New grave marker set for Civil War veteran Allen Olmstead

Deep River's American Legion Post 0111 and Women's Auxiliary members paid tribute to a Civil War veteran buried in the Eden Valley cemetery in Western Wahkiakum County last week. From left to right: Dale Rose, Ken Elliott, Lyle Haataja, Dave Brueland (behind Haataja), Steve Blain, Doug Meyer, John Fluger and Barbara Rose.

EDEN VALLEY — Deep River’s American Legion Post 0111 and the Women’s Auxiliary members gathered at the Eden Valley cemetery Wednesday, Nov. 7, to set in place a new grave marker for Civil War veteran Allen Olmstead.

At a post meeting in October, legionnaire Dale Rose reported Olmstead’s original marker was badly deteriorated and soon would be indecipherable. In response, fellow legionnaire and Naselle resident Chuck Moore volunteered to make a new marker and stand.

At the post meeting on Nov. 5, Moore displayed a beautiful piece of two-inch-thick cedar on which he had hand-routered Olmstead’s name, lifespan and designation as a Civil War veteran.

Designed to endure the Northwest weather, the cedar is finished with two coats of teak oil and the routered letters and numbers are painted with high-grade automotive acrylic lacquer. Moore noted the cedar had been cut more than 20 years ago in the Salmon Creek valley and milled back then by Leonard Vaughn. Moore also produced a metal base to secure the marker in place.

After driving the base into the ground, the marker was secured to it facing to the east in the traditional manner. Those present gathered around the gravesite for a moment of silence before presenting an appreciative hand salute.

Adding further proof to the local adage that just about everyone in the area is related to Dale and Barbara Rose, it turns out Olmstead was Barbara (Smalley) Rose’s great-grandfather. It is believed he was a Union soldier during the Civil War. With a lifespan extending from 1840 to 1913, one can only imagine the amazing changes he witnessed during his 73 years.

Many veterans from both sides in the Civil War migrated to the Columbia River estuary region following the end of hostilities, taking advantage of inexpensive land and plentiful job opportunities in the timber and fishing industries.

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