job for not over one or two failed to grow after being set out. While a resident of the city Mr. Smelcer resided in what is now the park; his home stood a bit east of the present Allain greenhouse.
Daniel and William Bender were no doubt pleased with their new homes in the wilderness and wrote letters back to relatives in Pennsylvania telling them of the wonders in Wisconsin and more particular that area where the brothers settled, for in the fall of 1854, Peter Bender and wife, parents of Daniel and William, came, together with other sons and daughters; Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Bender; Elias Bender and family; Mrs. Elizabeth Shaffer and family; Jonas Bender and Hannah and Susanna Bender. There were 22 in the party. Next year Emanuel P. Bender arrived as did others; all settled in the town of Forest.
William Bender had in the mean time built a house for himself and family down the valley. In 1865 he enlisted in the Eleventh Regiment Wisconsin Infantry, entering service in February, and was mustered out in September. David Austin, who married Mary Bender, daughter of Daniel, also served in the Civil War; he was a member of Co. H 46th Wisconsin Infantry, of which Amasa Hoskins, Richland Center, was captain, and many Richland county men were members, one of them being Emmett Jaquish, the young lad from Ithaca, whose monument stands in the Neptune cemetery. Emmett died in Chicago of disease and his body was not returned home for burial This was told in a previous article concerning the Neptune cemetery. Mr. Austin and Mr. William Bender are buried in the Bender cemetery.
We were up to the Bender cemetery some time ago; along was David Bender and Frank C. Poynter both of Richland Center. Mr. Bender was born in Bender Hollow 83 years ago on December 29, 1872. His father was Jonas Bender, who came to Richland county and the town of Forest in the fall of 1854, with other members of the Bender family, some 22 in number. Jonas settled in Bender Hollow, his house being down the valley a bit below the Daniel Bender house. It was on this farm that David spent his early days, attended the old school and that old church. His mother died in 1885 and she was buried in the Bender cemetery by the side of a little daughter, Genevieve. The father of David went back to the east where he passed away in 1901 and was buried in Pennsylvania.
In the little cemetery there are the grandparents of Mr. Bender, numerous uncles, aunts and cousins, friends, and early day playmates. One of the pioneers to be buried in the Bender cemetery is Susanna Fall. Mrs. Fall, it may be said, never cooked upon a stove; all her cooking was done at the fireplace in the pioneer cabins.
In 1857, Adam Shambaugh,
an early day minister, organized the Bender class and the first place of
meeting was in the Bender log school house, and Rev. D. K. Young was the
first resident pastor. In 1890 a new church was dedicated on February 2nd.
This church remained in use until about 1953 when services were discontinued,
pews and furnishings being taken to the Viola church and placed in use.
The bell for the new church was given by Joseph Bender who owned a bell
foundry in Pennsylvania. Across the highway from the church is the Hopewell
cemetery, now used instead of the old Bender cemetery, a quarter of a mile
away. In the new cemetery are a number of the Bender families and early
settlers of the area.
A number of years ago we made a call at the old Bender home at the head of Bender Hollow. It as locust blossom time and the air was filled with the sweet fragrance of thousands upon thousands of locust blossoms as the hollow is filled with locust trees. On the farm were Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Fazel and their daughter Dorothy, a miss of nine or ten years of age. Dorothy acted as guide on a trip up to the hilltop cemetery and the old sheep shed nearby and other places of interest about the historical home. Miss Dorothy was an able guide for Mrs. Fogo and myself and we enjoyed visiting her mother, father and of course herself. On our recent visit to the Bender cemetery we went to the old house down in the hollow. The farm is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. George Mullendore and their two fine children, Vicki 7, and Kathy 4. Mrs. Mullendore proved to be Dorothy, the little girl who showed us about the farm years previous. Up to our visit at the farm with David Bender, we had not seen Dorothy since the day she was our guide about the farm. Also at the Mullendore home the day we were there was Mrs. Emmett Fazel, Dorothy's mother.
One odd fact we learned was that Vicki and Kathy, children of Mr. and Mrs. Mullendore, are the seventh generation of the Bender family to live in the old house, yet they are the first children to make it their home in 70 years. Believe it or not.
We are going again to the cemetery and old home next spring out Bender Hollow way in locust blossom time.
Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - February 23, 1956
Much ado is made over the fact that a Confederate spy, Belle Boyd, is buried in a cemetery at Wisconsin Dells. Each year a Confederate flag waves above the grave along with the Stars and Stripes. Flowers too grace her last resting place on Memorial Day.
No Confederate flag waves in the Richland Center cemetery on Memorial Day but flowers do grace the grave of a Confederate soldier who was laid to rest there in on January 27, 1882. The Confederate soldier was James Yancey and his grave is the first one on the left side of the west driveway at then entrance of the city cemetery. Each Memorial Day the Stars and Stripes wave over his grave and a bouquet of flowers are placed thereon.
"James Yancey," we read upon his tombstone, "was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, March 1, 1825, moved to Braxton county, West Virginia, in 1837; married, to Margaret Murphy April 26, 1863; moved to Richland county, Wisconsin, April 10, 1867, where he died January 25, 1882."
Underneath the above, upon the gravestone, is this: "Death, Thou are but another birth, Freeing the spirit from the clods of earth." A marker near the monument reads: "Confederate Soldier.". Upon the north side of the monument appears the memorial for Mrs. Yancey which reads as follows: "Margaret Murphy, born in Gilmer county, West Virginia, January 20, 1838, married to James Yancey in 1863; died in Richland Center, Wis., October 11, 1926."
