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 descendants 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.