Thursday, October 30, 2008

Resting in Peace

We made a pilgrimage today to Salem's Pioneer Cemetery where members of the Bush family are buried. The fenced family plot is situated at the heart of the cemetery, on the brow of the hill overlooking Commercial Street. These white marble tombstones mark the locations where Asahel Bush II and his beloved wife, Eugenia Zieber Bush, are buried. Also in the family plot are the graves of the Bushes' unmarried daughters, Sally and Eugenia, and their son and daughter-in-law, Asahel N. and Lulu Hughes Bush. Their eldest daughter Estelle Bush Thayer is buried nearby with her husband Claude and their daughter Eugenia.

In the spirit of the season, we read a portion of Mr. Bush's obituary:
It is difficult to place a proper estimate upon the services of Asahel Bush to the state of Oregon, and particularly to the community in which he has been for so long a period a most potent factor. Thoughtful men who have watched the progress of the state for the last four or five decades are generally agreed that there was no individual whose personality; sound judgment in affairs of finance, trade and commerce; broad-mindedness; thoughtfulness for the welfare of the community at large; and unselfish and disinterested desire to witness the most economical utilization of the partially developed resources so abundant throughout the country in which he was a pioneer; has made so marked an impression upon the trend of events as Mr. Bush.
The cemetery's tombstones tell amazing tales: stories of women and babies lost in childbirth, or of now-curable diseases that once ravaged families, or of venerable pioneers who died at home after years of adventure. These days, thousands of South Salem commuters drive past the cemetery knowing little if anything about the people who are buried there -- the people who risked their reputations, their health, and even their lives to make our city what it is today.

(Photograph by Bonnie Hull. Thank you!)

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