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Historic Columbian Cemetery

Historic Columbian Cemetery

The Sunderland monument at the HCC

The Historic Columbian Cemetery is located one mile south of the Columbia River, along the Columbia Slough in Portland, Oregon.  It has served the communities of St. Johns, Woodlawn, and other North Portland families since the first burial, George W. Schaeffer in 1857.*  People from all class levels and ethnic groups,  including Portland notables, Oregon Trail pioneers, and formerly enslaved persons are among those in the cemetery.  The cemetery was originally named the Love Cemetery, as it was situated on Captain Lewis Love’s land. It has been known by many names, including Columbia Slough Cemetery, Columbia Cemetery, and simply Columbian Cemetery.

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon (GFO) has been entrusted with the cemetery archives, the earliest documented records dating from 5 May 1890 and continuing through 2005.  The collection includes survey maps, lot books showing the burial locations, daybooks, burial cards, and other cemetery records.

The GFO is working to create an accurate cemetery map, finding aids, and indexes of the collection, all of which is ongoing.  A dedicated team of volunteers will provide updates to the posted documents from time to time.  More volunteer help is always needed.

Please contact for more information or to help with the project.    

Cemetery Maps

The maps provide general data that may help locate burial locations.

Cemetery Section Map

Cemetery Lot Map shows lots and blocks

Sample burial card

Index of Burials

Working Index (alphabetical)

Burial cards were the first record set indexed by GFO volunteers.  A person’s name may appear on one card or many; three copies is common. Typically, the card shows the name of the deceased, but early records may show only the name of the person who paid for the lot. Many cards were missing when the collection was received. Since the first index was done, a few thousand names have been added from other records in the archive, death certificates, obituaries, and markers in the cemetery. The index also includes data that is rarely on the card, such as birthdate, death date, maiden names for women, and researcher notes. Links to Find a Grave memorials are in the first column. As research continues, the index will be updated. Surnames A – H have been reviewed several times and will continue to be updated while the focus moves to I – Z surnames on the index.

A small collection of Historic Columbian Cemetery daybooks


The information in a daybook shows sales of lots or blocks, the name of the purchaser or the deceased, and occasionally, accounting. Information is in chronological order, sometimes with gaps.

Daybooks: Finding Aid summarizes the content of the 14 daybooks. 

Daybooks: Index of Names is an alphabetical list of lot purchasers and/or the deceased. The index includes corrected spelling and speculation. As more daybooks are reviewed, more names will be added. Currently, this is the index for Daybook 1.

Daybook 1: May 1890-May 1917


* There are two known burials with earlier dates of death; however, the cemetery regards George W. Schaeffer’s burial as the first. The others may have been moved to the cemetery later.