10 September 2006
The Saturday Market in Eugene has a unique flavor all its own. Interested in a rune reading? Need the latest in tie-dyed fashions for your little one? Searching for one-of-kind jewelry or perhaps a wind chime for the back porch? Well, a stop at the market will satisfy all of those wishes. Fashion is certainly free-form here, and you’ll encounter a number of merchants and activists who are passionate about what they do.
At the adjacent farmers’ market I stop to pick up some fresh corn on the cob, button squash, and a sweet-smelling summer melon. After consuming a handmade tamale with chunks of potato and a prune nestled in the center, I leave the market to navigate the western reaches of Highway 126.
For the past several months, my dad and I have been on a mission to locate the grave marker of Ellen Hemenway Humphrey. So far, the search has taken me along country roads in Bellfountain, to the Oregon state archives and state library in Salem, and now to the small settlement of Veneta.
Established by John Bailey in 1850, the Oakhill Cemetery covers two sides of a small knoll within sight of the Fern Ridge Reservoir. It has become a resting place for many of the early pioneers who came out west via the Oregon Trail, including my great-great-great-grandfather, Ansel Asa Hemenway. At the crest of the hill bordering the gravel drive sits the marker for part of the Hemenway clan: patriarch Ansel, his wife Abigail, and one of their sons, Urban. After 110 years, signs of age and erosion are particularly evident on the north-facing side of the marker. Still decipherable, however, is a tender inscription:
Tis hard to break the tender cord
When love has bound the heart
Tis hard so hard to speak the words
Must we forever part
After a quiet walk through the cemetery rows, I leave with another piece of the family puzzle in place.