The grave marker for Wilbur F. Eddy, who died in the spring of 1871, at age 38. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Published as it appeared on April 5, 1871, in the Oregon Weekly Statesman (Salem), Page 3, Column 5.

On Wednesday last, Wilbur Eddy died suddenly, at his father’s in Newton settlement. He lay down feeling ill, and died in half an hour. Aged about 30. He had been in poor health some time.

Editor’s additional notes:

Not much can be found on the death of Mr. Eddy, who is one of the early burials at Mount Union Cemetery, but through historical records, more on his life comes into view. 

A clipping from an unidentified newspaper uploaded to a family history that’s publicly available reported that the “Corvallis Gazette states that a man named Wilbur Eddy, three miles from that place, died suddenly on returning from a ride.” The reference to his age in the Weekly Statesman item, seen above, appears to be wrong. Mount Union Cemetery records show his age as 38 years, 17 days.

According to the 1870 census, Wilbur F. Eddy worked as a farmer and lived alone on property in Benton County worth $1,000 (his personal belongings estimated at $400). The document shows that he was born in Vermont.

It appears that he came to Oregon in the early 1860s. Going back to the 1850 census, he is found in Erie County, New York, working as a farmer in the household of his parents, Ezekiel and Lucy Eddy. The census form that year didn’t list family relationships but it appears he had several siblings.

A land office record places Wilbur in 1858 with land in western Iowa. In the 1860 census, he is shown living in Cass County, Nebraska, working as a farmer with a wife named Hester and children Matthew, 4, and Ezekiel, 2 — those sons born in Nebraska. According to a family history published online, a third son, William, was born in 1864 in Oregon, which narrows down his relocation. A guardian’s sale published in the Corvallis Gazette in 1876 lists those three sons with information about the pending sale of Wilbur F. Eddy’s “Homestead No. 459.”

Wilbur’s mother, Lucy, died in 1878 in Corvallis and his father, Ezekiel, died in 1890 in Little Elk, Oregon. Wilbur’s uncle, Israel F. Eddy, was the postmaster at Little Elk and the town around 1900 was renamed Eddyville.