Mount Union Cemetery
Mount Union Cemetery (File Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath has a fascinating history that dates back more than 150 years with the first settlers and establishment of Philomath College. Through the decades, many families and individuals have lived in the small community, each with their own stories.

Various historical accounts exist that detail Philomath’s past but some of the most interesting insights can be found in obituaries that appeared in various newspapers.

Philomath’s Population
1880: 224
1900: 343
1910: 505
1920: 591
1930: 694
1940: 856
1950: 1,289
1960: 1,359
1970: 1,688
1980: 2,673
1990: 2,960
2000: 4,169
2010: 4,584
2019: 4,900 (est)
Sources: U.S. Census records; Population Research Center, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University

The Philomath News plans to highlight some of the community’s past residents by republishing selected obituaries as they appeared in print. The feature will debut Dec. 2.

Those that appear in this series are buried at Philomath’s Mount Union Cemetery and will be chosen at random from a past year that corresponds with the current week. Although some of the individuals could be characterized as important in some way to the community’s development, most will be just ordinary citizens that once lived here and walked local streets, worshiped in local churches, worked for local logging operations or farmed local lands, perhaps even fished in local rivers and streams.

Several families have lived in the Philomath vicinity for many decades and may even recognize ancestors. The goal of this series is to give readers an interesting perspective on the town’s history while remembering citizens of the past.