Oysterville Cemetery: Chained and Locked
For the first time since the Oysterville Cemetery plat was completed in 1864, the entrance gate will be securely padlocked. Obviously, it’s not that we need to keep folks in and, for the past 148 years we’ve never felt a need to keep folks out. But all that changed last weekend.
Someone, or more likely several someones, vandalized the gravestones in the pioneer section of the cemetery. One of the old obelisks was knocked completely off its pedestal. Two tall monoliths were dragged from their bases, one of which was cracked in two. Two markers are totally missing.
The gate will remain locked until further notice – certainly until we can repair the damage and replace the missing markers. The locked gate will prevent vehicles from entering cemetery grounds but pedestrians will still be able to walk in. We hope this will be enough to deter repeat occurrences. And, of course, the Sheriff’s Department has been notified.
Ironically, it was Ron Biggs, president of the Oysterville Cemetery Association, who discovered the vandalism. It happened that he had gone into Ocean Park early Sunday morning to get a paper. As he was driving home along Oysterville Road, he noticed a piece of white wood lying on the pavement. It was near the drive leading up to the cemetery, so he stopped to take a look.
Sure enough, it was one of the old wooden markers from the cemetery. It was broken but the name “Osborn” was plain to see. Ned Osborn’s grave marker has been in its place on Davis Hill since old Ned died of a stroke in Oysterville in 1906. Now, only a narrow hole where the marker was pulled out of the ground indicates the spot where Ned was laid to rest.
Osborn was born in Kalmar Sweden and went to sea as a young boy, along with his good friend Charles Nelson. The two of them eventually wound up in Oysterville and settled along Fourth Street (now Territory Road) on neighboring parcels of land. Ned went to work as a sail maker and, in 1873, began building a house for his bride-to-be but, when she left him for another man, he stopped building and never did the finish work upstairs. He remained a bachelor for the rest of his life.
As far as is known, it was Ned’s neighbors – maybe the Nelson family – who marked his burying place with the white marker, his name neatly painted in black letters. It bothers me that now the small remembrance and lone tribute to a pioneer Oysterville resident is gone.
Even worse, perhaps, is the other missing grave marker. It said “Chas. Carlson 1851-1928’ and except for that small bit of information, nothing at all is known about Mr. Carlson. There is no other record of his 77 years on this earth.
What a despicable, senseless crime! I am at a loss to describe my disgust.