IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
updated 8/20/2016



McCleland Family Cemetery

Sec. 33, Garnavillo twp.



Burials
General history
Detailed history & commentary
copyright Julia Coughlin, photographer, 2016 - used with permission



McClelland, James A.

1792 04/20/1851* h/o Juliet; Veteran War of 1812
Note: the WPA record incorrectly recorded his DOD as 04/16/1852

McClelland, Juliet G. nee Oliphant

1799 01/28/1855 w/o James



General history of the cemetery
~compiled by S. Ferrall, August 2014

The cemetery is on the land originally owned by James A. McClelland. Land patent records indicate the James A. McCleland as owner of ENW, Section 33, patent issued 01/01/1846; and Juliet G. McClelland as owner of NESE, Section 27, patent issued 01/02/1848. Both were cash sale homesteads. (BLM - General Land Office Records, online database)

Notes written by the WPA worker who recorded the graves in this cemetery indicate that they were in a field near the road on the Oscar Pufahl farm. According to old maps, the Oscar Pufahl farm was in Garnavillo twp., section 33.

The book Garnavillo, Iowa, Gem of The Prairie, by Roggman, 1988 gives the cemetery location: "....on a farm presently owned by Valmah Brandt. The land was for many years known as the Pufahl Farm." and that it is approximately 2 blocks west of Hwy 52, with the large trees marking the cemetery "readily seen from the road". Roggman also indicates that stones form a wall around the cemetery.



McCleland Family Cemetery - burial place of James A. McCleland & Juliet G. (Oliphant) McCleland
~compiled by Nancy English Bleil, great-great granddaughter of James A. & Juliet G. McClelland, August 2016
(Note: the comments in parentheses are by Nancy English Bleil)

April 20, 1851 - James A. McCleland dies.
January 28, 1855 - Juliet G. (Oliphant) McCleland dies.

James and Juliet are both buried in the McCleland Cemetery, a private family cemetery on the eighty acres that James purchased on January 1, 1846.

copyright Julia Coughlin, photographer, 2016 - used with permission
Gravestone of James A. McClelland
copyright Julia Coughlin, photographer, 2016 - used with permission
Gravestone of Juliet G. (Oliphant) McCleland



During the 1930’s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers compiled an Iowa Graves Survey. Notes written by the WPA worker indicate the graves were in a field near the road on the Oscar Pufahl farm in Garnavillo twp., section 33.

“The book Garnavillo, Iowa, Gem of The Prairie, by Roggman, 1988 gives the cemetery location: ‘....on a farm presently owned by Valmah Brandt. The land was for many years known as the Pufahl Farm.’ and that it is approximately two blocks west of Hwy 52, with the large trees marking the cemetery ‘readily seen from the road.’ Roggman also indicates that stones form a wall around the cemetery.” (transcription by S. Ferrall in the General History of the cemetery)

In 1957 Marion Nancy English of Chillicothe, Ohio (James and Juliet’s great-granddaughter) wrote:
“I found a letter today written to my grandmother Quigley (Anna Woodbridge McClelland Quigley was one of James and Juliet’s daughters) from a kind neighbor friend of her mothers telling her about the sudden death (January 28, 1855) and burial of Great-Grandmother Juliet McCleland. What I would think was pneumonia. It is a beautiful letter and beautifully written. Only one daughter could attend the funeral.” (Marion does not name the daughter.)

“When the farm was later sold, my grandmother went there and had a stone wall built around these graves with an iron fence on top of it.” (This wall is most likely what is referenced in the1988 book, Garnavillo, Iowa, Gem of The Prairie.) “Roggman also indicates that stones form a wall around the cemetery.”

(Marion’s grandmother Anna Woodbridge McClelland married George Washington Quigley in Clayton County, Iowa on October 25, 1854. After the wedding, they traveled to Amherst, Ohio to George’s family home to make their home.)

