John's River Cemetery - Kris L Cox

Now that Fall is officially underway I figured it was a good time to repost one of my favorite local hikes that I always have on my autumn hike list. John's River cemetery mixes a couple of my favorite things history and an abandoned place. I'm sure most people drive right on by without ever knowing it's there as today Markham is seen as that place where the Ocean Spray plant is. 

In the not too distant past, Markham was a small town with no connecting road and a couple of Cedar shingle mills that were fed by the local logging camps that were nearby. The cemetery itself is believed to have started as the Fry Family cemetery and later evolved into the town cemetery. With no roads leading to the graveyard, burials took place at the time of high and low tide. Funeral possessions would float up the river with high tide and back home again as the tide was going out.

The hike back is on a mostly gravel road with enough hills to make it a workout. It's roughly a 3-mile round trip from the parking area to the cemetery and back. There is hunting allowed in the area so it pays to keep an eye out as wildlife is pretty abundant including bears. While I have never seen one in person I have come across plenty of bear scat. There is no real sign marking the cemetery itself and you cannot see it from the main trail. There is a marker (pictured above) that points to honestly a pretty creepy looking side trail that takes you to the cemetery. 

While there were no known records kept of the burials it's thought there could be roughly 50 or so graves on the hillside. today most of the grave markers are gone with only about 20 markers that have survived and even a few of those are hard to spot due to being overgrown.