Grant County People: Grave marked 103 years following burial

On Oct. 4, direct descendants of Elizabeth Dinwiddie arrived at Top Road to mark her 103-year-old gravesite. Family included Minister John Dinwiddie, Elenora

MONUMENT - The gravesite of Elizabeth M. (Smith) Dinwiddie received a headstone and memorial plaque on Oct. 4, just 103 years after she died near Top in Northern Grant County.

The single gravesite was located on property owned by Gus and Ruth Peterson, who attended the service along with Roy and Carolyn Peterson and daughters Jana and Jennifer.

Dinwiddie family members came from Baker City and Richland, Heppner, Hood River, Portland, and Spanaway, Wash., and Tacoma, Wash., to attend the "monumental" event. Those present included Dean and Mary Eleanor Gilman, Fern Pope, Vikki Church, Gary and Marian Dinwiddie, John and Shirley Dinwiddie, John and Rachel Dinwiddie Harvey, Jack and Elenora "Corkie" Dinwiddie Gardner, and family historian Donna Dinwiddie Thurmon of Tacoma.

Representing the Grant County Genealogical Society were Dean and Betty Elliott and Sharon Haynes.

Information recorded includes the following: Elizabeth Smith was born in Kentucky on Oct. 11, 1822. She married John Wesley Dinwiddie on March 25, 1841 in Cass County, Ill. The couple had 10 children, four of whom died young. The remaining six children included Mary J., Lavina Isabel "Belle," Sophia Matilda, Samuel Thomas, Miranda Irene and James Robert. Elizabeth Dinwiddie died at Top on Oct. 25, 1899. Mr. Dinwiddie died in 1905 in Whitman County, Wash.

A granddaughter of the Dinwiddies, the recently deceased 93-year-old Lavina Dinwiddie Hampton, had recorded: "John Wesley and Elizabeth migrated from Kansas on an emigrant train with four families to a car. Each car had a pot-bellied stove in the middle, used for heating and cooking, and each family had its own corner."

According to the 1900 census for Monument and the Bureau of Land Management, original land patents for Dinwiddies in Grant County, family history discovered that Samuel T. Dinwiddie filed on four quarters of land in 1904 and one quarter in 1921. His daughter, Flossie also filed on 12 quarters in a nearby township.

During the Oct. 4 ceremony, a frame was built and cement was poured to anchor a memorial plaque. One family member stated, "I feel Elizabeth is watching us saying 'About Time!' "

Heather's opinion on skateboarders/rollerbladers: Our experience here at the Blue Mountain Eagle has not been positive concerning skateboarders/rollerbladers. Because of our location, paved parking lot and several steps and curbs used as jumps, this property has been attractive and used by skateboarders and rollerbladers, sometimes during business hours but usually evenings or weekend hours.

The result has been damage to our building, chipped curbs, unsightly waxing of our curbs and steps posing a safety hazard, and trash left behind by the youths. Ground lights by our sign were broken or removed. Repeated requests to stop the sport on these premises were ignored, sometimes with disrespectful response from repeat offenders. Signs that were placed prohibiting the sport were removed.

In some areas we now have placed guards and sprayed the sidewalk with a "No Skateboarding" sign, an action we resisted for at least three years. While we do not think every youth that skateboards/rollerblades is destructive and disrespectful, our experience has not been a good one. "Having fun" should not involve damage to property or mouthing off to people who care, which has happened here.

The establishment of a skate park may be a possibility if those interested in the sport organize and seek community support, but there also are liability and safety issues to be considered. Again, without responsible skateboarders/rollerbladers and parental supervision a few may spoil it for the group.

"The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something more basic than any technique; a change of heart."- John Welwood.

If you have interesting tid-bits about Grant County people, contact Heather at 575-0710 or e-mail

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