Centuries of History Marks Return of Headstone October 10, 2018
In 1788, the Lady Washington was the first American ship to anchor off the Oregon coast. One hundred years later, in 1888, the Marshfield Oddfellows Cemetery was established, and the headstone of Clara and Joseph Bailey was relocated there. Clara and Joseph were the great-grandchildren of General Joseph Lane, the first governor of Oregon Territory. Going forward another hundred years, the US Coast Guard Cutter Cuttyhunk - named after Cuttyhunk Island the site of the first English settlement in New England - was commissioned in 1988. The following year, a replica of the Lady Washington was launched as part of the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration. On October 6, 2018, the two ships helped make the transfer of the headstone of Clara and Joseph Bailey a memorable event for four Marshfield High School students. The headstone will be securely re-attached to its base still in place at the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery.
The headstone originally began its travel in Vermont. It was loaded on a ship in Maine which sailed around the tip of South America and arrived in San Francisco. It was then transferred to another ship to make its way to the Coos Bay Area. The headstone was then placed on Clara and Joseph's gravesite in the Old Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery just off Telegraph Hill. When that cemetery was vacated, the headstone was relocated in the Oddfellows Cemetery, now referred to as the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery.
It was taken from the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery in January 2017. In April 2018, the San Francisco Police contacted the Coos Bay Police to alert them that the headstone was found! The headstone then made its way back to Coos Bay. The headstone had originally arrived by ship, so it is appropriate that its return to Coos Bay should involve sea transport. The transfer was made aboard the Lady Washington from the Captain to the four Marshfield students eager to take possession. The headstone will be secured in place at the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery as part of the high school students' community service project.