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Settlement Cemetery (Old Priest River Cemetery)
Bonner County, Idaho

Contributed by Mary Garrison, Mar 11, 2002 [mycougars@adelphia.net] Total records = 1.

"Old Priest River Cemetery" is located near Priest River. It is an abandoned cemetery on the bluff north east of the old Louisiana Pacific Mill site, situated under the Bonneville Power Company power lines above the gravel pit used by the Bonner County Sheriff's Department as a firearms range.

This one is sad because I know there are more people buried in this cemetery but the owners of the property have desecrated the graves. They say 'they just kept getting in the way of our skidder for our logging operation'. I turned all the information over to the State of Idaho Historical Department, but I have not heard they did anything with it.

It is also believed to be a burial ground for the Kalispel Indian Tribe in the late 1800's but we can't proof that either. We were told by the owners, Phil and Texana Keyser that if we were caught on the site they would prosecute for trespassing Settlement Cemetery

There may be approximately twenty burials there but records are not available. It is believed that the cemetery was above the original town site of Priest River in the late 1800's. This burial site is located on private property and should not be accessed without prior owner approval. It is also said it may have been a burial site for the local (Kalispell) Indians.

Per Marilyn Cork, a local historian of the Priest River area, this Cemetery there are at least five burials that she had been told about. Three are of a family of children that died of an illness. One is a man that was an employee of the USFS. One tombstone is still visible and bore the date of 1904.

Per Mr. and Mrs. Veltri there were approximately 5 graves at the location. They also advised that to their knowledge no native Americans were buried there. Mrs. Veltri remembered putting flowers on the graves while she was growing up.

A local archeologist visited the site and took pictures of the remaining stone. The archeologist also noted that the stone was on it's concrete base. Several depressions in the ground were noted as well as what appeared to be seven to eight bases for tombstones that had fallen or been pushed into a nearby ravine. The stone from the pictures is listed below.

An obituary was found in the Kootenai County Republican dated 09-27-1901 saying Peter Gregoire, a West Branch Rancher, was run over and instantly killed by a freight train on the Great Northern bridge a short distance east of Priest River last Friday night. However, it does not give a burial place.

From the Beautiful Bonner Vol I book: 1896 Alice and Bertha Carr died in another diphtheria epidemic. They are buried in the Priest River's original cemetery, which is located on the Keyser property east of town. (Mary L. Will)

- Mary Garrison
Graray, Peter, Age 46, d. 09-18-1901

 

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