Mary Elizabeth Homsley was born near Lexington, Kentucky, July 20, 1824. She move with her parents, Jacob and Sarah Oden, to Truxton, Missouri, where she was married to Benjamin Franklin Homsley in 1841. In April 1852, accompanied by Mary's parents and ten brothers and sisters, some with families of their own, they took the trail to Oregon. Mary and Benjamin went with their two daughters, Lura and Sarah Ellen, but left behind in Missouri were the graves of their two oldest children, twins, who had been poisoned by an embittered slave.
The Homsley company traveled to Council Bluff. Somewhere in Nebraska Mary gave birth to their fifth child. Before arriving at Fort Laramie Mary and the baby boy were stricken with measles, and the company elected to cross at the fort, perhaps in search of medical aid. The crossing was a disaster. The wagon carrying Mary overturned and she and the baby were thrown into the river. Both were rescued, but Mary's condition worsened that night and on the following day, June 10, she died. She was wrapped in a featherbed and buried here. The baby survived for several weeks, but he, too, passed away when the company was near present Boise, Idaho.
The company went on to Oregon, where Benjamin took a donation land claim on Elliott Prairie, Clackamas County. He raised his two surviving children alone and
never remarried. He died in 1908 and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Clackamas County.
Mary Homsley's grave was rediscovered in 1925 by passing cowboys. The headstone was enclosed in the present monument the following year. Contacted in Oregon, Lura Homsley Gibson could still vividly recall her mother's death and standing at a lonely grave saying a final good-bye, nearly seventy-five years before.