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Cantonwine Cemetery
Section 32 of Benton Township, Benton County, Iowa

From: Zola Sanders Cerny
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 5:15 PM
To: Sue Soden; Ann Koch
Subject: Cantonwine Cemetery

Got a copy of your communique to Ann Koch re the Cantonwine cemeteries and your work in the Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton. I'm very familiar with the Evergreen Cemetery since many of my ancestors are buried there - and I will be, with my parents.

David and Eliza [Cantonwine] are my great grandparents. Herbert U. and Ora K. are my grandparents.

You inquired about the old farm cemetery; I'll try to make sense out of it for you -- Chas. Cantonwine bought the first land in Benton Co., in 1845 (he was Michael's brother) and Michael (my great-great grandfather) bought his land in 1847 from the Land Office in Dubuque. This farm cemetery was located on my great grandfather's (David) farm which was the first homesteaded by his father, Michael. I clearly recall seeing this cemetery not far from the buildings on the hill with a huge tree in it and an iron fence around it when I was pretty young. Too bad I wasn't old enough to be curious and look at the stones (and remember them) but didn't and seems no one else did -- and if they did no one is living who would know. This parcel was set aside in records to be always a cemetery -- but that long ago disappeared. Last record I have of it is in Eliza (David's wife) Cantonwine's will in which the property is given (in Section 32) with exception: "parcel in SW corner of the last described tract being 27 rods east and west by 4 rods north and south".

When this property finally left the Cantonwine's, and that had to be in the mid 1900's probably (I'd have to research that) things started falling apart and the Executor of the estate would not exert pressure to preserve the cemetery and finally it was destroyed and a later owner (whom my Mother knew) told us he found pieces of stones in a field he was plowing and just tossed them in a drainage ditch!!!. I drove back that summer and took my Mother - we went to this ditch (HOT!!!!) with a shovel - no water and NO camera! and I dug a bit -- enough to unearth pieces that established one was for Michael and one for Catherine (his wife). Had to give up due to the heat. Anyway it was enough to establish, for me, that that's where Michael and Catherine were buried (and this was substantiated by an elderly uncle of my mother's (now deceased). I also feel convinced Michael's mother, Mary was probably buried there also.

I was born a few miles from the old homestead - left Iowa in 1951.

Zola Sanders Cerny



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