Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Grave of Orville Isaac LUKE (1855 - 1943)

Source: Gravestone of Orville Isaac Luke, Park Hill Cemetery, Vancouver, Washington. Digital photograph. Privately held by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Spokane, Washington. 2004.

A number of years ago, before I was a member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Conference, I attended one of their annual October workshops, and noticed a three-volume set of books for sale on their auction table. Excitedly, I realized that it was Park Hill Cemetery (Vancouver, Washington) published by the Clark County Genealogical Society, and although I really couldn't afford it at the time, I purchased the set, because I knew many relatives of my husband were buried there. After I got it home and started looking up his various surnames, I began to realize just how many of his family members were interred at Park Hill. Many names of collateral relatives--siblings of some of my children's father's great-grandparents who actually were buried in other cities altogether--were found listed in the books. These transcriptions are now available online, so I have passed on the volumes.

We try to visit my children's paternal grandfather at least once a year (it's a 360-mile one-way trip), and four years ago, we visited on Memorial Day. I thought it would be a perfect time to visit area cemeteries and we made the most of it that weekend, visiting three cemeteries within 55 miles. While we were mostly recording my children's paternal family's burials, one cemetery held the graves of one set of my great-great-grandparents; two of only four ancestors of mine buried west of the Mississippi River.

This grave of Orville Isaac LUKE, although surrounded by others, is "alone" as far as not having other apparent family members' graves nearby. Orville was the third of 14 children of Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, and an older brother of my children's father's maternal great-great-grandmother, Angelia Rebecca (LUKE) MARTIN. I have not researched Orville nor his family, but what little information I have shows that he was born 17 March 1855 in Wonewac, Juneau Co., Wisconsin; that he was married first to Laura JOINER on 23 September 1883 in Ironton, Sauk Co., Wisconsin; that he later married Chloe May SMITH and had at least one child, Homer Oscar LUKE, b. 10 May 1892 in Bon Homme Co., South Dakota.

When Orville died 23 March 1943, he was buried in Section D of the cemetery. Homer was the lot owner, but he and his wife Jennie were buried in Section V. Chloe, whose cemetery information states that she was born in Minnesota in 1871, died 21 April 1937 (probably in Vancouver) and was buried in Section C. There are also three other Luke family members buried in two other sections of the cemetery, and until more research is done, it is not known if they are related. I find it curious that this family did not have a central plot, but perhaps they could not afford to do so, and bought each plot as needed, based upon what was available and what they could afford.

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