreign Wars and other vets organizations.

Margie Tosi also noted that many of the graves at the cemetery are unmarked, as "in early times, they did not do headstones."

Support the cemetery

What: Redland Pioneer Cemetery cleanup

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 20

Where: The intersection of Redland and Lyons roads

RSVP: Volunteers should call Margie Tosi at 503-631-3625 for more information.

Open house: The Redland Pioneer Cemetery Board will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Memorial Day, May 29, at the cemetery. Volunteers will serve coffee and cookies and be available to answer questions about the cemetery.

Redland Cemetery Board members include: Margie Tosi, chairman; Bruce Cole, vice chairman; Susan Eisele, secretary; Yvonne Weninger, treasurer; Jay Eisele, trustee, cemetery manager and caretaker; Beverly Jeppersen, trustee; Ron Tosi, trustee; William Weninger, trustee; and Gary White, trustee.