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Cemetery Surprises BLM Officials

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By Alexa Tieu
By Benito Baeza

Oakley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) The Cave Canyon Fire burned nearly 90–thousand acres of public and private land in the South Hills last summer.

During the blaze, fire fighters discovered a piece of history that was almost lost.

Just west of Oakley you can see where the 2012 Cave Canyon Fire came very close to a cemetery that was pretty much unknown to the Bureau of Land management.

(CG:15 Suzann Henrikson, PH.D / BLM Archaeologist)
"This cemetery was a bit of a lost cemetery prior to the cave canyon fire and it is located on BLM land," says Suzanne Henrikson, BLM Archaeologist.

Suzanne Henrikson is a BLM archeologist working on identifying the early settlers buried in the tiny plot known as Warm Springs Cemetery.

She figures there are around 10 people buried here.

Henrikson explains, "But, we do not have names, we certainly don't have markers for most of them"

(CG: 41 Shauna Robinson/ BLM Site Steward)
Shauna Robinson, BLM Site Steward says, "The graves, some of them dating to the 1870's and of course associated with the Warm Creek Ranch which was here in the 1860's"

Shauna Robinson is a local historian and BLM volunteer helping with research on the cemetery. There are only two gravesites that have headstones, the rest are marked with only piles of stones.

"We think the first two graves that were placed here are of two girls that contracted diphtheria or some disease along the Oregon Trail," Robinson explains.

The two known graves belong to Fielding Langford and William Rivers, an English immigrant who was arrested by the local sheriff during a water dispute.

This is a photo of the headstone that marks Rivers' grave in 2010. It disappeared before the 2012 fire. BLM would like to get it back.

Henrickson says they will use ground penetrating radar to find out who may be in the other graves, but ultimately they'll have to rely on area families to identify who's buried here.

Residents of the Oakley area Keep Such good record of their family histories

They will collect as much information on the cemetery and give it to the Idaho State Historical Society so it is never forgotten about again.

The BLM is wanting for find out what happened to a headstone that went missing around the time of the fire.

It's marked with WM Rivers... Died Feb 2 1885.

If you know anything about the whereabouts of this headstone, please contact the BLM at 677–6663.

They would like to return it the gravesite.


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