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Stones that speak: Historical Society’s Fall City Days exhibit explores pioneer cemetery
To walk through the Fall City Cemetery is to visit with many of the earliest settlers in our area.
People like Jeremiah Borst, “father of the Snoqualmie Valley”, who platted Fall City in 1887, or James Taylor, who homesteaded here in 1869. The grave of Josiah “Uncle Si” Merritt, namesake of Mount Si, is here, as is the burial place of David Taylor and wife Helen Moore Taylor, the first family to settle here, and their daughter Olive Taylor Quigley, the first pioneer girl born at The Landing, as Fall City was called. Here you can find the grave of Hance Moore, brother of Helen Moore Taylor, who married Nancy Morris in the first settler marriage performed in the area.
The northern portion of the cemetery was traditionally used for Native American burials, and was deeded to the Snoqualmie Tribe in 1999. Beloved chief Jerry Kanim and his wife Jenny are buried there, as is honored elder Ed Davis, 1888-1987. Another striking marker honors Grandma Moses, with the inscription, “Died 1888, aged 130 years.”
The list goes on and on.
Fall City Historical Society explores the history and residents of Fall City Cemetery in its display during Fall City Days.
A cemetery tour is presented each year for Fall City Elementary students at the end of their Fall City history unit, so they can “visit” the people they have learned about.
History is there in many other ways. The numbers of graves in family plots, and the time range, show that many families came early and stayed.
One can also find also the evidence of military service, from the 15 markers for veterans of the Civil War to service in other later conflicts.
In the early 1870s, a nameless roomer died while staying with a family in what would later become Fall City and was buried on a knoll overlooking the town. (The “Unknown Man” marker, originally a crude concrete slab, was replaced later by Jack Kelley.
Soon more folks began to be buried there, leading to the platting of the cemetery, one portion by the Fall City Cemetery Association in 1902 and the other by the Fall City International Order of Odd Fellows in 1903. The cemetery listings today show six other “Unknowns,” as well as two marked “child,” a “Leg of man” presumably recovered from the river, and “Two Italians” and a “White Man.” The story of the last two was that they came early to work on the railroad, and were killed on their first day of work, before they had even signed in for their pay.
A brochure on the Fall City Cemetery has been prepared, which will be available on Fall City Days, and later at the cemetery kiosk. Members of the Fall City Historical Society thank the Rotary Club of the Snoqualmie Valley for a grant to cover printing costs. They will also have a burial index available, shared by the Fall City Cemetery Association.
Photos courtesy Fall City Historical Society
Homesteader James Taylor's gravestone is located in Fall City Cemetery, the Valley's chief pioneer cemetery.
Other markers were placed for people who died here without any locals learning their names.