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Old Burial Ground Is Historical One


Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 5/27/2011 at 19:37:42

Perry Daily Chief, Aug. 2, 1912


C.L. Lucas Tells of Famous Old Place Near Elk Rapids Which Milwaukee Road Is Moving

C.L. Lucas, the pioneer of Boone County and Madrid tells an interesting story of the old cemetery which the Milwaukee railroad is moving to make way for its mammoth bridge across the Des Moines River.

"It was the first spot of ground dedicated to a cemetery in Boone County," says Mr. Lucas. "The much decayed old fence that surrounds it, encloses less than two acres of land. To look at it now one is forced to the conclusion that it is a sadly neglected cemetery. It has never been taken charge of by any association of people for its care and protection. It is not known that it was ever so much as platted."

But notwithstanding all this neglect the remains of many prominent people rest within its borders. Of those he mentioned Benjamin Williams the man who donated the land on which the cemetery is located. Judge Montgomery McCall who was prominent in those early times. Joseph Bernico, John and Albert Williams, Joshua Wheeler and L.L. Wheeler, and three soldiers of the civil war, Isaac Hughes, Robert Robinson and John Gulick.

"The first burial in this cemetery was that of Mrs. Elsie Williams, wife of Benjamin Williams, who died June 10, 1847. Mr. and Mrs. Williams settled on a claim here in the spring of 1816. John Green and his band of Mesquake Indians were camped on the claim he took when Mr. Williams and his family arrived. They had just finished making maple sugar for that year. Their sap troughs became the property of Mr. Williams which he used for a number of years. When the land came into the market about the year 1850, Mr. Williams bought it of the government at $1.25 per acre. It recently sold for $200 per acre."

"When Mr. Williams sold his farm to John Dalander some time in the sixties he reserved the cemetery. The title to it is now in his heirs."

"It is now very necessary that an association be formed and a quit claim deed be made to it by the heirs, so that the association may look after and take care of the cemetery. This is an absolute necessity."

"Some time ago a Perry paper seemed to be puzzled because the name Elk Rapids is applied to this cemetery. This comes from the fact that there is a rapids in the river nearby, which has from the earliest white settlement borne the name of Elk Rapids. The wild elk which were very numerous were in the habit of crossing the river at the rapids because the water was shallow there and from this the name originated."


Boone Documents maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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