Join us on Saturday, July 23rd at 11 a.m. in Newton Creek Park, Philomath, Oregon at the intersection of Newton & James Streets to dedicate the Shipley Family Homestead Historical Marker.
The program includes remarks by local dignitaries and representatives from the Linn Benton County NAACP, Oregon Black Pioneers, and Oregon Travel Information Council, as well as a special musical performance by vocalist Marilyn Keller. All are welcome. Attendees are invited to stay for refreshments following the program.
Parking is available in the church parking lot at 150 James Street, adjacent to the marker location.
Mount Union Cemetery is situated on land once belonging to Reuben and Mary Jane Shipley, one of Oregon’s earliest Black pioneer couples. Reuben was born into slavery in Kentucky and brought to Oregon by his enslaver, Robert Shipley, in 1853. In return for driving the family wagon across the continent on the Oregon Trail, Robert granted Reuben his freedom. Reuben worked for Eldridge Hartless and purchased 101 acres of Christian Bales’ homestead. In 1861, Reuben deeded two acres of his land to create Mount Union Cemetery with the condition Blacks be allowed to be buried there as well as Whites.
This marker was made possible through the support of the Oregon Community Foundation, the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, the Baha’i Faith of Corvallis, the Oregon Black Pioneers, and contributions of 43 individual donors.
The design and research for the marker was a combined effort, including members from the following organizations: Mt Union Cemetery Association, Oregon Black Pioneers, Linn-Benton County NAACP, Baha’i Communities of Benton County, Oregon State University Archives, Benton County Historical Society, and the Oregon Historical Marker Committee.
Special thanks to the City of Philomath for the location and support of the marker.