Quests are learning opportunities using clues and hints to help participants discover something new about their natural, cultural, and historical surroundings.  Individuals and groups of all ages can participate in these self-guided adventures.  

      The Mount Union Quest invites you to explore the cemetery and some early history of Benton County and then confront the mystery which still remains about the cemetery's founder.  

      This is one of over two dozen Quests available through the Oregon Sea Grant. It is jointly sponsored by Oregon Sea Grant and the Mount Union Cemetery Association.


Established:  Spring 2018 by Ginny and Kyah Weeber

Box Monitor:   Ann Bateman, Mount Union Cemetery Association

This Quest covers relatively level terrain on grassy and gravel surfaces, and it will take about 30 minutes to
complete. Follow the directions and find the letter clues to fill the numbered squares at the end.
Mount Union Cemetery was established in 1861 on two acres on the southeastern slope of Neabeack Hill on the line between Philomath and Corvallis. The land was donated by Reuben Shipley, a former slave who earned his freedom by driving the oxen of his owner from Missouri to Oregon in 1853. Shipley’s
donated the land to provide a place where persons could be buried regardless of race. The cemetery is a non-profit organization managed by the volunteer board of directors of The Mount Union Cemetery Association.

Driving Directions:
From the East – take Hwy. 20/34 through Corvallis. Turn South on 53rd Street, then West on Plymouth Road. When Plymouth Rd. ends at a stop sign, turn North onto Mt. Union Ave. Proceed North on Mt.Union Ave. about one block and the cemetery is on the right.
From the West – in Philomath, turn South on 19th St. and proceed to end, then turn East (left) on Chapel Drive. When Chapel ends, turn North on Bellfountain Road which becomes Mt. Union Ave. after passing straight ahead through the stop sign. The cemetery is on the right.
Park along Mt. Union Avenue beside the hedges.
Cemetery Rules:
The cemetery grounds are open to the public during daylight hours. The speed limit within the cemetery is 5 miles per hour. Driving over or between headstones is forbidden. Leashed dogs (leash in hand) are permitted on the road only, and pet owners must pick up feces deposited by pets. No liquor is permitted on the cemetery property.


Begin your Quest at the intersection of Mt. Union Avenue and Benton View Drive.

As you begin, look for a sign.

It's a diamond shaped yellow - a letter you'll find.

The second letter of word number two

Goes in Square #3, (below) the first clue for you.  

Go up the hill, continue on straight.
Hurry up and don’t be late.
Look at the sign, this isn’t a trick,
The last letter of the month goes in box #6 (below).

Walk down the path, stay straight and go forth
When you get to the cross in the path, face north.
At two o’clock a tall marker stands.
Take a few steps forward, then face Mr. Wyatt, a very nice man.
Stay on the path and look down just past your feet.
One daughter’s name on a stone is worn and discreet.
She’s to the right of “Willie”, who was his son.
The fifth letter of her name goes in box #1 (below).

Leave the Wyatts to rest in peace.
Head South on the path – your clues will increase.
As you head in this direction,
Just past the intersection,

On the right hand side start counting the markers of graves;
The man that you look for was very brave.
It should be about the 22nd grave.
[Just south of the Keezels]
Put the first letter of his first name in box #2.
Then set off to another clue.

Continue South then turn to the West.
Stop at the big tree, it’s time for a rest.
Look at the view, it’s really quite pretty,
A place to relax, not far from the city.

A tall tree stump, by the west hedge row, marks your next clue.
Fred was born on September two.
The second to last letter of his last name – you don’t need more
Put this letter in box #4.

Go to the Big Flag, which I don’t think you’ll miss.
Look south and count -- the third grave is his.
“Grand Joe” has a last name; it starts with an ____,
For box #7, this letter fits best.

Did You Know:
A “surname” is another word for someone’s LAST

Question for the Curious: Under what surname is
the founder of Mt. Union Cemetery and his family
The answer is in the Quest Box at the end of  your journey!

Go back to the path, turn right and have fun

Your Quest for today is almost done.

Look for a big rock - a story it yields

Of who owned the land on this hill and those fields.

The Shipley Family is at rest in plot ten,

But it's hard to find them, since way beck then

they were buried under a different surname.

To find out what it was, let's continue our game.  

Your very last clue is almost at hand.
This generous man donated his land.
Put the first letter of his name in box #5
I bet he’d be honored if he were alive.

You’ve uncovered the secret of the cemetery’s mystery
Where black men and slaves have surely made ____________.

To find the box, your thirst to quench
You’ll need to find a sitting bench
It’s next to a garden to the North and the East
Overlooking people who rest in peace
When you take a path there, you’ll pass buildings and rocks
Sit on the bench. Look to your left ‘neath the loose cinder block!


Sign the log book and stamp your page to mark your accomplishment, and then put everything back in the box and return it to its hiding spot for the next person to find.


Visit Oregon Coast Quests for more than two dozen clue-directed hunts, click here: