Willow Creek Cemetery at Grizzly, Oregon

May 26, 2010 at 12:19 am (Historic Cemetery, History, Old Homesteads, Oregon, Photography) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Willow Creek Cemetery looking south toward Grizzly Butte.  Elizabeth Bowman Tishchhauser's gravesite is in the righthand corner.

Willow Creek Cemetery looking south toward Grizzly Butte. Elizabeth Bowman Tishchhauser's gravesite is in the righthand corner.

The Grizzly cemetery, like many pioneer era cemeteries occupies private land.  Like cemeteries everywhere, it is full of long forgotten stories.

This cemetery is reputed to be the final resting place of Aaron Harlan Crooks and Stephen J Jory, the pair that made the fatal mistake of trying to fence off a section of Luke Langdon’s land.  Their killings sparked the vigilante era in Central Oregon, and though their deaths attracted an inordinant amount of attention, their bones rest in anonymity beneath the wind burnished grasses in the shadow of Grizzly Butte.

Aaron Crooks may have found his peace without the benefit of a grave marker, but two of his granchildren bide through the ages with him, and their graves are well marked.

"Baby" Newbill - graced the world for such a short time. He was born sometime in 1898 and died December 14, 1899

Cemeteries populated with children are a testement to the difficult lives our tough forefathers and foremothers lived through.  The Grizzly cemetery holds at least eight children ranging in age from 18 days to 17 years.  The simple red stone marker bearing the sad and solitary engraving, “Baby”, memorializes Cosper Elmer Newbill’s infant son.  The poor baby’s mother was Zulema Belle (Crooks) Newbill, one of Aaron Crooks’ daughters who survived him.

Our darling hath gone before, to greet us on the blissful shore

Another of Aaron Crooks’ grandsons lies beneath this ornate marker.  Oh how his parents must have mourned him, having lost him after only 18 days on earth.  I don’t know what this marker must have cost, but I found a record for a simple buriel in Grizzly; a coffin and outer box without a marker or any other embelishments.  That most basic funerary service cost the widow $50.00 back in 1909.  “Baby” Dee was the son of John “Jack” William Dee and Nellie Caroline (Crooks) Dee.

An accurate count of the interred souls at Willow Creek is unlikely.  Many were buried without markers, or the stones have fallen victim to time, weather and indifference.  More likely than not there are at least 24 and maybe up to 29 or 30 resting in this boneyard.  The stones speak of love and loss, of longetivity and lives cut tragically short.

Etta (Hash) Chitwood was only 31 years old when she succumbed to a month-long illness. She left behind her husband, Pleasant, and her three young children, Ina, Fay and Roy.

The Angels Called Him Home

Age on age may roll along - amid the pale and mortal throng - but brothers and sisters, do not weep - I am not dead, but only asleep - in the arms of my dear Savior

A tragic pair of siblings rest together at Willow Creek.  The children of S S and B A Brown, though a great many years separated their ages (3 years and 17 years) they passed within 2 months of one other.

A T Jenkins died at age 46 years, 9 months and 11 days on February 12, 1891. He joined his wife, Mary M Jenkins in eternal slumber in Grizzly.

Mary M Jenkins born 3/1856 died 9/29/1886

Husband and wife. 

Dual Headstone for husband and wife William H and Mary Ellen (Porter) Quinn in Grizzly Cemetery, Oregon.

 The Quinns rest beneath a double headstone as husband and wife, but they have a grandchild in the cemetery keeping them company as well.

Samuel Lytle, son of Samuel Archibald Lytle and Virginia P (Quinn) Lytle. 1-1/2 years old. Siblings that survived him were W. Earl, Judd, Harriet, Lodema Ellen, Edna L., Ada and Celia.

Unique dual headstone for Nathaniel A Newbill and Sarah Newbill. Nathaniel - 1803 - 1874 (71 years), Sarah 1816 - 1909 (93 years)

Front of the Newbill headstone.




Unique dual headstone for Nathaniel A Newbill and Sarah Newbill. Sarah 1816 - 1909 (93 years)

The Newbills seem to be the anchors for this cemetery.  Nathaniel Alexander Newbill, as far as I can see has the oldest marked grave.  “Baby” lying beneath the simple red stone rests close to his grandparents (remember, he is also the grandson of Aaron Crooks). 

There are other Newbill connections in Willow Creek.  Mrs. Frank Long was laid to her eternal rest in Grizzly.  She is also identified as Maude or Maudie O (Newbill) Long. (1891 – 1914)

There is a Seth Wallace Moore interred in Grizzly as well.  One of his children, Laura Ann (Moore) Newbill was 40 years old in 1909 when her father died.  She lived in Grizzly at the time.  Another daughter, Ella Belle (Moore) married into the Lytle family, and was 34 years old at the time of his demise, and living in Hay Creek.

