A stroll in a historic cemetery

Once in a while, when the opportunity arises, I enjoy strolling through old cemeteries. They’re good places to contemplate our own fleeting existence, and to enjoy interesting artwork and history.

Yesterday, I found myself near Lone Fir Cemetery. I decided to take some time, and give it a visit. My specific goal was to find the grave of Dr. James Hawthorne – who has a major street, and a bridge, named after him in Portland.

I was unable to find Hawthorne’s grave, despite having asked a few strangers (the cemetery is a popular place, and not just for the dead). I did notice a very large number of tombstones in Russian. I’d seen this in other cemeteries, but not to the same extent as in Lone Fir. Russians really did figure prominently in Portland’s history, starting at least from the mid 19th century.

Life was often short and brutal in the old days:


It’s not a Jewish cemetery, so I was surprised to find this:


The Hebrew letters at the bottom stand for “may her soul be bound in the bond of life.” Unfortunately, unless I’m missing something, there’s a typo on the tombstone; whoever carved it may have been dyslexic, because he switched the letters. It’s supposed to be “תנצבה” not “תצנבה.” I wonder if I was the first to notice, or if it’s causing any problems in Heaven.

One historic Portland figure whose tombstone I did find was Asa Lovejoy:


It’s impressive that he still had “friends” around in 1943 to erect this monument – over 60 years after his death! I’m guessing they never knew him personally.


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