In the community

Grant builds fence at Rockville Cemetery

The Rockville Cemetery’s barbed wire fence will be replaced with a more durable one later this fall after receiving funding from the state. (Photo courtesy of Bonnie MacKenzie)

 ROCKVILLE – The cattle that currently graze over the graves in the historic Rockville Cemetery will soon be shut out with the help of a new fence.

The small cemetery near the Oregon-Idaho border north of Jordan Valley recently received a $6,580 grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries to build the fence this fall. 

Bonnie MacKenzie, who applied for the grant, said the new fence is a “project that’s needed to be done.”

The project will replace the current barbed wire border with a more durable one and bring community members together. MacKenzie said she is getting quotes from contractors for the fence. Labor will be provided by members of the community.

“We have a great little community with great neighbors,” said MacKenzie. “Whenever there is a need everyone is willing and ready to help out.” 

The fence work should be done in October, according to the cemetery’s application to the state.

The Rockville Cemetery is one of 14 cemeteries across the state to be awarded grant money for projects this year. To be considered a historic cemetery, at least one person who died before 1909 must be buried there.

There are about 25 graves in the Rockville Cemetery, most belonging to early homesteaders of southeastern Oregon. Descendants of some of them still live in the area.

“It will be nice for people who have family in there to come up and see that they are honored,” said MacKenzie.

Glenda Gammet, the owner of the private property where the cemetery is located, has lived in Rockville since 1980. She said that while she drives by the cemetery often, she doesn’t go to it. 

“I think it’s a nice thing to do,” Gammet said of the fence installation. Gammet said that she plans to take part in the project when the day comes in October. 

“Although I did not know anyone buried in this cemetery, I was always familiar with some of the names because my father-in-law Duncan MacKenzie and neighbor Bud Greeley would tell us stories on the people who lived in this community,” said MacKenzie in an email. “They have both passed away now but that would be another motivation in honor of them and to honor those buried there.”

Carolyn Agrimis: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.