Anna Marie Swanson

One online transcript of the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery estimates that 15 unknown graves exist there. The actual number could be quite higher. Although we know that the Faucett family used the ground as their family plot as early as the 1866, there are claims that burials happened sporadically even before that date (and could possibly have been a factor in the Faucetts choosing this piece of acreage as a burial plot). Furthermore, many early burials were marked by perishable wooden markers, if marked at all, at a time when official written transcripts simply weren't kept. A final complication was that, prior to the construction of dams upstream on the Green and White Rivers, the area was prone to annual flooding—and all the terrible consequences that such flooding implies for cemeteries. As a result, many families had their loved ones' remains disinterred and carried uphill to nearby Mountain View Cemetery when it opened in 1890. As a result of these complicating factors, it's difficult to determine exactly how many people are actually buried in the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery.

Anna Marie Swanson is a name that does not appear in any of the existing rosters of the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery, nor is there any marker in the cemetery bearing her name. We simply stumbled across her obituary in the course of doing newspaper research on Charley Anderson, who reportedly died on November 3, 1906. Not finding any mention of him in the 1906 editions of the Auburn Argus, we expanded our search into the following year, and Anna Marie's entry jumped off the page. According to her entry, she was buried in the "Old Cemetery" (as Auburn Pioneer was consistently referred to in those days). She could still be buried in Auburn's Pioneer Cemetery in one of the unmarked, "unknown" graves.

Although her obituary lists her parents' names, Anna Marie's family does not seem to be listed in any of the usual public records. Coincidently, her next-of-kin is listed as her sister, Mrs. Chas. Anderson—so perhaps there is a relation to the Charley Anderson who was buried in the cemetery in 1906 after all. If so, the unfortunate Mrs. Anderson lost her husband, mother, and sister in the course of two years.

From the Auburn Argus of June 15, 1907:

Died, on Saturday June 8, at Christopher, Anna Marie Swanson. She was the beloved sister of Mrs. Chas. Anderson, and her other family connections were large.

"Marie" was born in Sweden, Oct. 1, 1857, the child of Swen and Johanna Neilson, the latter now deceased. About 2 years ago the mother and family came here to reside, Mrs. Anderson and Marie with them. Some little time ago she was stricken with partial paralysis, but seemed to be improving, was able to leave her room—and her decease, as it came, was certainly sudden and unexpected. Funeral took place Monday at the "Old Cemetery," in Auburn, and was largely attended.

Marie was a beautiful Christian character in life, patient in all suffering and with a firm faith in God's love for humanity and herself, and she died with a safe assurance of a heavenly home. She was greatly respected here by everyone. The funeral was held at the home of Mrs. Anderson, Rev. Olinger officiating, and the pastor drew a fine reminder of human duties from her example.

Messers Brooks and Anders and their wives rendered several fine vocal selections during the final services. Genuine sympathy in this whole community is with the relatives, they may be sure.

"She is not dead, but sleepeth, saith the Lord."

Christopher, June 13.

Note: Mr. & Mrs. Brooks referred to above would be Mr. & Mrs. William Walker Brooks; she was a music teacher in Auburn during this time. The Brooks are also buried in the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery. Emily Anders was Mrs. Brooks' sister. The Anders family later relocated to Vancouver, B.C.

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