Cemeteries are more than a place of rest; they are physical records of the history of their communities. Nestled on a green hillside above the Tucannon River, the Starbuck Cemetery tells the story of the rise and fall of this small farming community.
In 1897, James G. Woodend gave land to Starbuck in the Woodend Addition for a cemetery. The only person buried in the Starbuck Cemetery before the land was given by Woodend was two-year-old Arthur R. Hukill. Arthur is one of the 13 children buried in Starbuck who died during the town’s infancy. A majority of deaths occurred predominantly between 1900-1920 and 1980-2000.
Many of the headstones from the early 20th century are elegant and even ornate, showing that this was the peak of the town’s prosperity. For example, Mary A. Wood’s gravestone was crafted during the early 1900s when the town was booming with people and business from the railroads. Wood’s gravestone illustrates the pearly gates leading to a heavenly mansion with the engraved scripture, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Her headstone is one of several that represent the turn-of-the-century prosperous Starbuck.
In 1969, the cemetery was renovated by a youth group in Starbuck. They cleaned weeds and debris and picked up headstones that had fallen over. The group also piped water to the cemetery to water the grass and the fences around it were repaired. Esther Stoddard Butler, who has a grave in this cemetery today, donated money for the renovation.
One of the most prominent families in Starbuck is represented by Zachery Z. Zink IV, who also happens to be the newest grave in the Starbuck Cemetery. He lived only twenty years, and his parents buried him in the year 2000 with an engraving on his headstone that says, “In Loving Memory of our Son.” The Zink family has been living in Starbuck since its first decades. The Zinks owned their own store, which stayed open through the years when most didn’t and is still standing today. Zachery Zink I, II, and III all served as mayors of Starbuck. The Zinks were also one of the first three families to own a car, more specifically, a Model-T, in Starbuck.
Despite the cemetery records being destroyed in a fire sometime prior to 1982, there are still many stories one can learn from the graves in the Starbuck Cemetery.