Newspaper Research Progress

Nearly hidden Pioneer Cemetery


Courtesy Google Maps

If you are north bound on Auburn Way North, a main thoroughfare in Auburn, south King County, Washington, and stop for a traffic light, you may glimpse a small cemetery to your right at 8th Street NE.  This is the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery, on land donated for that purpose in 1878. 

Grave of a Civil War veteran, M. P. Hopkins

Courtesy Kristy Lommen

"The marker commemorating the Auburn Pioneer Cemetery’s only Civil War veteran is disappointingly vague. It includes no dates, neither birth nor death. The soldier’s name is included, but in abbreviated form. And to add insult to injury, the sparse information that is displayed has been mis-transcribed and published incorrectly on several online genealogy sites. Fortunately, the stone does include the fact that Mr. Hopkins served in Company B of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry—and that single fact was enough information to discover much of his life story."1

Recently the cemetery and the marker for Madison P. Hopkins came to our attention when his great-grandson, Ron Sailer, joined one of our virtual meetings.  He gave us a brief synopsis of Madison and the fact that he had been murdered here in Slaughter, the early name for Auburn.  There is an extensive biography of Madison's family and military life at .

Story of a Murder Victim

In about 2008, the biographer, Kristy Lommen, showed extensive research especially into Madison's death November 29, 1883 when he was murdered.  She told us of the difficulties in finding newspaper articles for that time period.  She finally found, at the Tacoma Library, microfilm of The Washington Standard, a newspaper from Olympia.

Shortly after posting her biography on the cemetery website, Kristy made contact with Ron Sailer who shared his collection of clippings from the Bellingham Herald and Seattle Chronicle.  The clippings had been meticulously saved by Martha Rogers Hopkins, Madison's widow, and their descendants.  It gave all the details as listed in the newspapers of the day and the story makes for very interesting reading.

Seattle Daily Post Intelligencer, December 1, 1883

It's now 12 or 13 years later and much more information is available online.  

Newspapers can be a gold mine

Searching at   brought up several stories in the Seattle Daily Post Intelligencer beginning December 1, 1883.  Many of the articles are too long to include here.

This shows the progress being made in online newspaper research.  Keep checking back for new details on that story you've been researching.

Thank you to Kristy Lommen and Ron Sailer for bringing this story to our attention and giving permission to use it on our site.


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