Sunday, February 28, 2010

Active Cemeteries in Lucas County (25)

Select your cemetery from the cemetery archive list to the right.

Arnold Cemetery and Bethel Cemetery

Arnold Cemetery
Liberty Township #6
57645     170th Ave.
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Bethel Cemetery
Cedar Township #9
49913    309th Ave.
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Brinegar Cemetery and Brownlee Cemetery

 Brinegar Cemetery
Ottercreek Township #27
53952      139th Trail
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Brownlee Cemetery

Brownlee Cemetery
English Township #21
24753    540th St.

Frank Myers article about Brownlee Cemetery, click here:  Brownlee Cemetery Revisited
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Calvery Cemetery and Chariton Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery

Calvery Cemetery
Lincoln Township #20
118 Ilion Ave.    245th Trail
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Chariton Cemetery


Chariton Cemetery
Lincoln Township #30
929 South Main St.
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Rise and Fall of the Stanton Vault

Written by Frank Myers
Appeared in the Lucas County Notes and Shakin' the Family Tree
Volume 11 Issue 3  July-September 2006
HOW ARE THE MIGHTY FALLEN:
RISE AND FALL OF THE STANTON VAULT

    I’m not going to preach, so don’t worry when I begin with a lesson from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Chapter 6, Vs. 19 and 20 (and that because I deplore all change this will be from the King James version):
    “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”
    And an Old Testament lesson from the Book of 2nd Samuel, Chapter 1, Verses 17-19:
    “And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!”
    I’ve taken these texts out of context and twisted them for my own purpose, but then who hasn’t?  Both seem relevant when you think about the rise and fall of the Stanton Vault, once a preferred address in the Chariton Cemetery and now a place where 16 of its former residents, some of them rather grand, rest in a heap.
    There has always been an impulse to put loved ones or ourselves to rest somewhere other than the traditional six feet under, and given enough money these impulses have been carried through---sometimes with spectacular but often with transitory results.
    If you think the impulse is dead, go to the Promise City Cemetery and view David Eckles’ new mausoleum.  Or to the Centerville cemetery, where I noticed the last time I was there a new tall and skinny three-holer near the main west gate.  Both, like their mighty predecessors, are likely to stand for a while, and then fall over.
    The two primary reasons for above-ground interment are fairly obvious.  The first is aversion to the thought of burying a loved one (or one’s self); the second is the impulse to show off.  If a grand house demonstrated status in life, surely an impressive mausoleum will convey that status into eternity.
    As a rule, these grand monuments are bad ideas.  They deteriorate, fall apart and eventually someone has to deal with a messy and expensive problem.  The family may have died out, moved along or no longer be affluent or interested enough to deal with the problem, which leaves those in charge of the cemetery in charge of the situation.
    Lucas Countyans have never been that enthusiastic about spending money, so as far as I know we’ve never had more than three mausoleums, all in the Chariton cemetery.  The Copeland mausoleum still is well-maintained by its family; Lockwood heirs convinced the cemetery board to undertake repairs to their plain little vault years ago by deeding unused cemetery real estate to the city; and the former Stanton Vault is a good example of worst-case scenario.
    The Stanton Vault is tied very closely to the history of the Chariton Cemetery, which was founded by private investors during the early 1860s to supplement or replace Douglass Cemetery out southeast of town along the Blue Grass and an earlier Chariton Cemetery, reportedly located on the Columbus School hill.
    By the 1880s, control of the Chariton Cemetery had passed into the hands of Dr. James Eddington Stanton, a pioneer physician, and he and his descendants operated it as a private business until the city purchased it for $10,000 during 1924 from Gertrude Stanton, widow of J. E. Stanton’s son, Dr. John H. Stanton.
    During the mid-1880s, J. E. Stanton hatched the idea of a vault both to serve the needs of his own family and, always practical, to be shared by others in order to make it a paying proposition.  It was reported upon as follows by one of the Chariton newspapers during September of 1887:
    “Dr. J. E. Stanton has the very reasonable and humane abhorrence of disposing of the dead by burying in the ground.  Some time ago he conceived the idea of constructing in the Chariton Cemetery a large stone vault, not alone for himself and family, but for such others as may want their remains to rest in it.  The vault is now nearly completed.  It will be arranged with thirty compartments each large enough to receive a full-size burial case.  These compartments are provided with hard cement bottoms, sides and tops, the front end being of heavy wrought iron, with iron door.
    “The idea is a novel one in this country, but the thoughts of one’s remains quietly resting in a secure vault above ground rather than in a grave below, robs death of part of its terrors.  The doctor has already disposed of several of these rooms and will doubtless find no difficulty in disposing of all.  The remains of Prof. Perry were the first that were laid to rest in the new tomb.”
