Liberty Baptist


(see below)
Map Photos




Nearest Town:

Sweet Home

Est. # Burials:



T 13S, R 1W, 26

Size in Acres:


USGS Lat/Lon:

442450N 1224618W


Driving Directions:

Liberty District SW of Sweet Home


Contact Info:

Linn Co. Tax Assessor: Not found.


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

"A deserted graveyard once called the Liberty Baptist Cemetery is about one-half mile south of the Nye/Liberty Cemetery, on land once belonging to Cyrus Barr. The cemetery was west of the Liberty Baptist Church, which was founded by the famous Joab Powell in 1853. When Leslie Haskin surveyed this cemetery in the late 1930s only two graves, of William and Carrol Morris, remained. Members of the pioneer Splawn family, who lived near Holley, were buried here but later removed to the Nye/Liberty Cemetery."

The following information is transcribed from the WPA Linn County Cemetery Survey, researched & prepared by Leslie L. Haskin on 1-22-1940:

Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery is situated in Section 26, Township 13 South, Range 1 West in Linn County, Oregon.  It occupies a portion of the original Donation Land Claim of Oliver H. P. Derby.  The present owner [in 1940] of the surround land, and probably of the cemetery itself, though this was not definitely ascertained, is Silas V. Barr….

 The history of this cemetery is rather interesting.  The Liberty Baptist Church to which it belonged was one of the many organized by the eccentric Elder Joab Powell and his associates of the Providence Congregation.  This church was organized on Oct. 3, 1853.  For many years it was most active.  Elder Powell held protracted meetings here.  To quote a pioneer informant who attended those meetings, herself a granddaughter of elder Powell, (Rachel Powell Peterson)-

“There was one meeting that I remember more than all others.  It was along protracted meeting held in the Sweet Home community near the Barr Home.  People came to that meeting for twenty-five miles in all directions.  They camped there and staid for the entire time.  There was a large field set aside for the campers and many of them brought their cattle and pastured them in that field and milked them there, skimming the milk and making the cream into butter on the grounds.  Beds were set up at the back of the church and some mothers with children slept there while the beds were used as a place to put the sleeping children and babied during the meetings.  I do not know how long those meetings lasted, but for many weeks.

“It was a long ways from the river, and the converts had to be baptized.  As you know, my grandfather was a great stickler for baptism.  He therefore built a big baptistry from planks near the church.  During the week grandfather would preach and baptize there but on Sundays he would take his converts to the Santiam river for immersion.

“In those days there were few bridges across the rivers and in going from my father’s place at Berlin to those protracted meetings we had to ford the swift stream.  The old baptistry which my grandfather built there stood for many, many years.”

(Note-Mrs. Peterson was uncertain about the name of the church of which she told but thought, with some misgivings, that it was Zion Church.  However, from her description of the location and from definite official records it is positively known that it was Liberty Church.  It should also be noted here that there were two Liberty Churches in Linn County.  The other one, its denominational affiliations not known, was situated in Section 19, Township 11 South, Range 1 West, near Griggs Station northeast of Lebanon.)

The land where this church and cemetery was situated was first taken up as a Donation Land Claim by Oliver H. P. Derby.  Derby sold his claim to Cyrus Vawter who was a pioneer miller and a son-in-law of R. C. Finley, Linn County’s earliest mill builder.  On March 2, 1860 Cyrus Vawter, for the consideration of $20.00 deeded a tract of land to “Liberty Church” for “The purpose of a burying ground and church house.”….

The Liberty Church building, according to Mr. Barr who is a native son of the neighborhood and now eighty-three years of age, was a “Box building”, quite large, and it stood on a level tract at about the center of the church property.  The Baptistry built by Joab Powell was on the northeast corner of the tract and its site is still visible.  It was fed by a stream from a large spring near at hand.  Mr. Barr informed this field worker that the Baptistry was built of heavy planks which lasted for years and that as a boy he and his friends used it for a swimming pool.

The Cemetery was situated on a steeper portion of the hillside and south and west of the church building.  The cemetery proper is now obliterated with the exception of two graves.  These were for years enclosed in a split picket fence, the remains of which are still visible although now fallen and nearly rotted away.  The stones which marked the graves are also fallen and have been removed a few feet from the graves and placed leaning against a good sized oak tree.  Scattering oaks cover all of the cemetery proper.  The slope here is rather steep.

This is strictly a “deserted” cemetery.  No burials have taken place here for many years and none appear likely in the future.

(Note—Since writing the above it has come to this worker’s knowledge that the official title of the cemetery previously surveyed under the name of  “Nye Cemetery”, (the commonly recognized neighborhood name), is really “The Liberty Cemetery.”  Being less than a mile north of the present old cemetery above, it naturally gets its name from the same pioneer church.  The whole district hereabouts is known as the “Liberty School District.”  These duplications of local names are unfortunate but unavoidable.)

William Morris
Born July 4, 1851
Aged 10 years
(White marble 3x16x24 inches)

Carrol Morris
Born May 12, 1857
Aged 6 mos. 15 ds.
(White marble 3x12x18 inches)

(There are other graves here but without markers.)

Historical & Biographical Notes.

William Morris. 1841-1851.  A ten-year old boy who died of diphtheria.  Probably a son of A. P. Morris whose Donation Land Claim was situated about one-half mile south of this cemetery.

Carroll Morris.  1856-1857.  A brother of the last.  This child is not buried here.  According to S. V. Barr, this worker’s chief informant, the circumstances are these—Carrol Morris died and was buried in a cemetery, (Also on Mr. Barr’s land) about one mile west.  (See Fern Ridge or Fielding Lewis Cemetery).  No marker was placed at his grave for a number of years.  Finally his people secured a stone and prepared to put it in place.  In the mean time, however, the cemetery had so overgrown that it was impossible to find the grave.  They therefore brought the stone down to the Liberty Church cemetery and set it up beside that of his brother.

Among others who were buried here and later removed to the Nye Cemetery were members of the pioneer Splawn family whose donation land claim was situated about a mile east of Holly.



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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.