Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How we got here.

Last month, Sue and I walked through the tiny pioneer graveyard at the corner of Smith Road and Middle Waitsburg Road, just a short walk from the gate to Grape Hill. The wheatland had just been tilled and our shoes quickly filled with the powdery rich loess soil of our area. During the last 140 years, soil loss has left the graveyard raised about three feet above the land around the graveyard that our neighbors work. I have been meaning to ask our friend and neighbor, Jay, if the grave bearing Simon D is the resting place of one of his family members.

We learned a lot from walking the grave stones. First, we realized that there are others who still care for the site. Stones had been righted and cleaned. Area families bear these same names. There was, perhaps, a small hamlet near this spot at one time, when getting in to Walla Walla likely meant two hours each way by horseback.

Too many young mothers died in childbirth, many along with their children. Two teenage siblings died within one week, most probably victims of measles or influenza. Some, men mostly, lived long lives. They worked the soil, raised their families, died and were buried in this soft loess.

No comments: