Out-of-place headstone found in Luper Pioneer Cemetery

Out-of-place headstone found in Luper Pioneer Cemetery

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. -- Luper pioneer cemetery, initially founded in the mid-1800s, unlocked another piece of history this week. 

From pioneers arriving in the Willamette Valley primarily by wagon train to the first man ever struck by lightning in Lane County, some of the most important historical figures of Junction City and the surrounding areas were laid to rest in the the Luper grounds.

Yet grounds volunteer Russ Carey said he found a headstone that was out of place while working around the property.

John Paul Legate’s headstone, marked Sept. 10 1922 to Feb. 29, 1924, has everyone at Luper Pioneer Cemetery scratching their heads.

“It was a name I'm not familiar with here at the cemetery,” Carey said. “I've done research with almost every single person here and we have yet to find anything on this kid.”

Carey found the headstone while walking along the property line. He said he thinks someone just ripped it off a grave and threw it in the blackberries. 

Cemetery president Peter Thurston says they see a lot of vandalism in the area.

“I think that's unfortunately typical of old cemeteries that people think they're spooky and some people are irresponsible,” said Thurston.