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From the Archives
PIONEER CHURCH
(Source the Pioneer Memorial Cemetery Association)

The Pioneer Church, Christian, a community project of the Parkersville area, was built in 1897. Timber for lumber was cut out on the farm of Alexander and Christian Esson by Leroy Esson and Joe Smith. The logs decked on Pudding river banks then rolled into the water and rafted downstream to the sawmill at Parkersville owned and operated by Frances Wattier.

Leroy Esson and Joe Smith assisted with the milling after which the lumber was hauled to the building site by Leroy Esson. This site, adjacent to the Pioneer Cemetery was donated by Mr. Sam Jones.

In the planning stages members of the congregation met and laid out the building. It was Mr. Sam Jones who suggested a basement for church dinners and community social affairs.

The construction of the building was a project with full community participation with volunteer labor throughout. As work progressed carpenters first built and then became roofers and painters until finally they all stepped back to admire their gleaming new building. Placed well off the ground to allow for the basement, a broad outside stair led up to the auditorium floor. Members of the ladies Aid , met at the Dan Webb home to sew together woven carpet that graced the rostrum. The Sam Jones family donated an organ and Joe Jones became song leader for Sunday school and church.

Sunday school met at 10 AM with church service following. The church had no regular minister. At times the pulpit would be filled by an itinerate preacher; lacking that, it was neighbor Silas Jones who delivered the morning message.

During the active life of the church it served not only as a place of worship but as the community social center with regular church dinners in the basement as envisaged by Mr. Jones. As time went by occasional funerals passed through the church doors on way to the adjacent cemetery. Perhaps the event that lingered most pleasantly in the memory of congregation members was the beautifully decorated wedding held there for Edna Jones and Howard Ramp.

Built as it was at the end of the Pioneer horse and buggy era the church gradually fell into disuse and the congregation drifted away, many to a final resting place in the cemetery close by. Well built, but rustic its uncured lumber shrunk with the passing of time to reveal wide ceiling cracks and the underpinning rotted to make unsafe the stair and building support. In later years the building was lowered to a new foundation loosing the picturesque outside stair and the basement that had long served its last church dinner.

Today, its windows shuttered tightly it stands deserted and somehow forlorn beside its country cemetery, a surviving relic of long vanished early Oregon life.

PIONEER MEMORIAL CEMETERY
72nd Ave. N.E. near Waconda Road.
This cememtery is on the Donation Land Claim of J.T. Smith who donated part of the land; it was enlarged by donation from S.W.R. Jones. The first to be buried here was William Jones in 1855. Some tombstones show earlier dates but these graves were moved to this site from family plots out on the land claims. There are about fifty-five Joneses uried here. Other old families represented are the Parkers (Parkersville is nearby), Lerwills, Smiths, Webbs and Mannings. There is a small church on the grounds, built in 1902 by a congregation (Christian Denomination) that had been meeting at Parkersville School since 1890. The name Pioneer was adopted in 1911.

Information provided by Mrs. Carl Prantl
Marion Co. History 979.5 V12 c2
Interesting Facts
This cemetery is also known as: Brooks Pioneer, Jones, Parkersville, and Waconda
 
 

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