Family Cemeteries
of Pioneer Days

Lehfeldt Cemetery

An old cemetery where three members of the same family were buried in pioneer days still remains on the Dennis Sonnichsen farm in section 27 of Otter Creek Township. Known as the Rudolph Lehfeldt Cemetery, it is located about 20 rods [330 feet or about 100 yards] to the west of the southeast corner of the section and contains the unmarked graves of Rudolph Lehfeldt's wife and his two young daughters, both victims on diptheria. In bygone years, it is said, the graves of the mother and the little girls were occasionally decorated with wild flowers picked on the prairie by children of the neighborhood. Rudolph Kehfeldt at one time owned a total of 520 acres of land in sections 22 and 27 of Otter Creek Township, which he had purchased from the Providence Western Land Company in August 18, 1870. Rudolph Lehfeldt devoted much of his attention to sheepraising, an endeavor for which he became widely known. In 1885, the Lehfeldt famiiy moved to Billings, Montana , where Mr Lehfeldt operated a sheep ranch. The Lehfeldts returned to Otter Creek Township in 1890. In 1891, they moved to the Denison community where he conhtined the sheep business. Mr. Lehfeldts's first wife was Mary Witt, who died in the early 1870;s. Next he was married to Mary Schrader. After her death, he was unnited in marriage to Sophia Leptien.

There is also an old cemetery on the Lewis Schmidt farm (E 1/2 of the SW 1/4 of secion 27 of Otter Creek Township) where Virgil Schmidt now resides. The cemetery lies near the middle of and next to the west line fence of the farm and contains perhaps six or seven graves. Those buried in the cemetery include Jurgen Hammann and his niece Baby Sophia Hammann, an elderly womann whose identity is unknown, and three of four infant children of Carl Witt. In olden days, there was a large tree which stood in the middle of the cemetery and shaded the grave plots. The cemetery was called the Carl Witt Cemetery, although Jurgen Hammann was the first farmer who owned the E 1/2 of the SW 1/4 of section 27 of Otter Creek Township, having acquired this ground from the Providence Western Land Company on February 22, 1878.

An early settler whose name was Robinson is said to be buried approximately in the center of section 12 of Morgan Township. On the former Henry Kuehl farm, SW 1/4 of section 5 of Morgan Township, an infant brother and sister of Henry Kuehl was buried near the residence. Mr. Kuehl's parents, Hans and Doris, planted a snowball bush as a marker on their baby's grave.

It was not unusual for the settler to bury a deceased member of his family near his home. Burials were made at home most often when the death came as the result of a contagious disease or when the roads were impassable because of snow or mud.

From Schleswig Leader February 21, 1974


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