Online Map Photos




Nearest Town:

Sweet Home

Est. # Burials:



T 13S, R 1E, 34

Size in Acres:


USGS Lat/Lon:

442328N 12223818W


Driving Directions:

From Sweet Home on O 24, SE for 2.4 to 47th Ave, turn R
0.3 m, turn L onto Airport Rd
0.3 m on L, Gilliland Cemetery


Contact Info:

Linn Co. Tax Assessor: Lot 100
Sweet Home Cemetery Maint Dist
PO Box 453
Sweet Home, OR 97386-0453
Deed Ref: 297-464,320-795,MF538-425


Located on the D.L.C. of John Gilliland.

From "Sweet Home: In the Oregon Cascades" by M. Carey and P. Hainline:

"The oldest cemetery in the Sweet Home Cemetery Maintenance District is Gilliland, established in 1854 when two-year-old William F. Gilliland was buried on his father's claim. For sixteen years the tiny grave remained alone on the ridge east of Sweet Home, but in 1870 others were buried nearby, and today Gilliland is the largest cemetery in the area, looking down on Foster Lake from the ridge east of town.

"Many pioneer families from Foster, Sunnyside and Sweet Home are represented in this cemetery. Oliver Russell, 1858-1933, was a son of Newton Russell, pioneer of 1852. Oliver's talents were many. He fixed machines, repaired watches, became Sweet Home's first Justice of the Peace and was Linn county Commissioner for twelve years. Andrew Ralston, 1825-1898, once owned the land where Foster now stands. Jacob Nye, 1837-1910, was tollgate keeper for the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road for many years. Jacob Menear, 1848-1924, lived where Foster's Willamette Mill is today. He built a hotel and surveyed and sold lots in Foster. John W. Gilliland, 1819-1896, on whose land the cemetery was begun, came to the Sweet Home Valley in 1853. He was the first toll-keeper of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road, which ran past his property. Samuel R. Nothiger, 1831-1902, was prominent in community and church affairs. Among other names of early families are Ellis, Davis, Galbraith, Cowling, Morehead, Watkinds, Stone, Mealey, Wiley, Hanchett, Minniece, McClure, Wodtli, Trachsel, Sportsman, Brady."

The following information is transcribed from the WPA Linn County Cemetery Survey, researched & prepared by Leslie L. Haskin on  4/21/1939:

The Gilliland Cemetery receives its name from the fact that is situated on a portion of the John W. Gilliland Donation land claim. It is in Section 34, Township 13 South of Range 1 East of Willamette Meridian in Linn County. The cemetery lies in the northwest quarter of the section....

The first recorded burial in this tract is that of a child, William F. Gilliland (1852-1854), presumably a son of the original claim holder. Following this single burial sixteen years seem to have elapsed before the second one- that of Samuel Farmer, aged 33 years, who died November 25, 1860. Next follows the burial of a boy of thirteen- Henry W., son of M. W. & G. Miller who died October 7, 1871. The fourth burial of record is that of another daughter of the original claim holder, evidently a young married woman- R. Jennet Harris, Dau. Of J. & M. Gilliland who died on March 25, 1874 at the age of just under twenty years.

The oldest birth date record here is that of Elizabeth Sittle, June 18, 1805.

Historical & Biographical Notes:

Wilson V. Hawk. 1884-1937. Evidently a Spanish War Veteran.

Mary J. Mealey. 1832-1931. A very early pioneer of the upper Santiam valley here. The Mealy family were influential in this region for many years.

John H. Galbraith. 1830-1914. Rachel R. Galbraith. 1838-1022. Man and wife. Prominent early citizens.

Oliver H. Russell. 1858-1933. Son of Nathan Russell who owned part of the original site of Sweet Home. Oliver Russell was a Linn County Commissioner for twelve years. Newton Russell, the father, purchased his land from a squatter, Samule (sic} Powell. Powell and his partner, Clark Williams, according to tradition, first named the valley of Sweet Home.

Andrew Ralston. 1825-1898. Jenette Ralston. 1828-1916. Man and wife. Owned the land where Foster now stands at a very early date.

Jacob L. Nye. 1837-1910. A pioneer of the year 1852. His wife was a daughter of "Betsy" Settle and a sister of Mrs. John Gilliland. "Jake" Nye was toll-gate keeper for the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road for many years. Certain traditions declare that the Nye family were responsible for the naming of the Sweet Home Valley. Other traditions deny this.

Sanuel (sic) Farmer. 1837-1870. One of the early burials here.

Henryett Nye. 1843-1926. Wife of Jacob Nye mentioned previously. Her maiden name was Settle, daughter of the widow Betsy Settle. Mrs. Nye was married before her sixteenth birthday. She was a pioneer of 1852.

Jacob Menear. Was a Civil War Veteran. His widow still lives [in 1939] at Foster just west of the Wiley creek bridge.

William T. Gilliland. 1852-1854. This two year old child was a son of John H. Gilliland, the original owner of the land where this cemetery is platted. This is the first burial in this cemetery.

John W. Gilliland. 1819-1896. A pioneer to the Sweet Home Valley in 1853. Came from Illinois. Took up the D.L.C. where this cemetery is situated. Was first toll-keeper for the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road. The "Gilliland Hills" forming this claim and on a elevation of which the cemetery lies are the eastern border of the Sweet Home Valley.

Mary T. Gilliland. 1829-1913. Believed to be the wife of the last. If so her maiden name was Settle, daughter of "Betsy" Settle. She was a pioneer of 1853.

Elizabeth Sittle. 1805-1895. Believed to be a mistake in spelling. The name is usually spelled Settle. This is the widow "Betsy" Settle who was the mother of Mrs. Jacob Nye and Mrs. John Gilliland. A prominent pioneer in this region. Came in 1852 or 1853. By some is credited with having named the Sweet Home Valley.

Samuel Nothiger. 1831-1902. Born in Switzerland. This is an older member of the Swiss emigration to this valley which was at one time quite a marked feature of the region. Many Swiss names are still to be found here.

Published Transcriptions:

    Gilliland Cemetery, Sweet Home, Linn County, Oregon, 1854 - 1945 / [compiled by Pat Dunn] [Oregon : s.n., 1997]

Online Transcriptions:

    Available at Jan Phillips' website.


Return to Linn County Cemeteries


References used to prepare these cemetery pages are provided.
Lisa L. Jones prepared and is solely responsible for the content of these pages. 
Copyright 2001.