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About Seaside signal. (Seaside, Or.) 1905-current | View Entire Issue (June 12, 2015)
June 12, 2015 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com • 3A
165th anniversary of Grave of the Unknown Sailor
tends to monument,
hopes to add
includes a poem written
about the memorial that re-
inforces that story.
“There’s a lonely grave
on the ocean shore, near
to the shadow of Tilla-
mook Head, where there is
sounding forevermore, the
sullen surf with its stormy
By Katherine Lacaze
roar, requiem sung for the
unknown dead,” the poem
About 150 years ago, the begins, continuing in a
tale goes, a Seaside resi- later stanza, “Was this the
dent named John Hobson captain or one of the crew?
met three anonymous sail- Was it a passenger nearing
ors on the beach in the cove home? Might it a lover be,
near Tillamook Head. They brave and true? Father and
were looking for fresh wa- husband with port in view
ter and wanted to get back and home ones waiting for
to their small sailing ship, him to come?”
“Kind hands bore to the
anchored off the Head, be-
desolate shore all that was
Hobson, feeling the left of the unknown dead;
sailors might be in trouble no requiem sung but the
as the wind picked up and sea’s dull roar, and that
the ocean got rough, “built is sounding forevermore
D ELJ ERQ¿UH RQ WKH EHDFK where the green sod covers
and kept it going most of the stranger’s head,” the
the night in case it could poem concludes.
Another newspaper ar-
help them keep their bear-
ing, but it was no use,” WLFOHD¿UVWSHUVRQDFFRXQW
according to Inez Stafford from C.W. Shively, tells of
Hanson in her book “Life the Industry’s journey in
early 1865. The bark, or
The next day, their bod- barque, experienced two
ies were found washed weeks of heavy weather be-
ashore, and Hobson “bur- fore arriving at the mouth
ied them on the rise above of the Columbia River
high tide line” in the cove, around March 7 of that
year. The ship capsized and
This incident supposedly seven people were rescued
took place April 25, 1865, and 17 people, including
becoming the origin of Sea- Cpt. Lewis, were drowned.
Jan Barber, who also
side’s monument know as
the Grave of the Unknown takes care of the grave,
Sailor. That retelling — said people have homed
where the sailors were in on the story of the three
searching for water and met sailors, but “then you start
Hobson shortly before their digging more, and you hear
demise — is the one Sarah different things.” What
Gearhart Byrd shared for may possibly contribute to
Hanson’s book and which WKH ³FRQÀLFWLQJ´ YHUVLRQV
now is the most consistent of the grave’s origin, Bar-
ber said, is they could all
and popular belief.
Further research, how- be true stories — just not as
ever, shows there may be they relate to that particular
FRQÀLFWLQJ VWRULHV UHJDUG- site.
Montero agreed, say-
ing the origin of the grave,
said Robin Montero, who ing, “I hate to say it — this
lives near the memorial whole area is a graveyard.”
Several of the early resi-
DQG LV SDUW RI DQ XQRI¿FLDO
neighborhood group that dents, according to Hanson,
serves as the site’s collec- remember incidents before
the 1900s when the cove
In a correspondence area near the sailors’ grave
to the Sacramento Daily was used to bury other de-
Union from Aug. 19, 1871, ceased persons, particular-
a man named S.A. Clarke ly several individuals who
wrote the solitary grave — died from drowning acci-
which is about a quarter dents.
“None of these spots
of a mile from the former
Summer House that used were marked with any
to occupy the Seaside Golf lasting marker, however,
Course property — is “sup- and no records were kept
posed to be that of the Cap- so their locations were
tain of the bark Industry, soon lost to view,” Hanson
then wrecked on Columbia writes.
Before the neighborhood
bar.” He doesn’t say where
he got the information but group adopted the Grave of
.AT+ER,NE LA&A=E P+OTO
Robin Montero, left, and Jan Barber are part of an unofficial neighborhood group that has adopted the Grave of the Unknown
Sailor in the cove and sees to its care and maintenance. A marker at the site says the sailor, or sailors, depending on which
version of the grave’s origin is correct, were found April 25, 1865, making this year the site’s 150th anniversary.
the Unknown Sailor, which
met its 150th anniversary
this year, it also was close
to becoming a wholly ne-
glected burial site, broken
and overrun with weeds.
Now it is carefully main-
tained by Barber and her
husband, Jay; Montero and
her husband, Bill; Walt
and Denise Walthour; John
Parks; Walter Dagatt; and
“It’s just become a great
way to meet your neigh-
bors,” Montero said. “We
just care deeply about it.
It’s our history; it’s who we
Together they weed
WKH VLWH WHQG WR ÀRZ-
ers and plants, keep the
paint looking nice and
occasionally replace the
86 0DULQH &RUSV ÀDJ
that waves numerous feet
above the unassuming plot
that contains two small
markers, one engraved
with the words, “Known
Only to God,” and the
other engraved, “Found
On the Beach April 25,
1865.” Sometimes people
ZLOO OHDYH ÀRZHUV PDU-
bles, sand dollars or other
knickknacks at the grave
as a way of paying homage
to someone or something.
Prior to the summer of
2011, the memorial was
used as a geocache loca-
tion, which was “totally
inappropriate” and led to
The Seaside Signal is published every
other week by EO Media Group, 1555 N.
Roosevelt, Seaside Oregon 97138. 503-738-
.AT+ER,NE LA&A=E P+OTO
Seaside’s Grave of the Unknown Sailor turned 150 years old
this year. The monument, which sits near the cove by Tilla-
mook Head, is said to be the grave site of three anonymous
sailors who perished during a storm on the ocean in April
1865, but other conﬂicting origin stories exist.
ocean safety information.
While the City Council
showed interest in the proj-
ect at that time, nothing
came of it. But Montero
and Barber plan to bring the
proposal before City Coun-
cil again soon.
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“We need to honor the
people that have come
before us, and this board
would do that,” Barber said.
“If we keep forgetting,
eventually it will be forgot-
ten,” she said.
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people climbing around
the site and causing dam-
age, Barber said. Having
the geocache removed im-
mensely helped the state
of the site, Montero said.
Even now, however, some
people do not seem to real-
ize the monument is a grave
site, and the neighbors have
an idea for bringing more
Whatever the grave’s
true origin story may be,
the neighborhood group
is leading an effort to get
a historical information
board placed on the north-
east corner of the memorial
where it would not obstruct
any resident’s ocean view.
The sign, as proposed by
the cove residents at a Sea-
side City Council meeting
in August 2011, would be
16-by-30 inches and in-
clude the lore of the three
sailors, a map of various
shipwrecks in the area and
Find out more at columbiabank.com or call 877-272-3678.
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