Online Map Photos




Nearest Town:

Foster, Sweet Home

Est. # Burials:



T 13S, R 1E, 23

Size in Acres:


USGS Lat/Lon:

442505N 1223935W


Driving Directions:

About 2.5 miles NE of Sweet Home city center. North River Drive/Quartzville Road. Just above Foster Reservoir on N. side


Contact Info:

Linn Co. Tax Assessor: Lot 8201
1443 LONG ST
SWEET HOME OR 97386-0000
Deed Ref: 265-664,302-775


When this cemetery was surveyed in 1966, 56 graves were found. Today, more than 500 are buried here.

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

"Lewis Cemetery, located on the north bank of Foster Lake, is named after Stewart Lewis, who came to Oregon in 1846 with his wife, Elizabeth Riggs Lewis and her family. Shortly before 1867, the Lewises moved from their home near Crawfordsville to their place above Foster, east of the present cemetery. In 1867 or 1868, a grandson of Stewart Lewis died and was buried here. This is when the cemetery was established, according to Leslie Haskin's research, which included an interview with Hiram Pickens, member of an area pioneer family. A plaque at the cemetery, however, gives the date as 1850.

"That first grave is unmarked. The first marked burial is that of Laura F. Allen, who died in 1881. Another unmarked grave, just east of the Lewis lot, is that of an unknown miner who died in the mountains nearby. He was possibly one of the thousands of men who, in the 1860s, made a boomtown of the mining camp of Quartzville, thirty-five miles up the river. Stewart Lewis, 1818-1899, and his wife Elizabeth, 1818-1898, are buried here, as is William Yost, 1856-1925, who with his brother Aaron operated a store and sawmill at Foster in the early 1890s. Other early names on the tombstones are Pickens, Springer, Trachsel, Weddle.

"The cemetery seems to have been little used between the 1930s and the 1970s. After the original road to the cemetery was submerged in the rising waters of Foster Lake, the way was rerouted to the north, improving accessibility to the cemetery and causing it to be rediscovered and improved. Today, Lewis Cemetery, with its well-kept lawn stretching almost to the lake below, and the hillside above covered with wild undergrowth and blackberries, is well cared for--a pioneer cemetery saved by progress."


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

The Lewis Cemetery is situated on a portion of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road Land Grant, in Section 23, Township 13 South of range 1 East in Linn County.  The cemetery lies near the southwest corner of the section and about one and one half miles northeast of the village of Foster.

The history of this cemetery seems to be considerably mingled with the history of the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road company.  The Wagon Road Company was organized in the year 1864.  In the year 1871 this road company appealed to the State of Oregon for financial aid in constructing a wagon road following the course of the South Santiam River to the summit of the Cascades and from thence to the eastern line of the state.  In compliance with this request the company was granted “three full sections of land for each mile of road that should be constructed.”  “And the lands along the line of said road to the extent of eight hundred and sixty thousand acres have under said donation and grant passed to and become the absolute property of said Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road ***”.  (October 2, 1871.)

In the meantime, in the mountain settlement now known as Foster, sometime about the year 1867 or 1868, a child died.  This child was a son of Bob Earl and a grandson of Stewart and Elizabeth Lewis who had taken up land in Sections 23 and 26 of this region.  With the free and easy customs of the time a grave was dug on Government land near the Lewis home and hear the child was buried—the beginning of the present cemetery.  Other deaths occurred (mostly now unmarked) and other graves were opened nearby.  The tract finally became recognized as the neighborhood cemetery.  In the course of a few years, as already mentioned, the Wagon Road Company received its grant of land and among other tracts was included that containing the cemetery.

Thus the situation remained for a long period.  Burials continued to be made on what was now Road Company property.  In the course of time this property changed hands and passed through various phases of litigation, finally falling into the hands of the Hill interests—the big Railroad owners.  Not until very recent years was any attempt made to segregate the cemetery tract.  Finally, through the initiative of Mr. H. Pickens, (the field worker’s chief informant) a cemetery association was formed and a request for a deed made.  This request was granted and a deed signed and executed by Mr. Hill in person forwarded to the Association trustees giving them the cemetery tract and a right-of-way thereto without cost.  The title to the land is now [in 1939] vested in The Lewis Cemetery Association.

The name “Lewis Cemetery” comes from the name of the grandparents of the first child buried here.

As already stated the first burial here was that of a child of Bob Earl, and occurred about 1867 or 1868.  This grave is not marked.  The first marked burial here is that of Laura F. Allen who died March, 1881, at the age of 6 years, 23 days.  Following this are Hannah Lewis, June 20, 1884, and John A. Trachsell, 1867-1884.  The earliest birth dates recorded are those of Stewart and Elizabeth Lewis, Nov. 3d, and Dec. 22d, respectively, both in the year 1818.

[end of Haskin survey.]

Online Transcriptions:

    Surveyed in 1998 by Jan Phillips and available at her website.



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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.