The Newland/Pioneer Cemetery

Location

The Cemetery is located just west of Dayton along Highway 12 and is the resting place of the Boldman Family (including Gladys), Jesse N. Day, the founder of Dayton, and many other early pioneer settlers.

 

In 2010, the Dayton Historical Depot Society became the recipient of a monetary gift that was part of the Gladys M. Boldman Estate for maintenance of the Newland/Pioneer Cemetery.

 

In 2017, the Depot Society successfully nominated the Cemetery to the Washington State Register of Historic Places.  We are honored to assist in the preservation of this important element of Dayton’s history.

 

For more details about the Cemetery, please select a title below.

History

The Newland/Pioneer Cemetery was created in 1863 when J.H. Newland donated five acres of his homestead to the community of Dayton.  Located on a hill west of town, this cemetery was the first developed east of Fort Walla Walla in Washington Territory.

The location of the graveyard on a wind blown hill just outside of town was typical of western cemeteries.  Because of health concerns, the community removed it from the populated areas and placed it on well-drained ground.  Newland/Pioneer Cemetery became the burial ground for the community’s prominent citizens, including Dayton’s founder, Jesse N. Day, and the Boldman family.

By the middle of the 20th century, the cemetery was run-down and not well-maintained by the city.  In 1954, the nonprofit Pioneer Cemetery Association of Columbia County took possession of the graveyard.  In the 1990s, Gladys Boldman secured in perpetuity an easement to the burial ground from Highway 12.  She had her family’s burial stones cleaned and polished, and other ancestors of the pioneers buried on this ground did the same.  In 1999, when Gladys died she was interred in the Boldman family plot.

At this time, the Gladys Boldman Estate bequeathed $100,000 to the Pioneer Cemetery Association of Columbia County to maintain and manage Newland Cemetery.  In 2010, those funds were released to the Dayton Historical Depot Society for the continued maintenance of the burial ground.

Maintenance

As is typical of early cemeteries throughout the West, the ground of the Newland/Pioneer Cemetery has been left in native grasses that require some upkeep.  The Dayton Historical Depot Society works closely with Dayton’s American Legion to maintain the burial ground.  The American Legion meticulously cares for the ground, mowing, trimming, and spraying for weeds.  This work is financed by the funds left by Gladys Boldman.  The partnership between the Historical Society and the American Legion has resulted in a beautiful old cemetery and a solid relationship between the two nonprofits.