    How many of you remember the vault?  I do, but vaguely, and I’m never sure how accurate my memories are.  You can still find its location by driving on the main cemetery driveway about four-fifths of the way to the west end and looking to your left (south) for a grassy drive-way like area that once provided access to the vault.  There’s a spirea bush there, one of several planted around the vault; and if you turn to face east once you’ve passed it and look up toward a modest modern tombstone inscribed “Stanton” you’ll be standing before what once was the entrance.  Climb the hill and you’ll find flanking the Stanton stone and in another row behind it Fielding Funeral Home markers mounted in strips of concrete recording some information about former occupants of the vault evacuated when it was demolished, than reburied in its footprint.
    As I recall the thing, it looked a good deal like a large fruit cellar, sunk into the ground with grass covering its top.  I’m reasonably sure that, when I was small, you could still look through a gated entrance and see the individual burial vaults.  The east-west walkway inside was wide enough to maneuver a coffin in and there were 15 burial places on either side, each sealed with a square iron door into which was mounted a slim panel of marble with deeply scalloped corners bearing inscribed information about the deceased within.  A few Polaroid snapshots taken after the roof had been removed during the demolition process, now in files at city hall, confirm that impression.  The doors swung open sideways, then were closed and hopefully sealed once an interment had taken place.
    Two of those doors survive, removed and mounted flush with the ground in the southeast corner of the cemetery when the bodies of Lewis Bonnett and his wife, Maria Virgin Bonnett, were evacuated and buried.  Having been ousted from the vault, the Bonnett's thriftily took their doors with them.  Although the marble panels are badly deteriorated, you get a fairly good idea of how the vault worked by looking at them since even the hinge mountings remain.
    When the city acquired the cemetery during 1924, it also acquired the vault and its problems.  Keep in mind that once filled, the financial incentive to maintain a structure like this evaporates.  And the Stanton vault, deteriorating and subject to morbid curiosity and vandalism, became a major problem for the city.  Eventually, the decision was made to demolish it.
    When families could be located, they were offered the opportunity to remove and rebury the bodies of their loved ones---and several did.  Descendants of Stantons buried within opted to have their family members reinterred on the site of the vault, and those who had no descendants remaining to speak for them were reburied as well at city expense in the excavation left when the vault was removed.
    I’m not sure when this happened, but it probably was during the late 1960s or 1970s.  I remember it being there, and then it wasn’t.  I was involved in college, Vietnam and a variety of other things at that time, and wasn’t paying much attention to the cemetery.  We could probably track that information down, but I ran out of time when preparing this presentation.
    It’s useful to keep in mind that what happened to the vault and its occupants wasn’t anyone’s fault exactly.  It just was nature taking its course.  While interesting, this was not a structure of great architectural interest, as the Copeland mausoleum is.  My only regret is that the graves of those other than principal Stantons buried at the site of the old vault can’t be better marked.  The funeral home markers, although well-intentioned, are beginning to deteriorate, and in 50 years or so probably will be indecipherable.
    So much for “quietly resting in a secure vault above ground.”  How are the mighty fallen!
    What I propose to do is give you a little information about occupants of the Stanton vault, beginning with the Stanton’s themselves.
    Dr. James Eddington Stanton, who died Nov. 6, 1908, was the builder of the vault and was buried in it as he intended.  Born 1828 in Belmont County, Ohio, he established the family in Lucas County during 1862.  One of the original Chariton Cemetery stockholders, by one means or another he ended up owning it and it became both a hobby and a business enterprising.  The fact that Chariton still has such a pretty cemetery probably can be attributed to his foresight and design preferences.  The only bad idea he had out there was the vault.
    J. E. Stanton’s wife, Mary Jane (Hobbs) Stanton, born during 1825 near Baltimore, Maryland, predeceased her husband on Nov. 21, 1900, and so preceded him into the vault.
    Dr. John H. Stanton, son of J. E. and Mary Hobbs Stanton, was born in Indiana during 1862, and came to Chariton with his family as an infant.  A widely-known and highly respected physician, he died May 25, 1922, and joined his parents in the vault.
    John H. Stanton had married Gertrude Aughey, daughter of Chariton’s Presbyterian pastor, during 1894.  It was Gertrude who sold the cemetery to the city after John H. died.  In later years, she moved to Chicago to live near her daughters and died there during April of 1940.  Her body was cremated and at some point the ashes were brought to Chariton and placed in the vault, the last interment to occur there.
