Scheduled centennial celebrations end with historic Westwood Cemetery walk
Aug. 26, 2013 — Local historian Tim Purdy led 35 people on a walk through the Westwood Cemetery on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 18, visiting 13 gravesites with historic significance. The tour was the last event scheduled by the Westwood Centennial Committee for 2013.
The first stop was at the gravesite of Fletcher “Cub” Walker, Jr., who was one of four sons born to Fletcher and Eveline Walker. Cub and his brother, Ken, went on expeditions to Alaska and Africa. They made a documentary movie in 1928 on their travels in Africa titled “In the Heart of Africa.” While documenting operations at the Red River Lumber Company in August of that same year their plane malfunctioned and crashed. Cub was killed and Ken survived with bumps and bruises. Cub’s grave is marked by a plaque on a tree and a headstone.
According to Purdy, no cemetery was planned when Westwood was founded because the town was designed to last only 20 years. Consequently many of Westwood’s residents were buried in Susanville. About 40 percent of the graves in Westwood are unmarked.
During the walk Linda Kennedy, Purdy’s assistant, placed a bouquet of red carnations at each grave. The last bouquet was placed on the grave of Sidney Merrell. Purdy said it is widely believed his death was the result of a fight which broke out over the Strike of 1939.
Local artist Jacquie Cordova brought newsprint and crayons for those who wanted to make rubbings of headstones of relatives and friends.
At the end of the tour Purdy answered questions about Westwood history from the group.
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