Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Toast to the Dead

Ernest T. Eckerlen was a private in the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, 2nd Division, and perished just before Armistice Day, on 5 November 1918. He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery.

The Doughboy memorial to the dead of World War I used to be in front of the Marion County Courthouse. Virginia Green has written about it with pictures of it in 1934 and 1941.

Its current site is on a park behind the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. The park holds memorials to dead from the major wars, starting with the Spanish-American war of 1898.

Ernest was the son of Eugene Eckerlen, an important owner of saloons and breweries in fin-de-siecle Salem.

Eckerlen's name is inscribed on the Doughboy pedestal among the others who died in World War I.

Ernest's father, Eugene, Eugene's second wife, Alice, and Eugene's daughter, Mary, are buried together in St. Barbara's Cemetery.

Eugene's first wife, Mary, is also buried in St. Barbara's, but she is on the other side of the cemetery from Eugene's grave. Mary's grave is next to those of the Beck and Klinger families, a cluster of Alsiatian immigrants who were important in early Salem.

We also remember non-war dead, especially those who met untimely ends, like Pauline Phillips.

CT toasts the dead and recommends that you find someone whose history you find interesting, especially someone not already famous or a relative, and go visit their grave. Tell and renew as much of their story as you can.


  1. Interesting; nice job; nice sentiment; nice recommendation.

    I was an active member of a historic cemetery conservation corps in Boulder, Colo., for ~6 years. I was recently retired and did a good deal of work solo.

    Being in the cemetery [a half block from my home] facilitated learning local history; meeting my neighbors; becoming a part of the fabric of the neighborhood. Your post puts me in mind to check into the 'Friends of Pioneer Cemetery'.

  2. Thanks!

    The Pioneer Cemetery is really interesting, is full of interesting Salem people, and totally worth supporting!