Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Uno Family at Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery

The night before last I could hardly sleep as I pondered the family of Andrew and Brita (Larsen) Uno and the difficulties that they faced as immigrants from Sweden in 1884 and 1886. The record of their marriage, dated 17 June 1886, is on microfilm at the Clackamas County Records Office. They had three children, Emma born in 1887, Albert W. born in 1891 and died in 1893, and Albert born in June of 1893. I was very curious as to the actual dates of birth and death for the first Albert, so I looked at for the family burial information. Noting that they were buried in Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery, in Milwaukie, Oregon near my home, I felt impressed to visit the cemetery the next day when there would likely be volunteers there for the Memorial Day weekend.

I called the great granddaughter of Andrew and Brita at 10 A.M. yesterday and asked her if she had any interest in going to the cemetery with me. She was very excited at my proposal and we agreed to go in the afternoon. First we stopped at the Genealogical Forum of Oregon so I could drop off some books. While there we located and photographed the marriage license of the daughter Emma Christine Uno, who married Frederick Hall on 14 November 1908 in Portland, Oregon. This was my friend's first trip to the GFO and she is excited to go again as there are many more family records within their holdings.

Then we drove towards the cemetery, stopping in Sellwood, Oregon so she could show me the house that the Uno family lived in and where she lived as a child. As an onlooker to her flashbacks, I could feel the memories held within her as she shared her experiences with these people. One story recorded in a local Sellwood newspaper provides the following information about Brita:
       "Back in 1886 Brita Larsen arrived in Sellwood from her home in far-away Sweden to become the bride of Andrew Uno, who had arrived two years earlier and now operated a shoe store in East Portland. In the heavily timbered area near the river on Marion Street they had their first home and since it was a part of Clackamas County, they had to travel to Oregon City for their marriage ceremony.... Mrs. Hall recalled that her mother had enrolled as a pupil at Willsburg School soon after she came here in order to learn English and made the long walk through the woods regularly, determined to become proficient in her new country's speech and customs."

Arriving at the cemetery we found parking on the street. The Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery entrance is located on SE 17th Street, 1/2 block north of Waverly Drive, and is adjacent to the Waverly Country Club and Golf Course. Walking up the steep drive we came to the canopys sheltering the Milwaukie Pioneer Cemetery Association Volunteers. They were fully prepared to assist visitors find their ancestors and to learn more about them. The first burial was in 1850 and there are records indicating 2170 interments. Prior to 1900 there were 235 burials, including those of Albert Uno, born 6 April 1891 and died 29 April 1893; Andrew F. who died 11 May 1918 and Brita died 17 February 1949.

They indicated to us on the map that they are buried in the SW quadrant, Plot #068, 2 and 10. Walking out into the beautifully groomed setting one was drawn to the U.S. flags ruffling in the wind, indicating where veterans are buried. Then one notices the vignettes posted on stakes sharing a brief history of that individual. There were over twenty of these and they continue to create them as information is discovered. These are only put out for special occasions, such as Memorial Day.  We walked in search of the stones and finally found them nestled under two large cedar trees that were planted many years ago. The setting seemed very different than what was found on Pictures were taken and a moment of silence observed for these immigrant ancestors who lost their second child at the age of two.

Their third child, a son also named Albert, was sent to France to fight in WWI.  The family has quite a collection about this young man, born just two months after the death of his brother, and then he died on 22 October 1918 in the service of the U.S. Army in France. Albert died just five months after his father died unexpectedly of influenza. The grief felt by Brita and her daughter Emma who gave birth to her fourth child, a son, just two months later, is hard to imagine. I will share more of this story in part two tomorrow.

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