JEFFERSON COUNTY CEMETERIES
ARTICLE # 1
by Verda Baird
Reprinted with the permission of The Fairfield Ledger
(Underlining done by this editor)
CEMETERY HOPPING WITH VERDA BAIRD
Picture book project grows into report on county’s 78 cemeteries
This is the first in a series of six articles about Jefferson County cemeteries written by local genealogist Verda Baird.
This all started Sept. 3. It was to just be a picture book of the entrance gates to all 78 cemeteries in Jefferson County for the Fairfield Public Library. However, it grew to include the following: township, section, name of cemetery, burial dates, condition of the graves and whether it was mowed.
I, as chairwoman of the project, am pleased to report that my friend Wilma Lewis and I are making great progress.
There are 48 cemeteries considered to be “pioneer cemeteries” in the county. A pioneer cemetery is one that has had fewer than six burials in the past 50 years. Some of the oldest in Jefferson County have had no burials since 1900.
I have taken photos of stones for out-of-state researchers as far back as 26 years ago and the county has done little to reset fallen stones. Yet there is clean-up work going on in several, mostly by unpaid volunteers.
Lewis and I visited 13 Lockridge Township Cemeteries to start and details follow. It takes walking in each cemetery to realize how many stones are flat and nearly covered with grass.
The 13 cemeteries we visited included and their conditions were:
- Section 7, Chilcott, burials 1845-1903; an overgrown mess, made no attempt to climb the fence to find any of the stones, just looked in.
- Section 17, Berry/Peterson, burials 1841-1916; has had work in the past five years, but more is needed so that the entire cemetery can be mowed. Seventeen stones need repairs.
- Section 18, Salina Cemetery, burials 1895-present; nicely mowed, all stones neat.
- Section 21, Sweden Lutheran, burials 1854-present; nicely mowed, all stones neat.
- Section 21, New Sweden Methodist, burials 1852-present; nicely mowed. Members did some restoration work in the past four years, but more needs to be done. Eighteen stones were flat on the ground or leaning.
- Section 22, Swedish Baptist, burials 1855-1911. See St. John Lutheran, below.
- Section 22, St. John Lutheran, burials 1901-1969; Swedish Baptist and St. John Lutheran are together on the big curve west of Four Corners. Mowing is done primarily around the stones, but the brush growing around the graves needs to be cut back and controlled.
- Section 22, Four Corners German Lutheran, burials 1875-1915; east of Four Corners, nicely mowed; nine stones flat on the ground.
- Section 27, Hopkirk Cemetery, burials 1847-1896; back in a pasture, through four gates – two that are padlocked, one that will open, and one that won’t because of a tree that grew in the entranceway. An overgrown mess since before 1972 when cattle got in it. Fallen trees, poison ivy, brush and vines are on 55 known gravestones, but we couldn’t find them all.
- Section 31, Union Cemetery, burials 1837-present; nicely mowed, stones very neat.
- Section 32, Bonnifield Cemetery, burials 1839-1846; cleaned up as a Bicentennial Project, then fell into neglect until a 4-H Club cleaned it up again in 1987. It is mowed periodically. Tree sprouts outside the fence were allowed to grow and are now tall with mis-shapen branches on two sides of the cemetery.
- Section 34, Lockridge Cemetery, burials 1848-present; nicely mowed, stones very neat.
- Section 35, Hopkirk Family Stone, burials 1875 and 1901; in a neatly mowed yard of a farm home at the east edge of Lockridge on 218th Street.
The Fairfield Ledger – Page 3 – Tuesday, June 18, 2002
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