Fort George Wright Cemetery

Fort George Wright Tour - Story 7

When Fort George Wright was constructed in the 1890s, effort was made to ensure a proper final resting place could be afforded the men who died there while serving in the military. A peaceful spot was selected away from the main base, overlooking the Spokane River. In 1900, remains from Fort Sherman and Fort Spokane were disinterred and moved to the Fort George Wright Cemetery.

Families of active duty soldiers were allowed in the cemetery, and you will notice a preponderance of infant and small child graves throughout the grounds. This is owing in large part to the high mortality rates of late 19th and early 20th century children. Advances in modern medicine would cut these rates dramatically. But they now serve as a sad reminder of a time before modern medical practice.

Veterans of all branches of the military are represented at the cemetery. The cemetery was always integrated, as indicated by the black veterans of the Spanish-American War that are interred here, such as Andrew Booker and William Morris, whose 25th Infantry fought alongside Theodore Roosevelt during the famous battles near San Juan Hill. Navy men such as Eugene Alfred Gideon are buried here. Gideon died during WWII after serving on-board the U.S.S. Denver, a light cruiser which served during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. US Army Ranger Infantryman James Francis Clopton is here interred. He fell in battle during the infamous "May Massacre" during the Korean War, during which the 23rd Infantry was hit with friendly fire followed by a massive Chinese attack.

Throughout the grounds you will notice trees marked as "Gettysburg Address Sycamores". These were planted from the seeds of the very old Sycamores that overlook the Gettysburg battlefield. These are just some of the improvements made to the grounds by Fairchild Airforce base, which still maintains the cemetery. Behind the cemetery, make sure to take in the spectacular view of the Spokane River below. The peaceful nature of the location is perfect for quite reflection and remembrance.  

Images

James Francis Clopton

James Francis Clopton

James Francis Clopton of the 2nd Infantry Division. Fell in battle on May 18th 1951 during the terrible "May Massacre" of US forces in Korea. Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Cemetery Gates<br /><br />

Cemetery Gates

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Entrance

Entrance

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

One of many child grave markers

One of many child grave markers

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Peaceful View from the Cemetary

Peaceful View from the Cemetary

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Gettysburg Sycamore

Gettysburg Sycamore

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Gravestones

Gravestones

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

J.J. Terrell of the 4th Infantry

J.J. Terrell of the 4th Infantry

One of the many graves of men of the 4th Infantry. The unit which was housed at Fort George Wright the longest. Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Andrew Booker of the 25th Infantry

Andrew Booker of the 25th Infantry

Image taken by Lee Nilsson View File Details Page

Video

The May Massacre

A video detailing the last days of one of the heroic soldiers who lies interred at Fort George Wright Cemetery.

Images Courtesy of The Library of Congress, National Archives, Northwest Room at the Spokane Public Library and Lee Nilsson. Video Footage from Archive.org. "This Is Korea" Documentary. http://archive.org/details/gov.ntis.ava18577vnb1
Created and Narrated by Lee Nilsson
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Cite this Page:

Lee Nilsson, “Fort George Wright Cemetery,” Spokane Historical, accessed June 25, 2017, http://spokanehistorical.org/items/show/176.

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