A small winding road just north of town takes you to The Jacksonville Cemetary ,where over 4,000 citizens of the area are buried over a span now approaching 151 years.
This is the second part of a series I began a few months back concerning Jacksonville, Oregon, the oldest American settlement in the area and one that is of major historic interest. My focus on this trip was the Jacksonville Cemetery, which was founded in 1860, th same year that the town itself was incorporated after about a decade of European-American settlements owing to the Gold Rush of 1851 and the land grant program that brought farmers westwards to seek fortunes and at least a better climate for growing food and raising cattle. The big losers in this rugged terrain were the Native Americans, almost all of whom were forced from the area after the sporadic and bloody wars that ran from 1852--1856. After the native peoples were resettled far to a more desolate area north of the Rogue Valley, their landmarks and centers of culture are mostly gone. What remains is sites like these from the next wave of settlers.
Many of the pioneers to this area had a hard time of it. Epidemics such as measles, diphtheria, smallpox and various "bilious fevers" swept away whole sections of families. Some of the earliest Jacksonville settlers were "ruffians" who had been kicked out of California cities. Some harbored sympathies with the southern rebels in the Civil War and plotted mischief or worse against the few Federal soldiers stationed in the area or their free-soil neighbors (now that the Indians were gone). Both sides in that horrible conflict likely brought guns to town, just in case.
But many who came thrived peacefully and established a community with a myriad of churches, fraternal organizations and a disparate mix of peoples whose ancestors would have been surprised to see banding together in this little corner of the American Northwest.