The small riverside community of Fairfield was established in the early 1850's. There were reputedly several early burials along the top of the riverbank but no established cemetery.
The largest flood during white settlement struck in November and December 1861. A young girl named Mary Keene, aged 9 years, 9 months, died November 7, 1861.
Lorenzo Austin Byrd donated an acre of ground on his donation land claim (#102, DC #1871). This was a knoll above the high water. And so Mary Keene was the first burial in Fairfield Cemetery. Her parents, Alfred C. and Nancy, died in 1886 and 1897 respectively. There is a county road in the vicinity named for the family.
Alfred Keene's brother, Rev. David Madison Keene, who has the tallest monument in the cemetery, was of the Cumberland Presbyterian persuasion. He would probably be startled at the religious diversity of the burials to be found in the cemetery today.
Ironically, Lorenzo Byrd, Senior, and his wife Martha Savage Byrd, who donated the land are buried in Salem, Oregon's City View Cemetery. They moved into Salem in 1891 for their old age. Lorenzo's mother Mary, and older brother Luther Micajah ("Cager") Byrd remain here.
The lower slope facing south remains unused for burials and covers about a third of the grounds, which are not visible from the county road to the towns of St. Paul and Newberg.
A sign posted on the county road at the beginning of the driveway and marked "Cemetery" was a mistake. Much vandalism resulted, some repaired, but some not. That sign has been removed.
Information provided by Dean H. Byrd, June 2004
(Grandson of Lorenzo and Martha Byrd)
Byrd home in Fairfield, Oregon, Spring, 1887
L to R: Cordelia Byrd Hager, Prince Byrd, Josie Wolverton Byrd, Edna Byrd, Martha Savage Byrd, Lorenzo Austin Byrd
Historical Map of the St. Louis area, including Fairfield - 1878