Ashland Cemetery's entrance arch
on East Main Street
Photograph by Terry Skibby
Prior to the founding of Ashland Cemetery, area families buried
their dead on the gentle rises and knolls of individual farms. Like
many other pioneer cemeteries, it began as a family burial ground
on a donation land claim and expanded within distinct boundaries
over the years. Burial dates in Ashland Cemetery range from 1860
(predating the official graveyard platting in 1880) to the present.
Wooded and grassy in character, the cemetery is surrounded by the
city on all sides, with an entrance arch on East Main Street. Grave
markers are largely vertical and represent a wide range of styles,
using Vermont and Italian marble as well as locally quarried marble
and granite. The variety of monument types and embellishment is
due in part to the skills of master carvers James and Ann Hill Russell,
who worked in Ashland for more than 50 years (1865-1915).
Among significant Russell monuments are those marking the Thomas Smith,
J. C. Tolman, Oscar and Lucinda Ganiard, and Wagner children's graves.
Typical ornamentation of the period includes fraternal symbols, garlands
and single flowers, egg-and-dart detail, and clasped hands. Noteworthy
burials include those of Lindsay Applegate (one of the blazers of
the Southern Emigrant Route to western Oregon) and Abel Helman, pioneer
settler on whose land Ashland was developed. Ashland Cemetery retains
its original character; the remaining trees substantially reflect
the land's features at the time the cemetery was established and provide
a rare enclave of native vegetation within the town boundaries. The
cemetery provides a link between the early settlers and the period
of development that occurred following the railroad's arrival in 1884.
Historic photograph of Ashland
Cemetery, c.1905, and an image c.1900 of one of the marble
works in Ashland
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection and National Register
Ashland Cemetery, located on 750 East Main St., is open to the
public during daylight hours.