Virgil Earp (1843-1905)

Virgil W. Earp headstone.  River View Cemetery.  Portland, OR.  Photo: KGilb.

Virgil W. Earp headstone. River View Cemetery. Portland, OR. Photo: KGilb.

River View is a heavily wooded cemetery situated on a hillside overlooking the Willamette River in Portland, OR. Established in 1882, it is the final resting place for many of the region’s original movers and shakers: Henry Weinhard (owner of the Weinhard Brewery), Simon Benson (timber baron), Henry Lewis Pittock (prominent newspaper editor), George Abernethy (provisional governor), and many others.

But who is the most asked about person buried at River View Cemetery? Virgil W. Earp, legendary lawman of the “Old West” and Tombstone City Marshall at the time of the now famous Gunfight at the OK Corral.

Virgil Earp had a long and storied career as a peace officer. At the time of his death, he was still working in law enforcement. (deputy sheriff, Esmeralda County, NV) He died of pneumonia on October 19, 1905, at the age of 62.

Earp had only one child, a daughter by the name of Nellie Jane Bohn. When notified of his passing, she asked that his remains be transported north to Portland, OR, where he was finally laid to rest in Section 15 of River View Cemetery.

His headstone is a gray granite marker set low to the ground. A variegated English holly tree stands nearby. The inscription reads simply, “In loving memory of my husband, Virgil W. Earp 1843-1905. God will take care of me.”

River View Cemetery is located at 0300 SW Taylors Ferry Road in Portland, OR. For a map and detailed directions on how to get there, please check the RVC website.

The cemetery grounds are open daily from 8am to dusk. The office is open 8am to 5pm on weekdays, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. Staff members are very friendly and more than happy to tell you how to find the gravesite.

**Special Note: For the remarkable story of “How the Civil War Brought Wyatt Earp’s Brother to Portland, OR”, please check the Oregon Magazine website.

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