    The graves of these four Stantons are marked by a modern tombstone erected by family members after the vault was demolished and its occupants reinterred.
    The family of Dr. J. E. Stanton’s other physician son, Theodore, did not use the vault and its members are buried more traditionally in the southwestern part of the Chariton Cemetery.
    Buried immediately north of these four principal Stantons is Minnie Stanton Guylee, a daughter of J. E.  and Mary Hobbs Stanton who was born during 1851 in Belmont County, Ohio, and died Dec. 18, 1896, preceding both her parents into the vault.  She had married a Chariton businessman, Tom Guylee, during 1879, but they had no children.
    Tom is buried north of Minnie, but he apparently moved away from Chariton after her death and died many years later.  I can find no record of his death or of when his remains were brought to Chariton to join Minnie’s in the vault.
    Buried immediately south of the Stanton tombstone is Mary E. Stanton, a daughter of J. E. and Mary (Hobbs) Stanton, who was born during 1857 and died at Chariton during 1865, age 7.  Her remains apparently were disinterred when the vault was built and placed inside it.
    South of Mary E. Stanton is Emma J. Stanton, who was Dr. J. E.  Stanton’s niece as well as the wife of a cousin, L. M. Stanton.  The L. M. Stantons lived at Humeston, where Emma died during November of 1890.  Her body was brought from Humeston to Chariton for burial in the Stanton vault.  L. M. Stanton survived his wife by 23 years, remaining at Humeston, and because he had no one else was taken in during his final illness by his cousins in Chariton.  When he died during August of 1913 he was not buried with his wife in the vault, but instead at the rear of the Theodore Stanton lot to the south and west.
    The last grave in this row of reburied Stantons belongs to Ruth Ann Stanton Mead, who was Dr. J. E. Stanton’s twin sister, born during 1828 in Belmont County, Ohio.  She died Nov. 10, 1891, at West Liberty, and her body was brought to Chariton for burial in the vault.
    The second row of burials from the former vault are mostly people unrelated to the Stantons, simply left behind after their families moved on or died out.
    Andrew Swan, born during 1826 in Sweden, died at his farm in Whitebreast Township on Nov. 21, 1903, and was buried in the vault after funeral services at the Swedish Mission Church.  Most of this family, including his widow, Mary, seems to have moved away leaving Andrew as the only Swan still reposing in Lucas County.
    Henrietta Stewart Perry, widow of J. W. Perry, buried next door, was born during 1851 in Wayne County, Ohio, and married the professor during 1870 in Chariton.  Following her husband’s death, she moved to St. Louis, where her two children lived, and died there on Oct. 11, 1898.  Her body was returned to Chariton during late afternoon on the 13th of October and was taken directly to the Stanton Vault for interment.
    Henrietta’s husband, John W. Perry, the first to be interred in the Stanton Vault, was born during 1836 in Indiana and was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Upon arrival in Chariton during the late 1860s, however, he chose to teach, operating private academies, teaching in the public schools and serving as both county superintendent of schools and clerk of district court.  He died Sept. 21, 1887, and his remains were placed in the vault as it was nearing completion.
    It’s not exactly clear, to me at least, who Henry C. VanWerden was.  He apparently was a physician who had practiced in Chariton at one point.  He died at Leon during August of 1895, having lived there for some 16 years, and his body was returned to Chariton for burial.  The only relative identified in a newspaper account of his death is Mrs. W. H. Hemphill of Chariton, a sister-in-law.
    Louise Mallory Thayer, daughter of Deming J. and Jessie O. (Mallory) Thayer, was stillborn at Ilion on Feb. 3, 1888 (the date on her marker is wrong).  She was the only grandchild of Smith H. and Annie (Ogden) Mallory.  Deming Thayer committed suicide during 1898 and was buried in a newly-purchased Mallory lot some distance due west of the Stanton Vault, but Louise’s body was not moved.  Smith H. Mallory, who died during 1903, was buried near Deming, then disinterred and his body cremated and the ashes taken to Orlando, Florida, during 1920.  That left Deming and his still born daughter as the only representatives in Lucas County of what once was its first family.  Sadly, they’re not even buried together.
    Minnie G. Kirk, buried immediately south of Louise, was born Minnie Gray in Lucas County about 1866 and married Charles R. Kirk, at one time a Chariton mover and shaker.  Afflicted with tuberculosis, she died May 2, 1896, in Las Vegas, N. M., and her body was returned to Chariton and placed in the vault. Charles R. Kirk survived until 1917, but was buried elsewhere in the Chariton Cemetery.
    Clara Mead, was a niece of J. E. Stanton, daughter of his twin sister, Ruth Stanton Mead, who had been interred in the vault during 1891.  Clara died in Minneapolis “a few weeks” prior to August 1913, when her remains were brought to Chariton by her sisters, Mary E. and Ella Mead, and placed in the vault.  One hopes she had been cremated.
