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Volunteers Clean Tiny Lane Cemetery in Winchester, Ore.

Volunteers have been busy since 2013 sprucing up the 156-year-old pioneer Lane Cemetery in the Southern Oregon community of Winchester, once Douglas County’s government seat before it moved to  nearby Roseburg.

Fourth-grade teacher Steve Sheldon and Winchester Elementary School Principal Trish McCracken joined the clean-up with the Roseburg Alliance Church and former student Logan Wood and his Boy Scout troop. The school received a grant from the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries to pay nearly $3,000 in fencing materials. The grant required in-kind donations that totaled $4,600 and hundreds of hours of donated time.

The cemetery is named for Gen. Joseph Lane, Oregon’s first territorial governor and first senator after statehood in 1859. He ran unsuccessfully for election as U.S. president and vice-president before his political career in Oregon was tarnished by ties to pro-slavery, secessionist sympathizers. Three of his relatives are buried in the tiny fenced-off cemetery plot on the elementary school grounds.

Sheldon has suggested the site for educational student field trips, connecting pioneer history and the school’s sixth-grade graduation to the Joseph Lane Middle School.

Sources:   Winchester Elementary School. Roseburg Public Schools, Web. 21 Oct. 2015. http://www.roseburg.k12.or.us/winchester/; Allen, Cain. "General Joseph Lane." Oregon History Project. Portland State University and Oregon Historical Society, 2003. Web. 21 Oct. 2015. .

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.