top of page


Adams Cemetery was established as a cemetery in 1865. 


Jacob (1809-1896) and his wife, Sarah Robbins (1812-1865) and their nine children traveled the Oregon Trail           in 1852.  They left Indiana in March and arrived at the Barlow House in late November.  It was a long, arduous journey.  Two of their youngest children, Theodore age 8, and Aaron age 5, died during the journey.

One child died at a camp at the mouth of the Sandy River and the other at the Barlow House.

The children were buried at the place where they had died.


On Christmas Eve, 1865, Sarah Robbins suddenly died of heart failure.  Mr. Reese, one of the neighbors, gave a plot of land for a burying place.  It was a beautiful resting place, on a hill, overlooking the Molalla River. Sarah Robbins grave was the first placed there.  Sometime later, Jacob Robbins “had his two little sons, Theodore and Aaron, brought and laid to rest beside their mother".  If you would like to pay your respects, you can locate their graves by turning right through the front gate, past a grove of trees, near the center of the cemetery.

In 1870 WD and Lucinda Adams purchased land, where the burial of the Robbins family had taken place.         

This swath of land would grow and also be known as Adams Cemetery.

Cemetery Background Research Provided By Betty Dicken Guild & Melissa Alberda (Betty's Granddaughter)




The Adams Cemetery in Molalla, Oregon has been a touchstone for generations in our family. 

We both grew up knowing that our ancestors, WD and Lucina Adams, donated the land that became Adams Cemetery.  However, we found ourselves without any proof.  We went hunting.

     Betty’s collection of memorabilia provided us with our initial clues. The Genealogical Forum of Oregon was helpful for identifying the original land claims.  We found that the BLM website contains invaluable surveys and patents.  We made trips to the Clackamas County Recording Office to track down the deeds.


     Many of the clues that would inform our next steps came through the University of Oregon’s collection of newspapers.  While they do not have the Molalla Pioneer Newspaper available online, they sent microfilm to our library.  Our library also obtained Sanborn Fire Maps on microfilm from Portland State University. We kept the Molalla Area Historical Society in the loop as our research project progressed.  When they received some amazing digital images of early minutes from what would become the Adams Cemetery Association, they contacted us because they knew of our interest. 

     We learned that WD and Lucina purchased a large swath of land in 1870 and that the portion that would become the cemetery was already the resting place for three souls.  They, too, are our ancestors. 

     The Adams family informally allowed burials for fifteen years.  In 1885, they formally conveyed land for the purposes of burials.  In 1897, the bylaws were written for what would become the Adams Cemetery Association. They priced plots between $2 and $5 and all monies, gifts and donations would be used for the benefit of the cemetery.  As the town’s need grew, the Adams family set aside more land in 1909 and 1921. The cemetery has continued to grow in the over 150 years since the first burial, and at each step, it has been the community of Molalla that has lovingly protected the land.

     For Betty, the most interesting discovery we made was that WD Adams was Molalla’s first undertaker.  We found a notation in her father’s journal, which led us to a lot of public evidence to support the discovery.  For Melissa, the most fascinating discovery was that she and her grandma go about solving a mystery much the same way.  The gap in our generations may have provided different tools in our kits, but we made an excellent team.  We will both hold onto the experience as much as the knowledge we learned.  If anyone is thinking about tackling a family mystery, we certainly recommend teaming up with a member of the family.  It makes it a lot more fun!

William D (WD) & Lucina Adams

Adams Cemetery History Timeline

  • 1857 

    • Oldest markers in the cemetery are the Robbins boys

  • 1865   ​

    • ​Established as a cemetery burial ground

    • ​Burial of Mrs. Robbins

  • 1897 

    • Earliest written records July 4, 1897

  • 1898

    • A $0.50 clean up assessment fee for each lot started, unsure when that fee was discontinued.

  • 1920

    • $2 per grave prior to 1920

    • Grave prices increase to $5 

    • Lloyd and Edna Shaver donated 1 acre to the cemetery

  • 1938

    • On Aug 10, 1938, Alfred Shaver was appointed as a board member

    • Adams Cemetery turns over donated land from WD & Lucinda Adams, Lloyd and Edna Shaver, and Alfred and Minnie Shaver to Alfred Shaver who then (as a whole) gave it back to the Adams Cemetery Association.

  • 1940

    • ​Grave prices were increased to $10 

    • A well was dug at the south end of the property at a cost of $170

      • Depth of well was 95 feet

      • Carl W. was to test well

    • Checked with City about getting water from the City

  • 1955

    • Grave prices were increased to $20

  • 1960

    • Henry Kyllo and Albert Thronson both become directors of Adams Cemetery.

  • 1962

    • Adams Cemetery Association became Adams Cemetery Association Inc.

  • 1963

    • Grave prices were increase to $30

  • 1964

    • Elton Everhart became director of Adams Cemetery

    • On the 3rd Saturday in May, if was voted that a no curbing rule went into effect

    • Rule that no trees, shrubs or sod were to be removed went into effect 

  • 1965

    • Well records are located regarding the drilling in 1943

  • 1966

    • The well was tested at a cost of $100

      • The well was crooked 

      • The well produced less than a gallon a minute

      • Advised to abandon well

  • 1968

    • 2nd Addition West was started.

    • Old markers broke off, laid flat in cement at a cost of $5

  • 1970

    • Ken Engle was the director of Adams Cemetery

    • Dickey P. Dam was discussed

    • Dick Robbins Checked on water for possible development

  • 1973

    • Grave prices were increased to $60

  • 1974

    • Dorthey Del Ridings resigns as secretary/treasurer after 20 years

    • Francis Russell Buche replaced Dorthey

  • 1975

    • Roger Thronson replaced Al Thronson as director

      • Rules on fences, shrubs, trees, etc. printed and distributed

  • 1978 - May

    • Adams Cemetery Memorial Fund was established 

    • Interest on funds to be used for the betterment and upkeep of the cemetery.

  • 1978 – Nov.

    • Chester Thronson replaced Roger Thronson as directed (Roger passed on 10/5/1978) as director.

    • Adams Memorial fund was formed (Controlled by the Association)

    • Memorial fund controlled by Mildred Harless, Nel Adams and Ellen Thornson.

  • 1980

    • Francis Russell Buche resigned

    • Elton Everhart appointed to replace Francis Buche

  • 1982

    • Grave prices were increased to $100

  • 1983

    • 3rd Addition opened

  • 1984

    • Dennis Kyllo replaced Henry Kyllo as director

    • Sue Dickey Replaced Nel Adams on the Cemetery Memorial Fund

    • Investigate water and light system (July)

    • Dennis reported on approximately cost of $8000.   He instructed to proceed on product and also ok on entrance gate.

  • 1985 

    • Water system and gate installed

    • Hugh Cutting donated $5000 to use for the water system

    • City dump property deeded to the Association

  • 1985 – Nov.

    • Elton Everhart passed on Nov. 12th 

  • 1985 – Dec.

    • “Mike” Jon Everhart replaced Elton

    • Robert Woodman appointed Secretary/Treasurer

  • 1986 

    • Rules & Regulations were adopted

    • Hugh Cutting donated $5000 to use towards the fence project

    • Art and Maude donated the balance of $6200 to complete the fence project.

    • Dennis wood given contract for mowing the cemetery

    • Pat Everhart made donation to the Memorial Fund in Elton’s name

    • David DeFrates replaced Ken Engles

    • Rock wall around rhododendrons was put in by Jimmy Clifford

  • 1988

    • Narrow graves to sell for $60

    • Checked on 5 acres from Orville Cline

..... More to come.

bottom of page