On the crest of a hill, near the center of Section 21,
lies Orange Township cemetery--beautiful, silent

"City of the Dead,"
with more than 675 burials.


The beginning of this cemetery dates back to 1862, six years after the Matthias Miller family, first Brethren settlers of this community, arrived in Waterloo in 1856. Up until 1862 a burial ground had been started on the Henry and Nancy Miller farm, Section 27, which is the A.E. Glenny eighty lying just south of the Blaine Miller farm. Perhaps a score were buried on the hill near the north boundary of the farm, some being brought from as far away as Jubilee. In March of1862, Lydia Miller, first wife of William Miller was laid to rest there.

However, William Miller, then owner of the present Walnut Dairy Farm, did not feel satisfied with that location. That same year of 1862 he offered the site of the present cemetery--"one acre of ground with an extra rod on four sides" are the terms with which the area was described, and it represents the highest point on his farm. To this plot the body of Mr. Miller's wife was transferred sometime in 1863, and thus Orange Township Cemetery had its beginning. After the William Miller site became the recognized burying ground, most of the bodies from the Nancy Miller hill were removed to it. The exact location of the few remaining graves has been entirely lost.


The crest of the hill was sought in locating both the first and the second burying grounds, for in those early days, before tile drainage was practiced, water would fill the graves, even on those elevated spots. The original grant comprised the southeast fourth of the present cemetery. A line running east and west past the Daniel Watters, Gillin and Kistner lots marks the north boundary; a line running parallel with the west drive, and a few feet west, marks the west boundary, while the south and east lines remain unchanged. All dives remain the same except the north one, which was moved to the north boundary of the farm after the tract was enlarged.

Older residents recall that the original plot was fenced out of the surrounding field, and did not extend to the corner of the farm. It was reached by driving through Mr. Miller's farmyard, and then across the field to the north side of the cemetery, where a gate gave access to vehicles. Pedestrians crossed the fence by means of a stile of perhaps five steps, also on the north side. There are those who remember when the cows broke through the fence and caused damage to the markers.

Location of Church

There is no doubt that the present location of the cemetery had a direct bearing on the location of the church house. In May of 1856 the church had been organized in the village of Waterloo by eleven members who were living there temporarily before locating on farms in Orange Township. For ten years worship services were held in residences, barns, and schoolhouses.

When the erection of a church building was contemplated in 1867, the site under consideration was on the Charles Grady Farm. But William and Matthias Miller, both owning farms near the already established cemetery and near the township center, each offered an acre of land for a church site. This was accepted, and in 1868 the church was built on the grounds where the present one now stands.

Four of the charter members were buried in the Orange Township, here named in the order of their burial: Mrs. Martin Buechley, Matthias Miller, Martin Buechley, and Mrs. Matthias Miller.

The Cemetery Association Incorporates

In 1904 the Orange Township Cemetery Association was formed and Articles of Incorporation were secured. On October 18th of that year the Board of Trustees of the church of the Brethren met and organized, with the following officers: S.A. Maust, Pres.; Jacob Lichty, Sec'y; Jacob W. Miller, Treas. Later the offices of Secretary and Treasurer were combined.

At this meeting the Board appointed Ephraim Lichty overseer of the cemetery. The report further stated that he should have charged of letting lots, digging graves or seeing that they were dug, mowing the cemetery, etc. It was further agreed that J. W. Miller and S. A. Maust should solicit endowment, donations, etc. in accordance with Article 4 in the Articles of Incorporation.

A report of the first annual meeting of the Orange Cemetery Association in 1905 shows that they met at the J. W. Miller residence. It was decided to "pay $3.00 for grave digging when the ground is not frozen, $4.00 when not frozen over 12 inches, and $5.00 when frozen more than 12 inches. All persons wanting to pay for the work please see sexton, Eph Lichty." It was customary to dig the graves as deep as the coffin was long.

Some years after incorporating, the Association purchased the land to the north and to the west of the former boundaries, up to and including the corner of the farm, making the size of the cemetery approximately five acres. They also purchased a strip of land 24 feet wide along the entire north side of the eighty, to be used as a road leading from the highway to the cemetery.

A good fence was built along the south side of the road, the cost being shared equally by the Association and the owner of the farm, Mr. Olsen. Now the public has access to the cemetery without any opening or closing of gates. In 1928 an iron arch was erected at the highway. In 1934 the road, which had been previously graded, was graveled. Since then additional gravel has been added.

No one was ever denied the privilege of burying friends here, and no small number have been laid away without so much as a pine slab to mark their resting place.

Seven sextons have served the Association since its organization: Eph Lichty, Jonathan Whipkey, John Cornelius, Elwood Irish, L.A. Sanderson, H. B. Raudabaugh, and W. S. Brown. Previous to the organization, anyone obtainable would dig the graves.

Usually neighbors or friends of the family of the deceased would volunteer to do the work. Seldom was there any money consideration. In case a grave was to be dug for someone residing outside of the community, would be sent to William or Matthias Miller, and those men took it upon themselves to dig the grave or secure someone, usually without renumeration.