Elizabeth "Eliza" Bowman (Zollinger) Tischhauser - One of the lovliest headstones in the cemetery

The other very quiet members of this small community are:

Margaret “Maggie” Morrow died 1892 – wife of Andrew Morrow

Rodney R Smith died June 5, 1916

Infant Smith died 1928

W Hensley Vineyard 1869 – September 27, 1909 – husband of Althea J. Vineyard

Mrs. S C Wright – March 7 1915, aged 74 years

Infant child of J W and O M Lewis – February 16, 1907 – April 23, 1907

William J Quinn – 1903

Francis Irene Earl – 1918

Possibly William Henry Harrison, Lucius Langdon’s hired hand and good friend who was murdered by vigilantes shortly after Luke was killed.  Although there is some speculation that he now resides at Grizzly, he may also be buried in an unmarked grave at Juniper Haven, which is where Lucius was laid to rest.


  1. Cemetery Markers said,

    Hey Dude,
    I just caught wind of this you published. Really it’s a good stuff for those who are looking for Children Headstones.I would like to tweet on it and keep my eye behind at every moment you blogging.

    • eponaleah said,

      Sure, go ahead. You should know that I’m more of a Dudette than a dude though. :~)

  2. Kim Rufener said,

    I just caught this. I am the Great-great granddaughter of Eliza Tischhauser. Cool.

    • eponaleah said,

      Hi Kim, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. It is always neat when family members are able to find it.

  3. Terra Smith said,

    Leah, these are beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing them and the history’s that connect them. I am a great-great-great granddaughter of Nathaniel and Sarah Newbill and have visited this cemetery many times over the years, but this is the most I have learned. Thank you again! I know this is all about the cemetery, but did you know that the house located near the cemetery was built by Nathaniel Newbill?

    • eponaleah said,

      Hi Terra, thanks for stopping by and commenting on the blog. I knew the house as the Newbill house but I didn’t know which Newbill built it. Thanks for the information!

  4. Catherine Parker said,

    Very nice pictures and commentary. Finding this cemetery a number of years ago was very very exciting to me and my family. It was hard enough finding the Newbill homestead but the grave sites were a bit more elusive. We are direct descendents of Nathaniel and Sarah Newbill (oldest single headstone). They would be my gr gr gr grandparents!! The Newbills came from England (Francis Newball indentured servant) to the Virginia area. Many of those colonists were indentured servants. They went on to acquire land, plantations, tobacco and were slave owners. Many were confederates in the Civil War. The Civil War broke up the plantation systems and our family eventually moved to missouri, sold their slaves and came to Oregon on the Oregon trail….bringing us to this small grave site. Our branch of the Newbills then settled in Washington as fruit ranchers.

    • eponaleah said,

      Thank you, Catherine, for the history. It is nice to know that you were able to connect with this elusive family history. The house and cemetery are fascinating and both are suffering the ravages of time, so I was honored to be able to capture them in photographs. Congratulations on finding the place(s) as they are not easy to find.

  5. Tami Newbill said,

    Leah, you’ve done what I had planned on doing so many times over the years with the Willow Creek Cemetery. Fabulous pictures and history – I greatly appreciate your time spent with this blog. I am Nathaniel and Sarah’s Great -Great Grandaughter. I spent my childhood playing in and around the old house by the cemetery and the barn which is now gone, torn down by folks using it for barnwood frames and other items. It’s overwhelming to step inside the house and see the layers of old tattered crumbling wallpaper and imagine their voices and history within. Catherine, I knew about the homesteading adventure from Missouri to Oregon , the history line back through their arrival from England is information I had not learned about before – Thank you !

    • eponaleah said,

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Tami. I am so pleased to put some living people to the history of this place. It seems the Newbill House and the little community of Grizzly is special to lots of folks. Come back again!

  6. Jeanette Mollman said,

    i grew up next to this cemetery, playing in the old house and barn that sit not far from it..one of my favorite places in the whole. thank-you for the awesome pictures i have been so home sick

  7. Mary E. Quinn said,

    Does anyone know anyone who knows where the Quinn’s resided? And any other history?

    • Jim W Quinn said,

      Hi Mary, My name is Jim Quinn, (Not James) and am a decendant of William Henry Quinn And Mary Ellen Quinn buried in the Grizzly cemetery, I too am interested in Knowing where the Quinns resided.
      Have you gotton any feedback on that?
      Thank You

      • Mary E. Quinn said,

        No but Media Pierce and I are working on getting some answers. If you would like to share in our adventure we’d love to have you aboard. We are both Quinn’s. We are gather as much information of the Quinn’s as we can. You can reach Mary at 541-604_4845 leave message cause if I don’t know your # won’t answer Bend, Oregon. Media Pierce 541-673-5879 Roseburg, Oregon

  8. Gail Gutzler said,

    Not sure if this thread is still open-

    This is so interesting!
    Nathaniel Newbill was my 4th great-grandfather. Is it possible to visit these graves still?
    I would like to bring my daughters to “meet” and pay respects to the family if possible.

    Gail Gutzler

    • Gail Gutzler said,

      Of course I should say Nathaniel and Sarah Newbill.

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