    That completes the account of those who were buried in the Stanton Vault until their bodies were removed to allow its demolition, then reburied in its footprint, 16 in all.
    The vault also had a number of temporary residents during its useful years, since it served as the cemetery’s receiving vault:  A place where loved ones could be parked temporarily until final burial arrangements could be made.  There’s no particular point in trying to track all of these people down, but I can tell you about three I’ve come across:
    Dr. Harry S. McKlveen, a physician and son of pioneer Chariton physician Dr. J. A. McKlveen, died at age 41 in Los Angeles on Jan. 21, 1911, after overdosing himself with chloroform while trying to relieve the pain of an inner ear infection.  His father returned to Chariton with the body and had it placed temporarily in the Stanton Vault.  Several months later, during early June, the body was removed on a Sunday morning and buried in the traditional manner in the McKlveen lot some distance east.
    Sarah Jane (Skidmore) Lockwood, wife of pioneer Chariton Jeweler George A. Lockwood, died Oct. 11, 1909, and her body was placed in the Stanton Vault after funeral services at St.  Andrew’s Episcopal Church.  About seven months later, on June 2, 1910, George Lockwood, age 71, died at the home of their son, J. E. Lockwood, in Peoria, Ill., and his body was returned to Chariton and placed in the vault as well.
    George had decided in the months following his wife’s death to build the Lockwood vault, that odd little flat-topped structure in the extreme northwest corner of the cemetery, but it had not been completed by the time of his death.  When it was complete, the bodies of both Lockwoods were removed from the Stanton vault and placed in their own, although today it’s not evident who is buried there since subsequent repairs have covered exterior inscriptions, leaving only the surname “Lockwood” exposed above the sealed door.
    No doubt many others reposed briefly in the Stanton vault until the 1930s when it became a less desirable address and no longer was used.
    I can also tell you about six people who intended to rest permanently in the Stanton vault, but who were removed by their families as it deteriorated.  Quite frankly I’m not sure when the removals occurred, but believe that all six were moved not long before the vault was demolished.  Nor am I certain that the number removed and reburied was only six.  There very well may have been more.
    The six I know about are Lewis and Maria (Virgin) Bonnett, mentioned at the outset of this presentation, and four members of another Lockwood family.
    Lewis Bonnett, born during 1830 in Ohio, came to Lucas County with his wife, Maria (Virgin) Bonnett, and children during 1865 and located on a farm south of   Chariton in Benton Township.  He built the farm he called The Pines into a showplace, and was perhaps Lucas County’s leading stockman of that time.
    Maria, born during 1834 in Ohio, died unexpectedly on March 17, 1890, and her body was placed in the Stanton Vault.  Lewis Bonnett died of a heart attack on June 10, 1899, while on a business trip to Chicago, and joined Maria in the vault.
    Bonnett descendants removed Lewis and Maria from the vault before it was demolished, and had their bodies buried on a family lot in the southeast portion of the cemetery, overlooking the Chariton River valley.  The doors from their crypts were removed and mounted flush with the ground on the new lot to mark their graves.  After the marble panels in those doors became almost indecipherable, a large new stone was erected to the east, providing a more permanent memorial.
    Alice “Allie” Stanton was another daughter of Dr. J. E. and Mary (Hobbs) Stanton, born July 4, 1855, in Belmont County, Ohio.  After moving to Chariton with her family during 1865, she married James H. Lockwood, brother of George A. Lockwood whose brief tenure in the Stanton Vault was mentioned earlier, during 1887.
    The Lockwoods had three children, two of whom died young and were buried in the Stanton Vault:  George, born during 1888 who died Dec. 12, 1900; and Lucille, born during 1893 and died April 12, 1906.
    James H. Lockwood, born during 1837 in Canada, died Feb. 19, 1917, at his home in Chariton and joined his children in the vault.  Allie died July 8, 1929, and also was buried in the vault.
    The surviving daughter and sister, who did not marry, arranged to have her family removed from the vault and reburied behind a row of identical tombstones on a lot some distance south---along the driveway looking down toward the old cemetery office/reception center, primarily used as a maintenance building now.
    Buried on the same lot and with identical tombstones are Allie’s nieces, Mary and Ella Mead, both of whom were veteran Minneapolis school teachers who died during the 1930s.  The remains of their mother and sister, Ruth Ann (Stanton) and Clara Mead remained in the vault.
    So there you have it, 22 people whose resting place once seemed secure but wasn’t.  And three more who joined them briefly in the Stanton Vault.  Next time you’re at the cemetery, pay them a visit.  And it wouldn’t hurt, on Memorial Day, to remember one or two of them.  Not necessarily the Stantons.  There are plenty of their descendants scattered around the country to remember them, if they will.  But to think of Andrew Swan, the Perrys, Henry VanWerden, little Louise Mallory and Minnie Kirk would be a kind of Memorial Day random act of kindness.