Since the cemetery Association became incorporated, arrangements have been made whereby lots can be purchased for $60.00 with room for six burials on a lot, or half lots in proportionate amount. The money from these sales, along with solicited funds is used as perpetual endowment, and the earnings are used for the upkeep and improvement of the cemetery.

The association is to be commended for planning toward the future as well as the present. We owe a debt of gratitude to the fine spirit of William Miller who so generously deeded the original plot, and to those who throughout these 88 years have borne the responsibility of maintaining and perpetuating this beautiful cemetery.

We who live in this community can be happy to have such a beautiful place in which to lay away our loved ones.

Record System

In 1948 the trustees of the Association, W. W. Blough, Wm. Marsau, and Stanley McNamee, worked out a record system, which should prove of much value as time goes on. The new plats were made of the cemetery, with many necessary corrections. These plats were mounted on durable backs, and one is in possession of the custodian, while the chairman do the board of trustees keeps the other.

The trustees, their wives, and a half dozen or more interested people made a detailed survey of the cemetery, charting each burial, and jotting down all information possible from markers, or from the memories of those assisting in the work. This required a number of days.

Two sets of record books were set up. The side of the cemetery was number one way and lettered the other, and the lots were grouped into sections of 25 each. Each section of lots is plotted on one page, with names and owners thereon. On the opposite side of the page all burials and dates are listed alphabetically. One of these books is in the keeping of the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and the other is at the W. W. Blough , where it is available for reference to anyone wishing to see it.

In addition to the above, a card file system has been worked out with names of owners, burials, and dates, and any added information that may be of value.


During the making of the survey many interesting facts were recalled. It was found that fifteen ministers are buried in this cemetery. Tobias Musser was the first minister to be laid to rest, although his grave is unmarked. The others are:

Abraham Hochstetler,
Jesse Beal,
Wm Eikenberry,
Elias K. Buechley,
John Speicher,
Sam M. Miller,
Edward Witter,
N. J. Miller,
Martin Beekley,
W. H. Lichty,
John R. Hostetler,
Harvey Gnagey,
Jonas Lichty,
Jacob Speicher

World War I Veterans:
Ray Sheeler
Edward Strayer

Civil War Veterans:
Uriah Scott,
Henry Grady,
Jonatha Whipkey,
Simon Shaulis,
Amos Sweitzer,
John Speicher (one leg)


Indian War Veteran:
Henry Divan


World War II Veterans:
Jack Graham
Milan Blough

Diptheria Epidemics

Several diphtheria epidemics took their toll of children's lives. It is possible that scarlet fever may have been a contributing factor also. It was customary for the early settlers to help one another in times of illness, and often the children were brought along to see their little sick friends.

The first epidemic was in 1871. Among the victims were two daughters of Joe and Mary Saylor, and two daughters of William and Mary Lichty. A total of 21 children were buried in 1870-71. And eighteen were buried in 1879-80.

Among these were three children of Jonathan Miller and wife, two daughters of John Dull and wife; a young lady by the name of Martha Musser, and three children of Samuel and Cevilla Lichty. Twins Ida and Ada and a daughter Dolly, all three passing away between the 19th and 29th of April.

Thanks to modern science, such epidemics will never be repeated.


At least eight deaths were caused by drowning.

Tommy Goughnour, a boy of eight, drowned in 1879 and his marker is one of the few that records the cause of death.

Elias Dull, a lad of five, wandered away alone from school in Waterloo, and drowned in the Cedar, in 1855.

Roy Harbaugh and John and Bert Hoover were drowned July 2, 1899.

Following a baptismal service at the Cedar River, by Rev. Gillin. A joint funeral was held for the three victims in the old church. Russel Mumoor, and Ralph Kimmel (of Sheldon) also met death by drowning.

Ed Miller, son of Fred Miller, drowned in 1942 while rescuing two children from the waters of the Wapsie.

Other Deaths

Quite a number died of heart trouble.

Perhaps the earliest victim was Wallace Will who died in 1862. He had been married one month to Sally Buechley, daughter of E. K. Buechley, and was stricken while attending a love feast in John Hoff's new barn, dying instantly. The farm on which this barn was located is the one recently owned by Ed. Buxton, and used as a Catholic cemetery.

In 1879 Charles Heller, father of six children, living on the present Orville Hamor farm, was found dead in bed from a heart attack.

Fred Miller, our genial German brother, died in 1903. U. S. Blough died in 1934, Max Maust in 1946, and Jerry Wolf in 1947.

Silas Miller, 19 year-old son of Matthias Miller, fell beneath the wheels of a train while attempting to catch a ride on the way from the Waterloo school to his boarding place in 1874.

Henry Buechley, son of E. K. Buechley and his second wife, died in 1864 from the kick of a horse.

Galen Gnagey met a similar death in 1897.

David Walker met death from swallowing a needle, which had been accidentally dropped into a pan of frying potatoes. The needle lodged in his throat, puncturing a blood vessel and he died of hemorrhage.

