Washington Heritage Register – Lone Pine Cemetery – 1883-1953, Tekoa

The Lone Pine Cemetery is historically significant for its direct connection to the early pioneer settlers of the Tekoa and Lone Pine area. Although specific details of the establishment of the cemetery are not known, the location of the cemetery indicates patterns of early development by Euro-American settlers.

The Lone Pine area originally developed as a stage coach stop between the communities of Farmington and Cheney. Stories persist that the area was named because of a single pine tree that stood on a hill in a vast barren landscape. As an obvious marker on the landscape, the location became a logical stopping point. Eventually a log cabin was built to serve as a post office, stage depot, general store and school house.

In 1896 for reasons unknown, Chicago businessman Marshall Field of was in the area executing real estate transactions. At the time, he purchased approximately two acres of ground on a hill top in the northwest corner of Section 21 Township 20 to be used as a cemetery. By that time burials were already being made there, so it is unclear why Field purchased the lot. Perhaps it was an investment scheme and he may have been the one who hired a civil engineer, J.W. Strack, to lay out a formal plot for burials. Strack had been the city engineer for the city of Spokane and later the county and operated his own engineering business in Spokane.

Regardless, burials at the cemetery continued for another 50+ years. We do know that in the early 1930’s, Marshall Field Jr., came to the Tekoa area in an attempt to sell the cemetery. Both August L. Wolf and I. N. Clark, adjacent property owners were approached about purchasing the land. Neither was interested in such an investment, and no deals were made. The property languished.

In Marshall Field Jr.’s will, the Lone Pine Cemetery is mentioned several times. Once a $500 value was placed on it. The cemetery continued to fall on hard times without and active sexton on site. Head stones crumbled and were tipped by vandals, brush covered many of the graves. Since no records have been found to the contrary, it is assumed that the Cemetery still belongs to the Marshall Field heirs, however current upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery has been completed by Friends of the Lone Pine Cemetery Association.

In 2009, the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, under the abandoned cemetery provisions (RCW68.60) formally warded care and maintenance of the cemetery to the friends group.

Records of early burials in the cemetery are sketchy or non existent. The first burials are for the Kizer twins born in 1882 and died in 1883 and that of Ruthie Cozier in 1883. The last interment was that of Valentine Higbee in January 1953. Today no more burials are permitted. According to a chart at Kramer’s Kimball Funeral Home in Tekoa, a total of 115 burials have been made, however only 56 have markers can be accounted for.

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