Coal Glen Cemetery and Derby Cemetery


Coal Glen Cemetery

Coal Glen Cemetery
Pleasant Township #14
55296    325th Ave.
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Derby Cemetery

Derby Cemetery
Union Township #13
43160    158th Ave.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Fletcher Cemetery and Freedom Cemetery

Fletcher Cemetery

Fletcher Cemetery
Ottercreek Township $10
13301    566th St.
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Freedom Cemetery
                                     
Freedom Cemetery
Warren Township #24
41689    215th Ave.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fry Hill Cemetery and Graceland Cemetery


Fry Hill Cemetery

 Fry Hill Cemetery
Jackson Township #13
49899    160th Ave.
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Graceland Cemetery

Graceland Cemetery
Ottercreek Township #2
57143    150th Ave.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grimes Cemetery and Goshen Cemetery


Grimes Cemetery

Grimes Cemetery
Whitebreast #16
48998    179th Ave.
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Goshen Cemetery

Goshen Cemetery
Union Township #11
44973    145th Ave.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last Chance Cemetery and Mt. Zion Cemetery

Last Chance Cemetery

Last Chance Cemetery
Union Township #7
10209    440th St.

 Very interesting stories about this cemetery by Frank Myers, click here:  Peace on Earth at Last Chance   Elizabeth-spridgen-and-family
Side by Side at Last Chance    Graveyard Communications   Graveyard Dogs  
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 Mt. Zion Cemetery

Mt. Zion Cemetery
Liberty Township #15
19750    553rd St.

There are two cemeteries in Lucas County with the name Zion.  One in Pleasant Township and the other in Liberty. Both are in lovely hilltop settings --- Zion in Pleasant with a spectacular view of the Cedar Creek valley and Mount Zion in Liberty, with a slightly more modest view down the Whitebreast Creek valley.