Marion’s letter continues:
“The owner of the farm at that time was a great big kindly man named John C. Bierbaum. Both Unk (Robert Burns Quigley - born in 1871) and Mom (Emily Elizabeth Quigley- born in 1865) as young kids accompanied their mother (Anna) to visit the spot after the wall and fence were in place. Both remembered well the great kindness of the big man. (John C. Bierbaum)

This biography of Bierbaum from an 1882 book about Clayton County notes:
“John C. Bierbaum, farmer, section 33, Garnavillo Township, was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1828. He left his native country for America in 1845, and located in the State of Ohio, where he resided until 1846, when he became a resident of Clayton County. (source: History of Clayton County, Iowa. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882, p. 803 - transcribed by Sally Scarff and Marlene Chaney) (Note: the 1882 bio states he purchased the 80 acres from McClelland in Oct. 1851, but the land records (below) have a date in Mar. 1862, it's possible there was another transaction of some sort during that decade)

The land records at the Clayton County Recorder’s office show that on March 29, 1862* (see Note in above paragraph), James and Elizabeth McClelland Davis sold the eighty acres in Section 33 to John Bierbaum. He also purchased the forty acres in Section 27.
(source: Book T, Page 494, 27-93-3, 33-93-3)

When James and Elizabeth McClelland Davis sold the land in Section 33 where the McCleland Cemetery is located, they made sure that the gravesite of James A McClelland was protected and accessible. It is curious that no mention is made of Juliet’s gravesite.

The following selections from the official document describe the land transfer:

“Know all Men by these Presents that James Davis and Elizabeth his wife of Clayton County and State of Iowa in consideration of the sum of Two Thousand Six Hundred Dollars in hand paid by John Christopher Bierbaum of the County and State aforesaid, do herby sell and convey in to said Johan Christopher Bierbaum and to his heirs and assigns the following described premises…of Section twenty–seven…and of Section thirty–three… Reserving from the last described piece (Section thirty-three), one eighth of an acre of land in square form, the headstone of the grave of James A. McClelland being the center, together with right of agress and egress to and from the same at all times….”

Signed 20th day of March 1862
James Davis Elizabeth Davis
Filed for record June 26, 1862
(source = Book T, Page 494, 27-93- 3, 33-93-3)

2016 - The McCleland Cemetery – Commentary

In March 2016, I contacted June Wolter, Assistant Librarian at the Garnavillo Public Library and inquired if there was a McCleland Cemetery. She suggested that I contact Julia Coughlin who lives next to the cemetery.

Julia described how over the years the cemetery had gone into disrepair – the tombstones had fallen over, the wall had begun to crumble and the tree roots were causing the earth to buckle.

copyright Julia Coughlin, photographer, 2016 - used with permission
Remnants of the stone wall surrounding the cemetery


copyright Julia Coughlin, photographer, 2016 - used with permission

Julia arranged for the tombstones to be set upright in concrete.

James A McCleland is visible on his tombstone but much of the rest of the inscription has worn away. I calculated his birth year (1790) from his 1851 application for a Bounty Land Warrant. The application states that he was sixty-years old on February 4, 1851. Juliet recorded his date of death (April 20, 1851) at the Office of the District Court in Garnavillo on May 3, 1851. (source: McClelland documents)

Juliet’s tombstone is not as worn. It reads:

JULIET Wife of James A. McCleland. DIED Jan. 28, 1855. Aged 56 Y

Thus, she was born in 1799.

Myra Voss of the Clayton County Pioneer Cemetery Commission said that they had installed the McCleland Cemetery sign in about 2004.

Julia sent me photos of the remnants of the stone wall that Anna Woodbridge Quigley had had built sometime after her mother’s death in 1855. She also sent photos of the tombstones; the large tree; and, most impressive of all, the tall entry gate with the name McCleland spelled out.

Julia Coughlin runs a Bed and Breakfast – The Red Brick Inn in Garnavillo, Iowa. Someday I hope to stand at her front door and look across the field at the McCleland Cemetery gate.

~All of the cemetery pictures were taken by Julia Coughlin, proprietor of the Red Brick Inn Bed & Breakfast, Garnavillo.
Permission was granted by Julia to Nancy Bleil to have the photos posted on the Clayton Co. IAGenWeb site.

 

~Note: the surname is found spelled McClelland, McCleland and other variations, depending on the record.

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