Jasper Co. IAGenWeb

Pioneer Cemeteries

Jasper County, Iowa

About Pioneer Cemeteries

Question: What is a pioneer cemetery?

Answer: Iowa law defines a "Pioneer Cemetery" as one in which there have been no more then twelve (12) burials in the past 50 years. (Used to be six burials, law changed in 2009 to 12 burials)

Question: Where are Pioneer Cemeteries?

Answer: All over the United States. As people traveled westward, they needed to bury family members and strangers who died of disease, childbirth, injury or just old age. Because cemeteries hadn't been established, people selected their own burial spots and the many of the sites eventually grew into a large or small burial ground.

Many of these burial sites are in wooded areas or on pastures, and usually difficult to get to because of the advance of civilization. Others of these burial sites grew into larger community cemeteries that are still in use today.

Question: Who takes care of Pioneer Cemeteries?

Answer: Some are cared for by the trustees of the township in which the cemetery is located and others by civic organizations like Kiwanis, grange, 4-H clubs or church groups. However many of these cemeteries have simply been forgotten and have grown up to weed patches.

In 1996 Iowa joined other states in passing legislation regarding Pioneer Cemeteries. Essentially the law defines Pioneer Cemetery and authorizes the County Board of Supervisors to appoint a Cemetery Commission of volunteers to assume jurisdiction and management of the Pioneer Cemeteries in the county. This law and further explanation is located on the State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries web site.

About Jasper County Cemetery Commission

Question: Does Jasper County have a Pioneer Cemetery Commission?

Answer: Yes. Jasper County has had a cemetery commission for a number of years. However the Commission was given the responsibilities for Pioneer Cemeteries when the state passed legislation to set up the Pioneer Cemetery Commissions.

Current (2015) members of the commission are:

Work of the Jasper Co. Cemetery Commission

  1. One of the first jobs of the commission was to identify the Pioneer Cemeteries in the county. A listing of those cemeteries is below.
  2. The commission then made signs for each cemetery. See examples on the cemetery pages.
  3. The commission sets "clean up" days at the Pioneer Cemeteries to do general clean up. Even though it's usually commission members who attend, anyone is welcome to help.
  4. In between clean-up days, smaller groups of commission members work on other maintenance issues.
  5. Restoration projects.

Pioneer Cemeteries in Jasper County

Buena Vista Township
Jasper Co. Burying Ground
Adamson Grove
Saum Cemetery
Des Moines Township
Prairie Belle
Elk Creek Township
Fairview Township
Independence Township
Kellogg Township
Pleasant View
Lynn Grove Township
Mariposa Township
German Society Methodist
Mound Prairie Township
Mound Prairie/Greenlief
Newton Township
Pleasant Chapel
Poweshiek Township
Rock Creek Township
West Westfield
Mormon Grave

This site designed and maintained by Barbara Lane Hug, Cemetery Commissioner. Updated March 2005, July 3, 2009, August 2009, June 2015