Etcetera - 01/12/12

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Descendants of Walla Walla pioneers Mary Jane Fitzsimmons McGuire, born June 30, 1825, in Pennsylvania, and John Garrett McGuire have a mystery on their hands.

Oregonian Delores Roe, the couple's great-great-niece, and Patrick McGuire of Hoquiam, Wash., their great-great-grandson, are attempting to locate their ancestors' gravestones.

They're not sure where John was buried, but there is a record at www.findagrave.com of Mary Jane's final resting spot. She died Nov. 7, 1893, in Walla Walla County and was buried here in Russell Creek Cemetery, according to the website.

Four gravestones appeared without explanation at Fort Walla Walla Park, it was reported in the Nov. 27, 1968, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

"Four grave marker headstones, probably from the old cemetery at Russell Creek, were found in the old cemetery at Fort Walla Walla Park early this week by the Fort Park caretaker.

Sam Maxson, then city parks and recreation director, remembered having seen some of these names in the old Russell Creek Cemetery, according to the 43-year-old U-B article. It said the stones were stored at Fort Walla Walla Park and will be turned over to any one with family connections. "I have no knowledge of how the stones came to Fort Park other than indications point to pranksters. If interested in this information you may call Herb Clark," Sam said.

Names and other data on the uprooted stones that appeared in the Fort Walla Walla Park Cemetery were John Salling, April 17,1874; Mary J. McGuire, June 30, 1825-Nov. 7, 1893; James R. Giles, May 7, 1878, age 4 years, son of J.M. and S.M. Giles and Ulysses Leroy, son of R.P. and E.A. Steen, died March 28, 1869, age 5 years.

In their search, Delores and Patrick checked with the current Fort Walla Walla caretaker and at Mountain View Cemetery, neither of which could provide details about the cemetery stones' whereabouts.

"I understand that Russell Creek Cemetery may not be in existence now. We are not able to locate the grave of John Garrett McGuire either," Delores emailed.

John Garrett McGuire co-organized the John Knox Kennedy wagon train, which came from Wapello, Iowa, to Walla Walla in 1862. "Perhaps some of your readers today can shed light on the four missing cemetery stones written about in the 1968 news article," Delores said.

Patrick plans to do more research in Walla Walla for two to three days in late June.

While visiting the area a year ago, he saw the old McGuire house on Russell Creek along with the house his grandfather John "Jack" McGuire built back in the mid-1950s, the next house down the road.

Anyone who has information about Russell Creek Cemetery and its gravestones is encouraged to contact Patrick at mcguirepv@yahoo.com or Delores at roesroost@dishmail.net.

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