With a week of fall storms looming on the horizon I decided to take advantage of what could be the last sunny and warm day for quite awhile. The Johns River Cemetery is a place that I've been wanting to check out for some time now. Located in Markham, WA which is roughly seven miles from my home and then it is another 2-mile hike from the trail-head to reach the site itself. Today Markham is the home of an Ocean Spray plant and not much else. Even searching Google didn't reveal too much about the early history of the area.
From what little info I could find there never really was a townsite in Markham, it was more just a collection of a few settlers and a couple lumber mills. The cemetery sits up on a hillside overlooking the Johns River. While it is commonly referred to as the Johns River cemetery there are also references to it being the Fry Family cemetery and there are indeed a number of the Fry family buried there.
It is said that burials could only take place with the tide as bodies were floated downriver at high tide with the funeral party having to wait for the outgoing tide in order to return home. The current state of the cemetery is not great as it is overgrown and only a few of the headstones remain. There is evidence that someone makes regular trips out to care for those grave markers. At least a dozen burials no longer have markers so keep that in mind while exploring and be respectful of the whole area. There is also supposed to be a memorial there commemorating locals who died during a flu epidemic in October 1918. I was not able to find it in the overgrowth and with it being done 99 years ago it's most likely been lost long ago.
Even if you are not interested in the cemetery the trail back is rather enjoyable all on its own. It's mostly rock but some areas the grass has overtaken it. You will have the chance to see plenty of wildlife from deer, elk, eagles and maybe a bear. I'll be honest I didn't even think about bears till I came across bear scat on the trail so just be cautious.
I'm including a couple images directly below in order to give you an idea of what to look for in order to find the cemetery as it's not all that obvious as the marker can be covered up by brush.
As I said earlier I wasn't able to locate very much history on the area or the folks buried there so if any of you know where I can find more I'd love to hear from you. Below you see a few more images from the trail back. Even if you don't want to make the walk to see the cemetery it's a beautiful nature walk.