updated 02/19/2021

Pioneer Catholic Cemetery
(aka Humphrey cemetery)

Historical information about the cemetery & a burial list

Birdseye of the Pioneer Catholic cemetery is from Bing Maps
Birdseye of the cemetery is courtesy of Bing Maps

The cemetery is located in Monona township, Sec. 27 on 145th St. To reach the cemetery from Monona, take Hwy 18, west to Echo Ave., turn south traveling to 125th St. Turn west a short distance to Eagle Ave. Turn south on Eagle Ave. traveling to 135th St.. Turn east and travel to Essex Ave. turning south to 145th St. Turn right on 145th and travel to the cemetery. Interested persons should be aware that some of the bodies originally interred in the cemetery were moved to other cemeteries, and no gravestones are in the cemetery any longer. The historical information below will be of interest.


The Monona Leader, Thursday, December 7, 1939
Father Donlon Has Restored Ancient Burial Ground

Many citizens near and far are interested in the oldest Catholic Cemetery of Monona where many of their relatives and friends are buried. It dates back to 1852, and has some 87 years of history. If you examine the names listed below, you will find many that played a prominent part in the early history of Monona. They are the sturdy Pioneers who suffered many privations and toiled and sweat that their children may enjoy peace and plenty. Surely their names will be held in benediction by all who recall their worth and character.

The Pastor of St. Patrick's Church has asked all the friends and relatives of those who are buried in this Pioneer Cemetery to donate a tree for this burial place in memory of the dead and the beautification of "God's Acre". Who will donate a tree? Let us hear.

Names of Donors of Trees for Pioneer Cemetery on Humphrey Estate:
Louis J. Humphrey, $10.00; Peter H. Humphrey, $5.00; Anna Humphrey, $5.00; Mrs. James Carroll, $5.00; James T. Humphrey, $3.00; Emily Humphrey, $3.00; Mayme Humphrey, $3.00; Anton Tayek, $3.00; Simon Moses, $3.00; Mrs. John Moses, $3.00; Mrs. Albert Moses, $3.00; Mrs. Edw. Ryan, $3.00; Jermier Brothers, $3.00.

[There followed a list of those buried in the Cemetery. They were added the burial list below by the transcriber, and noted to have been on the 1939 list of burials]

~Transcribed by S. Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb, April 2018

The Monona Leader, Thursday, March 12, 1953
Old Cemetery Is Restored

The Catholic Pioneer cemetery of Monona is one of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in this part of the state. It is now a century old, dating back to 1852. Peter O'Malley was the first Catholic family to locate in this territory and the second, the Humphreys, Michael and Richard, who came from Wisconsin in November, 1852. They had land grants issued to the Veterans of the Mexican war. They made claims to 320 acres, which has since been known as the Humphrey homestead and is located 4 miles southwest of Monona.

See that there was no Catholic cemetery closer than Prairie du Chien the people were in great straights for burial ground. Then Michael Humphrey and his wife donated about an acre of their farm near the highway for use as a cemetery. Many people from all parts of this territory were buried in this cemetery until the Catholic church was built in Monona. Since then only one has been interred in this ground.

Because of this change, the cemetery was uncared for and got to be in very sad condition. Graves caved in, some had removed the bodies to other cemeteries, and the ground filled with holes and mounds so that it became very difficult to do any work on it. Whatever work that was done had to be done by the Humphreys, who donated the ground in the first place.

Father Luke Donlon surveyed the cemetery ground at St. Patrick's church in Monona and issued plats and lined up the monuments in it. He next restored the Bohemian cemetery. After that work was completed he gave his attention to the much neglected Pioneer Humphrey cemetery. He asked his people to donate their services in order to make this plot of ground worthy of the dead. It required much labor before it was leveled and put in shape for seeding.

Norway spruce trees were planted around this ground which today are an ornament and abeauty. The last thing to be done was the erection of a life-sized statue of christ in the center of the cemetery, given by the late P.H. Humphrey as a symbol of salvation in honor of his parents and other members of the parish. This work has been completed just recently and makes the cemetery complete and a place of honor and respect for the dead as well as a credit to the parish.

The roster of the people buried in Pioneer cemetery is as follows:
[the names were added to the burial list (below) by the transcriber & noted as being on the 1953 roster]

~Transcribed by S. Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb, April 2018

Mildred Hall's notes on the Pioneer cemetery

The Pioneer Catholic Cemetery, located four miles southwest of Monona, is one of the oldest Catholic cemeteries in this part of the state, dating back to the pastorate of the Rev. Richard Nagle.

