Early settlers William and Martha McLane allowed burials on this part of their original claim as early as the 1850s. In 1883 they transferred ownership of the cemetery to the adjoining McLane School and specified McLane Cemetery should remain "free to all without reference to color or creed." The cemetery was most used from the 1860s to the 1910s, mainly by families who lived nearby. After the Indian Shaker Church was established at Mud Bay in the late 1800s, some of their members were buried in the cemetery as well.
By 1953 the cemetery was in poor repair when the McLane Grange conducted a cleanup as a Washington Centennial project. Volunteers harvested trees on the site to generate revenue to support ongoing maintenance. However, the cemetery again fell into disrepair and from the 1950s to the 1970s vandals severely damaged the cemetery, opened graves, and removed markers from the site.
In 1975 the McLane School District determined it was unable to properly care for the cemetery and deeded it back to McLane descendants. Thurston County established a permanent easement to the cemetery in 2004 and conducted a cleanup and documentation effort in 2006. However, as of 2013, there is no ongoing maintenance plan and the cemetery is overgrown and remains difficult to access. Very few original markers remain and there are no known official burial records.
More recently, the church adjoining the cemetery obtained permission from McLane descendants to maintain a small fenced area, away from the historic burials, for inurnment of church members.
GPS Coordinates: 47.04171, -122.97886
- Added: 1 Dec 2009
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2333354
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