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Help Solve a Mystery

Who is Mickey Josephine?

A social media posting by Kait Smith, April 10, 2021:

Last week my neighbor and I made an interesting discovery- a grave overlooking Fall Creek canyon in the remote community of Elk Prairie ~18 miles south of Molalla, Oregon. This area was impacted by the Beachie Creek fire last September- the back half of the marker is completely burned, but the fire also cleared the brush to reveal the grave.

Over the last week the site has been investigated by deputies and detectives from the county sheriff’s department and the Medical Examiner. They brought the marker to the forensics team but despite their best efforts, much of the information has been lost to the elements. The detective was unable to find vital records matching the name. Here’s what we can read:

JULY 29 __?5

The Grave Marker of Mickey Josephine

Close-Up Version of the Marker


There is space before “urney” for one or more letters (Gurney, Burney?) The next line of text is completely unreadable, but it is possible “urney” is a maiden name while the married name is on the line after. As for the year, I can’t say for sure where the 5 falls in the sequence of numbers. It could be 1935 or 1950, but there is a 5 somewhere in the year. There also appears to be a paw print symbol next to the date. The medical examiner does not think this is the grave of a pet (I asked).

The wood is high-quality (possibly old-growth) cedar that is not milled to modern standards. The ME believes the marker dates to the 1940’s or earlier. There was also a memento placed on the rocks near the marker- What looks like a stone loom weight or sinker stone for fishing nets, or simply a stone pendant of some kind.

The Burial Site Overlooking Fall Creek Canyon

The original Donation Land Claim for the property was issued to John P. Gengler on March 25, 1912. The owner is listed as Geo. V. Wilson on a 1928 map, C. Thompson in 1951, and Pub Paper Co. in 1966.

Thank you for your interest in the mystery of Mickey Josephine,
We appreciate your time and consideration.
-Kait Smith & the Elk Prairie community


The Memento Placed Upon the Rocks Near the Marker

Story and images by Kait Smith.  The Genealogical Forum of Oregon was granted permission for publication by the author/photographer.

You can help solve this mystery.  If you have a hint, an idea, or know of where to find supporting research documents for this mystery person, please contribute to the discussion below.  Hopefully together we can provide an answer to "Who is Mickey Josephine?".