Because there was no Catholic cemetery closer than Prairie du Chien, the people were in great straits for burial ground. Michael Humphrey and his wife donated about an acre of their farm for use as a cemetery. Many people from all parts of this territory were buried in this cemetery until a few years after the second St. Richard's, now St. Patrick's Church was built.

In recent years, Norway spruce trees were planted around this cemetery. The last thing to be done was the erection of a life-sized corpus of Christ on the Cross in the center of the cemetery. This statue was donated by the late P. H. Humphrey as a symbol of salvation in honor of his parents and other members of the parish.

In the recent past, someone decided to "fix up" the cemetery and removed all the gravestones but one.

~Notes were contributed by Mildred Hall (the date these notes were contributed to the website is unknown)


Burial List

Sources used to compile the list of burials:
1) Burials contributed by Mildred Hall (her source is unknown)
2) WPA cemetery records as transcribed by Phyllis Montour
3) Burial's given in the two Monona Leader articles (1939 & 1953) transcribed above
4) Obituaries


Name Birth Death Notes & Source
no surname, baby   - 1939 article
Ambrose, Albert   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Canty, Jeremiah   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Coffey, Mathew   1854 1939 & 1953 articles
Coffey, Patrick   1853 1939 article: "first burial", 1953 article
Condon, Michael   1862 1939 & 1953 articles
Dinnene, Mary   1875 1939 article = Dinnene; 1953 article = Dineene
Engler, no first name   - 1939 & 1953 articles: "Mr. Engler"
Griffin, Michael   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Griffin, no first name   - 1939 & 1953 articles: "Mrs. Michael Griffin"
Henderson, Edward   1876 1939 & 1953 articles
Henderson, John   1876 1939 & 1953 articles
Henderson, Lois or Louis   - 1939 article = Lois; 1953 article = Louis
Humphrey, Alice   1865 1939 & 1953 articles
Humphrey, James   1860 1939 & 1953 articles
Humphrey, Lawrence 1825 07/15/1900 h/o Mary Fleming; obituary
Humphrey, Mary   1875 1939 & 1953 articles
Humphrey, Mary nee McGuire   1905 1939 & 1953 articles: "Mary McGuire", correct surname added by S. Ferrall
Humphrey, Michael 09/29/1830 10/17/1900 1939 & 1953 articles; obituary = h/o Mary McGuire
Humphrey, Richard   1867 1939 & 1953 articles
Irwin, Edward   1901 1939 & 1953 articles: DOD possibly an error, this may be same as Edward who died in 1907
Irwin, Edward 03/19/1839 09/11/1907 obituary
Irwin, John   1887 1939 & 1953 articles
Irwin, Margaret   1887 1939 & 1953 articles
James, Albert   1879 1939 & 1953 articles
Jermier, Vincil   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Kennedy, Margaret   1869 1939 & 1953 articles
Korte, Charles   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Lee, Charles   1873 or 1875 1939 article = 1873; 1953 article = 1875
Lestina, Frank   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Lestina, Mary   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Lestina, Thomas   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Listen / Liston, Henry   1873 1939 article = Liston; 1953 article = Listen
Looney, Andrew   - 1939 & 1953 articles
McCarthy, Anna   1870 1939 & 1953 articles
McGovern, Hugh   - 1953 article
McGuire, Bridget   1879 w/o Phillip; burial in Pioneer is assumed, but not verified
McGuire, Phillip   09/17/1874 h/o Bridget; 1939 & 1953 articles
Manning, Mike   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Mitchel, John   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Mitchel, no first name   - 1939 article: "Mrs. John Mithel"; 1953 article = "Mrs. J. Mitchel"
Montour, Irene   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Montour, Mary   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Montour, Peter   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Quinn, Timothy ca1800 1870 WPA, 1939 & 1953 articles; 1860 U.S. census, Monona: age 60y
Roach, Michael   1874 1939 & 1953 articles
Roach, Thomas   1880 1939 & 1953 articles
Ryan, baby   1865 1939 & 1953 articles
Ryan, Anna   1876 1953 article
Ryan, Bridget   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Ryan, Frank   1876 1939 article: smudged, first name appears to be Frank
Ryan, John   - 1939 article
Ryan, Mary   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Ryan, James   1863 1939 & 1953 articles
Ryan, William   - 1953 article
Skelly, Patrick   1866 1939 & 1953 articles
Tayek, Mary   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Thill, Christopher   - 1939 & 1953 articles
Welsh, Joseph   1879 1939 & 1953 articles
White, Eliza Jane or Jane Eliza   1871 1939 & 1953 articles
White, John   1871 1939 & 1953 articles
White, John T.   1882 1939 & 1953 articles
White, Margaret   1938 1939 & 1953 articles


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