Hard Work Allows For Nice Memorial Day At Historic Pioneer Cemetery

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Story & Photos Courtesy Carmen Scott
Des Moines Historical Society

Many of the pioneer families of the Des Moines, Burien, Sunnydale, SeaTac and Highline areas are represented at the historic Hillgrove Cemetery, located on South 200th Street a few blocks east of Des Moines Memorial Drive.

Last Thursday (May 27), several teams of young students from the Puget Sound Skills Center, under the Direction of Fire Services Instructor and Battalion Chief John Madson, spent a hard day at work mowing hip high grass, weed whacking, trimming, raking, and removing overgrown vegetation.

By day’s end, the grounds were walkable and ready for Memorial Day visitors.

An observer will see a great many long-term local names:

The Markwells, who operated an early Mill in Des Moines.

The Drapers, who founded and operated the Draper Children’s Home orphanage.

Rilda Martin Moses, Valedictorian of the 1912 Des Moines High school Graduating class, and as Mrs. Moses, she was still teaching kindergarten classes at Des Moines, into the 1960s.

One Johnson gravestone remembers a wife and mother who lived only from 1872 to 1906, 34 years.

Another remembers Jennie Yeisley, 1865 – 1890 At Rest.

Memorial day presents an opportunity to remember the pioneers of yesteryear, and appreciate all they did to forge a future for us, the generations that followed.

The Memorial Day clean-up efforts were arranged by Jim Lingwood, representing the Hillgrove Cemetery Board, and by Jim Langston, representing the Des Moines Historical Society.

A special thanks goes to the city of SeaTac for loaning the use of their grounds-keeping tools and equipment.

Here are more photos of the event:

Also, here’s a Sound Slideshow of Hillgrove Cemetery, as Produced by Scott Schaefer last Fall:

Click to Play
Click to Play Scott Schaefer’s SoundSlideshow

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One Response to “Hard Work Allows For Nice Memorial Day At Historic Pioneer Cemetery”
  1. Ron Roby says:

    I have recently read online that the land was donated for Hillgrove Cemetery in 1900 and that was the year it was founded/opened, but I know that it was in use as a cemetery prior to that time because I have relatives (surnamed Clark, Elsey and Yeisley who were buried there before that date.

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