Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Halloween night

I'll be portraying Emmor Stephens, b. 1777, d. 1846, first burial in Portland's historic Lone Fir Cemetery, at the Tour of Untimely Departures, held on Halloween night at the cemetery itself.

For $10, you'll take a walking tour of the cemetery, stopping at half a dozen grave sites and hearing the firsthand story of that person's untimely death. It's not really kid-friendly, unless you like your kid hearing story of people being murdered, blown to bits, that sort of thing.

As the patriarch of both the Stephens family and the Cemetery, I'll tell the story of when the cemetery was a farm, part of the eastern edge of the Stephens property, which ran from Stark to Division Streets, and from Central Catholic High School all the way to the river.

My death was not untimely, but the story of the people who bought that property from my son, with the promise the keep up my grave site, theirs is story full of untimely deaths.

One of the stones nearby, the grave of a central character in the story I will tell, it has this image carved on it.



I asked Frank, the guy who puts together this event each Halloween, if he knew what the symbol meant. "Oh yeah," he said. "The tree that's been topped. A life cut short."

And across from the grave is this fir tree, an Oregon Heritage Tree , the lone fir tree on the Stephens farm that inspired the name of the cemetery. And if you'll notice, the top of the Lone Fir is also topped, the result of a storm a few years back.

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