Vancouver Old City Cemetery


This is the third effort to update the information about individuals buried at the Vancouver Old City Cemetery, also named Old City Cemetery. The first was done by Mildred Porter in 1981, the second by Gerry Gilman in 1996. Due to the amount of new information available, the records have been updated, modified and corrected to the best of our ability. The Mildred Porter inventory is available in printed copy which is available at CCGS. The Gilman inventory is available on the RootsWeb web site. There are photos of cemetery markers on the RootsWeb web site.

The cemetery was walked again and we identified missing, misplaced, and damaged headstones. We encourage anyone to contact the Clark County Genealogical Society so that we may update our current information. Please bring documentation of the requested changes.

The Old City Cemetery is one of three cemeteries managed by the City of Vancouver. The others are Park Hill Cemetery and Fisher’s Cemetery. There are a number of people that that have been moved from Old City Cemetery to Park Hill Cemetery and this is noted in this inventory under the cemetery column on the spreadsheet.

How to Use This Inventory

There are four sections in the cemetery and this inventory is done by section. An alphabetized index of all the names is provided with section and plot number to aid in your research. For example, NW-54, which means the northwest section, plot number 54. Where there are multiple members of a family under the same surname we have tried to keep those family members together in the report. Therefore the surnames are alphabetical but the first names are not.

Sources of Information Used in This Report

Census records, newspapers obituaries and other articles, death certificates, funeral home records, family genealogies, information from Ancestry and Family Search, other genealogical resources were utilized to create this inventory. CCGS has additional records of Clark County Pioneers that were utilized. Other researchers were generous with their time in assisting us in the development of this inventory. A special thanks to Joy Kersteter for her efforts in unraveling some difficult records. And a special thanks to Bob McKechnie, retired cemetery manager for the City of Vancouver, for allowing us access to his records.

Submitted by: Richard Engstrom and Kathy Geyer, CCGS Volunteers

History of Cemetery

The cemetery was opened in 1867 when the city purchased ten acres from John Maney. Individuals were transferred from the Ft Vancouver Post Cemetery. A more extensive history of the cemetery is available on the RootsWeb website. Family plots are still being used today, but no plots are being sold.

Potters Field

As a publicly-owned cemetery, the Potters Field was used as a place to bury people whose families did not have the economic resources to pay for the burial. It is also a place where individuals with no family could be buried. There are a number of unknown burials. This part of the NE section is a mix of individuals, known and unknown burials. There are probably individuals who we have no records for, therefore don’t know who they are or where they are buried.

We think there are individuals in the Potters Field that were moved from Ft Vancouver Military Cemetery who were civilians when the city opened Old City Cemetery.

In reviewing previous inventories, our research was able to correct the information when we were able to find the correct grave site. Originally these people were thought to be in the Potter Field but actually were not. Several represented duplication of records.

Why We Included Additional Information

We expanded on information beyond what normal cemetery inventories would include, for example, military records, closest family, occupations, other association and miscellaneous facts. This was to aid those who are looking for more about their family members.