John Fike, husband of Sally Fike, died from the effects of being gored by a bull.

Edward Lichty, son of H. J. Lichty, was a victim of appendicitis in 1889. In those days this disease was called inflammation of the bowels. His death occurred during a revival meeting held by Rev. T. T. Meyers. Edward was buried on his 18th birthday. His untimely death caused much serious thinking on the part of the young people of the community, and thirty-four membrs were added to the church during that revival meeting.

Samuel Flickinger was another victim in 1897 of appendicitis before surgery was practiced. He desired baptism before his death, and the rite was performed in a tank of water prepared for the occasion.

Emma Fike, sister of Noah Fike, met her death from the same disease while visiting in Benton County.

Superstition played its part in pioneer days. There was the story of one token of approaching death when a lamp flared up three times in succession; and there were whispered stories of mysterious lights, strange sounds, and apparitions -- stories which the children of today never hear.

The winter of 1899 a very severe one with but little snow, and the ground froze to a great depth. Mrs. L. R. Peifer died during the month of March. Friends began digging the grave Monday noon, expecting to complete it by evening. Frost was encountered all afternoon. Tuesday forenoon, one man at a time picked away until noon, when it was time for those to leave whom wished to attend the funeral in the city church. Some of the men continued digging, and the grave was completed by the time the funeral procession arrived. The ground was frozen the entire five feet they had dug. The roads, which had previously thawed were frozen again and extremely rough.

About the same time James Reed, who lived on the Ernie Wright farm, passed away. Neighbors laid the corpse out and one neighbor was given a $20.00 bill with instructions to purchase a casket with it. He did so, hauled the casket out to the and conveyed the remains to the cemetery in his spring wagon. But when the funeral procession arrived the grave, which, was being dug by other neighbors, was not completed, so the casket was left by the unfinished grave and the friends departed. It was not until the Sun had set that Samuel Sweitzer and his helpers completed their task. The entire cost of the burial in 1899 was $20.00.

John A. Lichty, the originator of the "Blue House" lies buried in this cemetery.

Joe Forney, was the builder of the old church, and many bank barns. He's remembered as the owner of many dogs that were all named Fanny. There was Old Fanny and Young Fanny, Big Fanny and Little Fanny, but the were all Fanny.

Three doctors are buried in this cemetery:

Dr. Ed Blough, of Pennsylvania, died in Iowa City in 1888 of typhoid fever. He had been associated with Dr. Gabriel Beekley as a student, before going to Iowa City. His remains were brought to Dr. Beekley's , and since there was fear of contagion from the body of a typhoid victim, the casket was kept on the porch until funeral services were held.

Dr. John Gillin was born in 1851 and died in 1879.

Dr. W. H. Bickley, a well-known Waterloo physician, represents the fourth generation of the Abraham Bueghley family. His death occurred in 1942.

N. J. Miller, professor of science at Mt. Morris College, is interred here.

A bronze plaque commemorates the life of Anna Blough, missionary to China who died there in 1922.

A double plaque perpetuates the memory of Jennie Blough Miller and Mary Speichers Shull, foster sisters, both of who were missionaries and who passed away on the India field in 1932 and 1935.

Another bronze plaque honors the memory of Jack Graham who died in an airplane accident in Africa in World War II. His remains were brought here for reburial in 1949.

An urn containing the ashes of James Clark of California is interred here.

Sally Fike, whose life span was from 1823 to 1923, is the only centenarian buried in this cemetery.

Abrahsm Bueghley, born in 1780 has the birth date farthest in the past.

Six others have birth dates in the 1700's.

The names of Jacob Schrock and wife recall the incident of their walking from the Root River vicinity in Minnesota to Waterloo to look up prospects for a new location.

Samuel Smith, well known as a carpenter, as well as a farmer built many barns. Among them was the one on the Lester Parris farm, recently razed, for which he received $85.00 for his labor.

Jonas Sweitzer underwent an amputation of leg in his own .

Bessie Peifer, a promised bride, died of typhoid fever while attending Mt. Morris College.

Clair Grady met death by falling beneath the wheels of a wagon.

Kenneth McRoberts was run over by a truck.

O. B. Glossner's little son met death by strangling when he fell across a cord that held the drinking cup at the pump.

Nora Smith-Hillock died from childbirth among strangers in Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Nannie Glessner Wills was struck by lightning in a harvest field at her on the Blue House Road.

Mrs. Lloyd Miller died in Kentucky from injuries received in an auto accident, while returning from a visit in the south.

Milan Blough met death instantly in a motorcycle collision in 1946.

And thus we might continue. We have not touched upon the contributions toward church and community life made by many of these 675 personages whose remains are at rest here. That is another story. But may we who represent the present "so live that when our summons comes to join that innumerable caravan..." we too may "wrap the drapery of our couch about us and lie down to pleasant dreams."


Compiled by Mrs. W. O. Tannreuther -1935 Revised by Mrs. E. H. Snavely-May, 1950
Typed Transcription for Internet by Mrs. S. M. Picard - May, 1999
Re-formatted 4/2014 by K. Kittleson