Cemetery is officially6 historic after being tagged "surplus" 60 years ago

Ron Greb and his sister, Gloria Hollaway cut ribbon at Antioch cemetery
Ron Greb and his sister, Gloria Hollaway cut ribbon at Antioch cemetery

Former Sams Valley resident, Ron Greb thought it worth the twelve-hour (round trip) drive from Canyon City. State Government in Salem dispatched Kuri Gill of the Oregon Historic Cemeteries Commission to commemorate the moment. Descendents of our region’s pioneer families beamed with pride in their ancestors’ accomplishment. On May 17, Antioch Cemetery Association  dedicated a bronze plaque to what they deemed "probably the only cemetery that was a casualty of WW  II."
   
Sweltering under a record triple-digit heat wave, approximately four dozen people shared fellowship and refreshments on the grounds.


Board President Mary Nitowski introduced Board Director Judi Hannah
Boyd who served as emcee. "We’ve wanted this plaque for years," Boyd
said.
   
Thanks largely to research done by Linda Tourville
Davis, she related a brief history of the property. At first, legally
designated exclusively for burials, schools, or church services, it
fell to government condemnation for military purposes in 1942. The
graves and markers were covered over with sand and soil, so the motor
shells of maneuvers could  fly.
   
In 1949 it wound up on the
inconspicuous rolls of "war surplus" and offered for bids. Ron Greb
told of his dad’s overhearing a customer in a barber shop boasting that
he’d  bought  the land. This new owner planned to sell the "quaint
little markers" as souvenirs on the East Coast.
   
The elder
Greb alerted a grapevine comprised of formerly displaced area families
whose loved ones’ graves were involved. An association formed with the
intent to buy back and restore their beloved cemetery.     
   
Boyd 
read a list naming forty-two of the association’s founding families who
participated in the rescue. A few are still with us today, she said.
Among them, Earl Bigham noted why Antioch Cemetery evokes special
memories for him. "I recently lost my second wife," he said. "She’s
also buried here."
   
Next to speak, Ron Greb eyed the
boulder now housing the new memento. "That rock was hauled in here
twelve years ago," he said. "We needed something secure enough to hold
the plaque. A hearse ran into it once-didn’t hurt it any."
   
He also mentioned that current member Morris Frink once played baseball in the adjacent fields during recess. 
   
Greb
and Eagle Point resident, Board Director Gloria Holloway, cut the
ribbon that surrounded the bronze memorial. It reads, "Historic Antioch
Cemetery. First Burial 1867."
   
Kurt Gill estimated the
grant award at $600. "This place is a credit to you all," she said.
"It’s been fun to be part of it. Thanks so much."
By F.C. Blake
Of the Independent

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