On August 17, Ted, Valorie and I visited the grave site of Henry C. Allen, a Civil War soldier who died along the banks of the White River. The site is about one mile from our cabin, just 50 yards up from the banks of the river. The trail is not marked from the main highway (410), but there is a wide turn out across the road from the trail leading to the site.
The forest service has erected this trail marker at the site of the grave and this article, by James Campbell, is posted just above the grave on a large, aged tree. The article explains the history of Allen and how he came to be buried at this place.
In the article, there is a picture of Allen and the grave stone, with the following caption:
Henry C. Allen, a Buckley pioneer late in the 19th Century, was buried at this spot in what is now Snoqualmie National Forest by friends who found him sitting here in the winter of 1896. Uncounted visitors to the area have paused at the grave in the intervening decades, and White River Ranger District officials plan to install a sign which will provide information about Allen. -- C-H Photo
The text of the article is reproduced as follows:
Ranger traces story behind old grave at Silver Creek
by James Campbell
About 35 miles east of Enumclaw, nestled in a stand of cedar on the rocky soil leading down to White River's chattery juncture with Silver creek, a solitary and stone-bordered grave often draws abrupt attention from casual visitors to the area.
Decorated with artificial flowers and unperturbed by encroaching underbrush, a weathered headstone proclaims: Henry C. Allen, 16 Wis. Inf. 1848-1896. For more than 70 years, passersby have paused briefly to reflect on the monument's who, how and why. In 1969, Nevin McCullough decided to find out.
McCullough, a retired Forest Service ranger and perennial lover and historian of the White River wilderness, soon learned that a relative of Allen was still living in the area. Granddaughter Mrs. Blanche Conway Smith consented to an interview, and at the home of Chris Slott, she told McCullough the story of her grandfather's death, as related to her by her mother, Jenny Allen Conway.
Mrs. Smith said that 15-year-old Henry Allen ran away from home to fight with the 16th Wisconsin during the Civil War. He was wounded and eventually returned home, where he married and had three children. After his wife died, Allen headed west and eventually settled in Buckley, sending for his three teenage daughters after he made a home. "Grandfather was of the habit of hunting and fishing many months out of the year," said Mrs. Smith. "He also did some surveying and locating homestead and timber claims. This particular time he was due to return home on a certain date. When he did not arrive on schedule, my mother had a dream that he was dead. She awoke my father and said she knew something had happened to her dad."
The following day Conway and a friend set out to find Allen. Arriving at his cabin three days later, they found no trace of him, and decided to search along his trap line.
"They found him sitting against a tree just as natural as could be. He had spit tobacco juice and the stain was still on the snow. They couldn't determine if he froze to death or died of heart trouble. It was impossible to bring his body out. They had to build a fire to thaw out his body to straighten it out."
The two men made a shovel of cedar and buried Allen in a shallow grave. They made the shovel into a cross to mark the spot, and intended to remove the body to Buckley the following spring.
"When that time came his daughters decided their father was resting in the hills he loved. He had always told them how beautiful this country was and how much he loved being in the hills," said Mrs. Smith.
A headstone was eventually erected at the site, and the White River Ranger District plans to install a permanent metal sign there to provide visitors with a brief description of Allen.
Many trips to his grave have been made by the family. One greatgrandson bears his name.
Mrs. J.J. "Jenny" Allen Conway's children were:
Alice Isabel Slott
Blanche M. Smith
Eileen J. Jullen
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