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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

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EMIGRANT PLEASANT VALLEY CEMETERY: 1880s - 2007

ASSESSMENT Of PROPOSED PIONEER MEADOWS SUBDIVISION
CONTAINING APPLEGATE TRAIL RESOURCES

IV.F.7.d) Emigrant Pleasant Valley Cemetery: 1880s - 2007

During the 1850s through the 1870s the Hugo region saw the first set of immigrants that were not passing through the area on their way to someplace else (i.e., Applegate Trail immigrants on their way to the Willamette Valley). They were coming to stay either to farm lands under the donation land claim and homestead laws and/or to seek gold in the new southern Oregon discoveries. Untimely deaths in the Hugo and Merlin areas during this time period used family lands for burial grounds (i.e., Neely’s children, 5-year old Alice (1882), 4-year old Franklin (1882), 9- month old Mattie R. (1882), and 2-year old Lela (1877) adjacent to the Pleasant Valley Cemetery (PVC) or placed their loved ones in other cemeteries out of the area. The only physical evidence that the PVC was probably being used as a public cemetery prior to the arrival of the railroad in 1883 is the Trimble cemetery plot which is across Schoolhouse Road from the tombstones of the Neely’s four children. Robert Trimble’s tombstone records that he was born July 9, 1819 and died March 29, 1870. If the date of the tombstone records when he was buried, he is the oldest known resident of the cemetery.

The Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision is connected to the PVC because of the cemetery’s close proximity as the natural resting place of the dead, both connected by the Applegate Trail like bulbs on a string of Christmas lights.

(1) Introduction

The PVC and the Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision are both located in the Schoolhouse Creek drainage (Map 8; Map 16). The Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision is 1.2 miles from the PVC and has the headwater forks of Schoolhouse Creek within its boundaries.

Both the 1856 General Land Office survey and map (Map 5; Map 6) and the 1895 Josephine County map (Map 7; Map 8) depict the Applegate Trail location in the Proposed Pioneer Meadow Subdivision (Aerial Photograph 2).

The Oregon and California Railroad Company built the railroad through northern Josephine County to Grants Pass, Oregon in 1883. The railroad had received land from the federal government to help build the railroad and formally deeded 40-acres of that land to the PVC July 5, 1899. It is speculated that in the 1880s the PVC started out as an informal railroad cemetery also available to the public.

(2) Pleasant Valley Cemetery (PVC) And PVC Association History

One record from the PVC Association files documents the association was informally operating on the railroad land as early as May 30, 1892. However, the Trimble tombstones indicate that the land might have been a community cemetery on federal-administered lands prior to the arrival of the railroad in 1883. Records of the PVC Association identify that the association was formally formed by 11 men on May 30, 1896, and that the railroad land had been paid as of that date from donations of local residents.

The PVC Association has an old hand-written Constitution and By-laws, both having no date. The Articles of Incorporation for the PVC Association were filed with the State of Oregon on June 14, 1897. The actual deed from the railroad to the PVC Association was issued in 1899.

The understanding by the PVC Association was that each family having a member or members buried in the PVC was responsible for the upkeep of their family’s grave(s).

(3) PVC And PVC Association: 2007

The PVC is a private pioneer cemetery adjacent to the Applegate National Historic Trail in northern Josephine County managed by the PVC Association. It is located north of Grants Pass, Oregon. Directions to the cemetery from Grants Pass include traveling north on Interstate 5 to the Hugo exit and then traveling west and south on Monument Drive for approximately 2.2 miles (Map 1).

The PVC Association is a non-profit corporation registered with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division. The PVC Association’s mission is to manage the PVC as an active cemetery, including the preservation and protection of its historic values. Its business name is the Pleasant Valley Cemetery Association (Non-Profit Corporation Registry Date & Number: April 5, 1971 - 092679-15).

Fredrick Sharp, President
Pleasant Valley Cemetery Association
3232 Galice Road
Merlin, Oregon 97532
541-479-0637

1. Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society, Josephine County Historical Society, and the Pleasant Valley Cemetery Association. June 2007. Pleasant Valley Cemetery "Tombstone Quarry" Granitic Tombstones: 1870s - 1920s. Hugo, Oregon.

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2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society