Looking down toward the Whitebreast Creek Valley this is the view from the Mount Zion Cemetery

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Newbern Cemetery and Norwood Cemetery


Newbern Cemetery

Newbern Cemetery
Liberty Township #1
21293    580th St.
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Norwood Cemetery


Norwood Cemetery
Ottercreek Township #15
13489    550th St.
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Oak Hill-Stoneking Cemetery and Oxford Cemetery


Oak Hill Cemetery
Stoneking

Oak Hill - Stoneking Cemetery
Pleasant Township #26
53495    330th Trail
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Oxford Cemetery


Oxford Cemetery
Lincoln Township #11
50716    260th Ave.
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Frank Myers has an interesting article about this cemetery on his blog.  Click on the following link to access it:   Frank Myers Oxford Article   and at:  Who was Buried first at Oxford Cemetery  and at:  Tombstone Art at Oxford Cemetery 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rose Hill Cemetery and Russell Cemetery

Rose Hill Cemetery

Rose Hill Cemetery
Jackson Township #10
49988    135th Trail
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Russell Cemetery

Russell Cemetery
Washington Township #5
29350    457th St.
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The Russell Reivers 4-H Club recently (May of 2011) landscaped around the Russell Cemetery sign as a 4-H Community Service project.  The club planned and budgeted for the project at their club meetings and then purchased the bricks, flowers and solar lights.  With the help of the 4-H club members, parents and leaders, they leveled and laid the landscaping bricks, filled in with dirt, and planted the flowers (knock-out roses, hostas, lilies, and creeping phlox).  They then applied the mulch and solar lights.  The project was complete in time for Memorial Day.

The Russel Cemetery Association was very pleased with the finished project and would like to thank the Russell Reivers 4-H Club, parents and leaders for all their hard work and expense for this wonderful project. 

If you weren't out to the cemetery around the Memorial Day Weekend, you might want to drive out and enter the cemetery at the top of the hill and enjoy the beautiful results of their hard work.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Salem Cemetery and Waynick (Holmes) Cemetery


Salem Cemetery

Salem Cemetery
Benton Township #3
45350    255th Ave.
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Waynick (Holmes) Cemetery

 Waynick (Holmes) Cemetery
Warren Township #1
20998    460th St.
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Waynick Cemetery - How it came to be  - go to Frank Myers' Blogspot - click on the following website

Zion Cemetery and Zion Lutheran Cemetery




Zion Cemetery

Zion Cemetery
Pleasant Township #21
30428    535th St.
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Zion Lutheran Cemetery

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Allen Cemetery and Belinda (Swede) Cemetery

Allen Cemetery

Allen Cemetery
Cedar Township #24
47802    337th Trail
Very interesting article about Allen Cemetery at Frank Myers Blog: Lucas Countyan
http://lucascountyan.blogspot.com/2014/06/douglass-pioneer-cemetery-azubah-vance.html

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Here is part one of Frank Myers blogs on the Allen Pioneer Cemetery northeast of Russell, IA:
http://lucascountyan.blogspot.com/2014/05/browsing-at-allen-pioneer-cemetery-part.html

