Abernethy Cemetery

Just off Washington State Route 4, about 14 miles west of Longview, WA is a tiny cemetery, hidden in obscurity and overgrowth.

There are only a handful of graves at the diminutive site, but with family ties to local history that can make it an interesting stop.

THE OLDE DAYS

Alexander Abernethy headed to the Oregon Country to work with his brother, George, who had established a mill at Oak Point in the 1840s.

In 1867, Alexander, and his wife Eliza were granted 636 acres of the new Oregon Territory under the Oregon Donation act of 1850.

Alexander lived another twenty one years, passing away in 1888 at the age of 74, and was buried in the family plot; the Abernethy Cemetery.

BROTHER GEORGE

George Abernethy was an early entrepreneur in the budding Oregon Country. His water powered sawmill on ‘Mill Creek’, constructed in the 1840s, was an early industry in the region.

Abernethy was also active in Oregon Country politics, twice being elected as provisional governor until the post was dissolved in 1848, when President James Polk signed the Oregon Territory into law.

After his time as provisional governor, George continued to find success in business, but lost all of his assets in the Great Flood of 1862.

In March of 1877, George passed away at the age of 69, in Portland, OR.

However, even in death George remained active, so it would seem…

…he was first laid to rest in Vancouver, WA in 1877, but was later reinterred in Portland, OR in 1883.

NOWADAYS

As the State Route 4 passes through the Oak Point area, it crosses a pair of creeks. ‘Mill Creek’ was once the power source of George Abernethy’s 1840s mill.

Just east of Mill Creek, is Abernathy Creek, said to be where Alexander Abernethy settled and made a family.

While Abernethy’s mill is long gone, just across the Columbia River, the Beaver Power Plant could perhaps be imagined of as a sort of spiritual successor.

Let it’s droning industrial hum remind you of simpler times…

GETTING THERE

From Longview, WA: Take the State Route 4 west toward Illwaco. About 14 miles west of Longview, you’ll see Abernathy Creek Rd.

Don’t be compelled to turn here, and don’t be confused by the subtle change in spelling. Abernethy and Abernathy seem to be used interchangeably!

Instead, cross over the creek and turn north on the road immediately on the other side, that is the west side of Abernathy Creek.

Very soon a country road will appear on your left, this is the cemetery road.

At it’s end, next to a private home, is the tiny cemetery.

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More pics: Abernethy Dec 2018

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