Monday, May 29, 2023

A Visit to Pioneer Cemetery

Last month we visited our family in Eugene, Oregon, and while we were there we visited the city's Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1872.

The cemetery backs up to the University of Oregon campus, and I've walked through it on multiple occasions over the years. As will be seen below, it's particularly appropriate to share photos of this visit on Memorial Day.

While walking through the cemetery in 2016 I stumbled across the headstone of Leslie O. Tooze, 98 years to the day after he was killed in action in World War I. He was a 1916 University of Oregon graduate who was killed in France and awarded the Silver Star.

I later learned that Leslie had an identical twin brother, Lamar, who survived the war. As the grandparent of identical twin boys who live in Eugene, that really hit home. Lamar is said to have had a dream the night before his brother died foretelling his death.

Leslie's body was actually moved to Portland at one point, but his marker stands in this beautiful cemetery as a memorial to honor his service and sacrifice.

I particularly wanted to return to the cemetery last month for another reason: A few months ago, while exploring FindaGrave pages related to the family of writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, I made a surprising discovery. Laura's uncle, Thomas Quiner, is buried in Eugene's Pioneer Cemetery.

I have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's books since I was old enough to read -- indeed, I am partly named for her -- and having visited multiple sites related to the author over the years, there was no question I'd stop by Pioneer Cemetery again and pay my respects at her uncle's final resting place.

Although we had the plot number, there were no GPS coordinates, but the cemetery's kind caretaker helped us find the location. My husband has since submitted the GPS data to FindaGrave, which will assist any future visitors.

Thomas Quiner was the younger brother of Caroline Quiner Ingalls, Laura's "Ma." He had moved from Wisconsin to Eugene, where he was sadly killed in a logging accident in 1903. His wife Lillie lived until 1924 and is buried alongside him; she remarried in 1919 but there is no reflection of that on her grave marker.

The Quiners had six children, four of whom survived till adulthood. Tying in with Memorial Day, one of Thomas and Lillie's grandsons was killed at Guadalcanal in 1943.

Another Memorial Day connection: Caroline and Thomas's older brother, Joseph Carpenter Quiner, was a member of the Wisconsin Infantry and died on April 28, 1862, from wounds received at the Battle of Shiloh. He was 28 years old.

For photos of more historic pioneer cemeteries, please visit Photos From the Road: Lone Pine Cemeteries and Photos From the Road: Lone Pine Earthquake Cemetery.


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