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And yet another blog on the Allen Cemetery by Frank Myers:
http://lucascountyan.blogspot.com/2014/05/allen-pioneer-cemetery-part-2-allens.html
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From the Lucas County Notes & Shakin’ the Family Tree Volume 19 Issue 3 July-August-September 2013
Browsing at Allen Pioneer Cemetery
Allen Pioneer Cemetery (Part 1)
I took a quick trip out to Allen Pioneer Cemetery Wednesday to take a look at three tombstones, all in a row, commemorating Civil War soldiers who died of war-related causes --- then got sidetracked by the cemetery itself. So won't get around to the original purpose of the trip until another day.
Allen is one of two pioneer cemeteries located about a mile apart on the Lucas-Monroe county line, both related to the ghost town of LaGrange, one of Lucas County's earliest and most promising villages. 
To get there from Chariton just drive east on U.S. 34. to the county line. Four scattered houses on the north side of the highway mark the village site, as does the LaGrange Cemetery, just off the highway, north on the graveled county line road.
To get to Allen Cemetery, turn north a quarter mile short of the county line and drive a mile. Look for the cemetery on a hilltop a short distance east of the road after it curves northwest through a small valley, rises past what I remember as the Jonathan Chase farmstead (buildings gone now), then straightens out again.
LaGrange was platted for Samuel Prather during October of 1852 on 40 acres of his land, then flourished for 20 years because it was located astraddle what became the main east-west road through southern Iowa and also because it was the first of three Western Stage Co. stops in Lucas County. Travelers could find a meal here; lodging, if there were business to do in the neighborhood; and fresh horses were hitched to coaches before they continued west to Chariton, then on to Tallahoma on White Breast Creek before plunging into Clarke County.
When construction of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad resumed in 1867, after the Civil War had ended, it was routed about a mile south and rail entrepreneurs founded the village of Russell alongside it.
Russell grew and LaGrange gradually faded away.
Allen Cemetery is named after the Douglass and Anna (Allison) Allen family, who settled nearby during 1848 or 1849. A Cumberland Presbyterian congregation was organized in the Allen cabin during the fall of 1851, one of Lucas County's earliest churches, and Allen Cemetery is linked closely to that church --- two of its pastors who died relatively young, Henry Bell in 1865 and O.G. Hawkins in 1887, are buried here as are the Allens and a majority of its other early members.
It appears that Allen Cemetery was considered the appropriate burial place for LaGrange-area Presbyterians while others were buried in the cemetery in LaGrange proper. The Presbyterians didn't get around to building until 1868-69, however, and when they decided to do so, selected a site in the village rather than near their cemetery.
Henry Bell, that early Cumberland Presbyterian preacher who died at age 37 years, 6 months and 10 days on Nov. 10, 1865, has the tallest tombstone in Allen Cemetery. The fine print reads, "An earnest & efficient minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for 13 years. Servant of God, well done."
Henry was born April 28, 1828 in Prieble County, Ohio, and married Rachel Morse Roberts during 1853 in Brown County, Illinois. When the 1856 state census was taken, Henry was serving Cumberland Presbyterians in Pleasant Grove Township, Des Moines County; and by
1860, was located in Yellow Springs, also in Des Moines County.
The Bells had three children, son Finis (born 1854) and daughters Mary Georgiana (born 1859) and Florence Augusta, born in Lucas County on Feb. 8, 1865. Little Florence died on Oct. 16, 1865, a few weeks before her father's death, and was the first family member to be buried at Allen.
After Henry died, Rachel returned to Illinois to live, but her remains were brought to Allen Cemetery for burial after she died on April 8, 1897, in Kansas City.
Son Finis became a physician and returned to Lucas County during 1880 to open his first practice in Russell. He soon moved on, however, and settled down at Mattoon in Coles County, Illinois, where he died during 1928.
This tombstone due west of the Bell marker in Allen Cemetery, commemorating Mary E., wife of William Harrison Van Nice, who died at age 36 on April 12, 1871, is one of my favorites. Not only is it a quality piece of craftsmanship that's held up well, we also know where it originated because the maker mark is clearly evident: F.W. McCall, Oskaloosa.
Mary Elizabeth Verbrike and William Harrison Van Nice were married in Hendricks County, Indiana, and moved west to Lucas County, Iowa, with as their family in 1853. Following Mary's death, W.H. married as his second wife Sarah Jane Rose and they moved into Chariton, where he died on April 14, 1894. He is buried with Sarah and some of his children in the Chariton Cemetery.

