The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

American Legion officer seeks graves of local veterans


January 31, 2018

DALE JENKINS looks over graves in Gilliland Cemetery as part of his search for local veterans buried in the Sweet Home area.

Dale Jenkins is looking for the public's help in locating the graves of veterans in the Sweet Home area

Jenkins, commander of Sweet Home's American Legion Post, is specifically looking for the locations of graves for World War I veterans as well as those from earlier conflicts, including the Spanish American War and those between the United States and Indians.

"We started in our district here, trying to recognize where World War I veterans were buried," Jenkins said last week, standing in Gilliland Cemetery near a World War I veteran's grave. "We started around Albany and are working this way."

Other districts and other states are starting to pick up on the project, Jenkins said, and he understands that it will probably be a national effort.

District Commander Steve Adams of Albany initiated the project, Jenkins said.

Many are buried in public cemeteries like Gilliland, Jenkins said. He quickly found a group of them last week.

"There are some grave sites that are private," he said. "And you have to cross private property."

He would like information and permission from property owners to access those graves, he said. He will be happy to clean them up and take photos, recording their location

The Sweet Home Genealogical Society donated to the American Legion a registry of burial sites across the state, he said. It has provided useful information, athough some have been moved and others plowed under.

Jenkins said the effort is about more than simply gathering historical data.

"I want to pay my respects," he said. As he located veteran graves at Gilliland last week, "I gave them a salute."

His own family has been in America since 1607, Jenkins said. His ancestors have a long history in the military service, and that drives him in this effort.

"It's just honoring all veterans," Jenkins said.

Anyone with information or questions may contact Jenkins at (503) 867-5409.

Jenkins added that the location for American Legion meetings is moving to the Veterans Club, 580 Main St., at 7:30 a.m. on the first Thursday of the month, and he invites veterans to join the American Legion.


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