I will reiterate my knowledge and experience after being on the Oregon State Historic Cemetery Commission in past years and recently the Baker County Historic Society.
It was during my tenure that I located the legal landholder of the Wingville cemetery. The State Grange Association was not aware that they owned it through attrition following the closure of the Wingville Grange which had not appropriated it to anyone else. They agreed to quit claim it to the county if they would agree to take ownership. This was arranged through the Baker County Parks Commission.
The Oregon State regulations require that those cemeteries fitting the criteria for "Historic" designation be left as they were. Some had previously been cared for by individual tax assignations such as Rock Creek and Haines. Because it was not recognized in ownership and had always been as is, Wingville and many other small cemeteries on hillsides, near private ownership etc have not been changed ie the Chinese cemetery. Wingville has never had a source of water therefore it has never been other than it is today.
Because it is considered one of the very few pieces of land that is as it was when Baker and Wingville were settled it is preserved that way.
In directions from the State Historical Cemetery Commission, we have worked with the County Parks and volunteers to keep it trimmed, repair stones according to the guidelines as money and volunteers allow and repair the fence while also prohibiting grazing as once occurred before the county took ownership. We are allowed to leave the iris and lilac bushes that were present when all the changes occurred, assuming they were put there by relatives. The only known person to have a plot of the burials , died many years ago and his house had burned prior to his death therefore no records were ever passed on. In the past many of the headstones were wooden and burned in a past grass fire. In some areas where the land has sunken but no stone remains we can assume there was a wooden coffin which has since deteriorated with age.
Because the times necessitated wooden coffins, it would take very refined and expensive equipment to x-ray the ground for possible remains. Still we could not know who they were. I hope this is helpful for you.
Sincerely, Bea Jean Haskell, Baker County Historical Society.
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