Allen Pioneer Cemetery (Part 2): The Allens
It would be an exaggeration to say that every Russell-area native is descended in some manner from an Allen, or a Van Nice, or both --- it just seems that way sometimes when a guy starts digging around in their family histories. But those Allens were a prolific bunch.
The principal historian of the families was Carrie E. Allen (daughter of Tandy and Joanna Van Nice Allen), the eldest of 11 children and the only one among them who did not marry.
She focused instead on history during a long career as an educator and school administrator, first in Lucas County and then in Chicago.
It was Carrie who sat down with her great-uncle, Douglass Allen, by then blind, on May 1, 1883, to record his brief autobiography --- which still circulates widely and contains a wealth of family information. Allen Cemetery is located on the initial land claim of Douglass and his wife, Anna (Allison) Allen, just north of LaGrange --- and they are buried here along with various family members.
Douglass was born Oct. 29, 1799, in Loudon County, Virginia; moved with his family to Kentucky in 1807 and married Anna there on Dec. 9, 1819. In 1837, the Allens moved to Putnam County, Indiana, then moved west to Davis County, Iowa, during 1844, and finally settled down in Lucas County during 1848 or 1849.
Tandy Allen was Douglass's nephew and came from Indiana to visit his uncle first in 1852, made a pre-emption claim and began improving it that year, then settled permanently at LaGrange in 1854. 
One of the facts of life in 19th century Iowa, as it had been universally elsewhere, was that every family expected to lose children to premature death.
Douglass and Anna lost eight of their 11 children before Anna herself died on Jan. 4, 1863. Oliver, Thomas, Louisa and Elizabeth, aged 10 to 3 respectively, all died within weeks of each other in Indiana during 1843. Joseph, Andrew, Ruth and Sanford died as young adults during the 1850s in Iowa. Sanford Ward Allen died Aug. 15, 1852, age 21, and his was the first burial in Allen Cemetery.
Following Anna's 1863 death, Douglass married as his second wife the widow Azubah (Vance) Hart by whom he had three more children, the youngest, Benjamin, born when his father was 70.
Douglass died May 14, 1884, and shares the large tombstone in the foreground (top) with Anna. The family of their son, Milton H. Allen, is buried to the right; Joseph, Andrew and Sanford, to the left.

Here is Douglass Allen's Autobiography:
La Grange, Iowa, May, 1, 1883.

I, Douglass Allen, son of Joseph and Frances Allen of Louden County, Virginia, was born October 29, 1799.
I was the sixth of a family of ten children and emigrated with my parents to Clark Co., Kentucky, in 1807. I remained with them until 1819, when I was married to Anna Allison, daughter of John and Ruth Allison of Montgomery Co. Kentucky. The marriage was celebrated on the 9th of December the bride being then twenty-two years of age.
In 1821 we both professed religion and joined the Presbyterian Church at Cane Ridge, Bourbon Co., Kentucky. We remained in that state until 1837, when we removed to Putnam Co., Indiana, where we resided seven years. At the end of that time, in 1844, we again turned westward, removing to what was then Iowa Territory and settling in Davis Co. Remained in this county five years and from thence came to Lucas Co., Iowa.
We were among the earliest settlers of this county, as there were said to be but nine families in the county at that time. There was not a schoolhouse nor a church building nor organization within its limits.
In the Spring of 1851, William Wallace, a licenciate of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Davis Co. came to my house as he was traveling over the country seeking a place to administer to the spiritual needs of the scattered ones of Zion, and “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” I was not at home when he came, but my wife opened the doors of our house to this worthy preacher and he left an appointment to preach at our house. Appointments were left for preaching at intervals of two weeks during the summer, and in the fall of that year Rev. William Lawrence came with him, and they organized in our house the first church in the county, known as the “Lone Oak” congregation of the C.P. church. It consisted of twelve members, some of whom came several miles to avail themselves of church privileges.
At this organization I was elected and ordained an elder. We used in those days to have a great many good and precious meetings.
My wife, by whom I had eleven children, died January 4, 1863, aged sixty-six years. Eight of the children had gone before to the better world. Four were grown; of these Joseph William and Ruth Maria were married and Sandford Ward and Andrew James were in the strength of young manhood. The other four, Thomas Morris, Louisa Prudence Ann, Oliver Franklin, and Elizabeth Margaret, were called away within one short month, their ages ranging from three to ten years. Three are yet living, John Allison, aged 62 years, Frances Wright, 59 years, and Milton Harvey, 53 years.
My second marriage was to Mrs. Azubah Hart, aged 36, daughter of William and Harriet Vance of Monroe Co., Iowa, and occurred Sept. 22, 1863. Her father and mother were members of the Presbyterian church.  She had united with the Cumberland Pres. Church some time previous to this. The fruit of this marriage was three children, Sylvia Jane, aged 19 years, Harriet Ellen, 16 years, and Benjamin Russell, 14 years.
(Uncle Douglass death occurred on May 4th, 1884.)

The above sketch was dictated to me when Uncle Douglass had been for years too blind to read or write. He said at the time that he wanted it done so his children and grandchildren would know something of his early life.

(Signed) Carrie E. Allen
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Belinda (Swede) Cemetery
 
Belinda (Swede) Cemetery
Pleasant Township #19
54869    290th Ave.
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