"Oh! for the touch of a vanished hand and a sound of a voice that is still."
We wonder what brought James Yancey and his wife to Richland County so soon after the Civil War when the feeling between the north and south was still intense. Only two years had passed since the closing of the struggle until Mr. and Mrs. Yancey came to this county. According to the monument Mr. Yancey died in early 1882 and his wife passed on in 1926, a period of 44 years later. Besides the larger monument on the lot there are two smaller headstones; one upon which the word "James" appears and upon the other is "Margaret".
We wish that we knew more about the couple, where they lived when they first came to Richland county; what brought them here; had they children? Perhaps some of our readers could supply the information and we would be most thankful for it.
There is more than passing interest in the army life of AaRon (that is the way he wrote it) Sharp, of the town of Dayton. If you ever asked Mr. Sharp how he spelled his name he would say "big A, little a Ron," and that is the way it appears upon his tombstone in the Dayton Corners cemetery. Mr. Sharp had a long, long period of service as a member of Co. F, Second Regiment Wisconsin Cavalry. There were many Richland county men in Co. F and one of the captains was Francis M. Poynter, Richland Center, father of Frank Poynter, retired barber, now residing in Richland Center.
Roswell R. Hamilton of Dayton, was a 1st Lieutenant in Co. F. William M. Fogo, father of the author of this article, was a bugler in the regiment at one time.
When Mr. Sharp enlisted he did not know that his services would continue for quite some time. When the war ended and the members of Co. F were mustered out on November 15, 1865, Mr. Sharp appears to have been passed by for some reason or other. He, along with the others, returned to Richland county and took up peaceful occupations.
The next few years passed by and pensions were being talked of among the veterans. At last the day came for all who served to apply for a pension. Mr. Sharp applied for his and this started a long drawn out affair. The war department said that Mr. Sharp did not appear to have been a member of Co. F, and asked for his discharge papers or a copy of them. These he could not furnish as he did not receive any back on November 15, 1865. Letters went back and forth between Richland Center and Washington. Captain Poynter and other members of Co. F came to the aid of Mr. Sharp; Judge J. H. Miner, Richland Center, special pension agent, took a hand in the matter, all knowing that Mr. Sharp did serve in Co. F, and was entitled to a pension if anybody was. Time went by; more letters followed and at last the war department acknowledged its mistake, gave Mr. Sharp an honorable discharge and a pension. The date of the discharge was July 31, 1884, being dated back to 1865. Thus it was that Mr. Sharp no doubt, held the record for Civil War service; he served 20 years in a four years war.
Around him in the silent city of the dead out at Dayton Corners there are several of his comrades of the Civil War, government stones or metal G. A. R. emblems mark these graves. There is one marker in the cemetery for a boy in blue who did not come back home. He rests in the south. He died at Patterson, Missouri, of disease, on November 12, 1862. His name was Comfort Walker of the town of Dayton. A monument to his memory is in the cemetery at the side of the church. His age is given at 39 years, 8 months and 2 days, and he was a member of Co. D, llth Wisconsin Infantry; enlisting on September 12, 1861, from the town of Dayton, and died exactly 14 months later. Jesse S. Miller and Henry Toms were captains in Co. D; William Hill and George Dale, both of Richland Center, were first lieutenants; William H. Dawson, Orion, Richard Caddell, Marshall, and James S. Robinson, Eagle, second lieutenants. Richard Caddell is another Richland county boy who never came back to the hills and valleys of Richland county as he was killed in battle April 19, 1865, at Blakley, Alabama.
Mr. Walker had much to do with the early days in Dayton, coming there in 1854 and settled on the northeast quarter of section 25, where he erected a log house and kept tavern. In 1857 he moved to Dayton Corners where he built a large house and also kept a tavern there. He was a native of the state of New York. It was in 1857 that the town of Dayton was organized and at the first election Mr. Walker was chosen as assessor. A small village was established at Dayton Corners, the name having been given the place by Lorenzo Woodman and James Hofus, who laid out the site. A post office was established under the name of Ripley with Lorenzo Woodman as postmaster, who served until his death and then Comfort Walker became the postmaster and he was succeeded by James Hofus, and the office finally was discontinued. The first school at Dayton Corners was taught in 1857 by Eliza Bevir in a house owned by Comfort Walker. When the Civil War broke out Comfort Walker was one of the first to answer the call, enlisting as stated above, in 1861. He is listed as being a wagoner. His service was of short duration but his memory will long linger in the minds and hearts of his fellow countrymen.
Tales The Tombstone Tell - Republican Observer - March 15, 1956
Some weeks ago we published a few items from the record book kept by J. S. McKinney, early Richland county settler. Mr. McKinney, who lived at Excelsior, or nearby, was a farmer, carpenter and undertaker.
Mr. McKinney mentions in the book among others, the Duncan, Coates, and Hanson cemeteries. These now go under different names and to connect them with present day names we print a list of those buried in the cemeteries as named by Mr. McKinney in his record book. In this manner it might be possible to locate the burying grounds.
let us take the Duncan cemetery. In it are buried:
Samuel Gobin, 90 years of age, who died on February 3, 1899.
Ed Buchanan, died February 20, 1899, aged 82. Mr. Buchanan, the
record states, passed away with la grippe and old age.
Mrs. Janet Carland passed away with consumption on May 2, 1903.
Mrs. J. H. Persinger, 81, died on October 23, 1899.
the Coates cemetery Mr. McKinney, names quite a few who are buried there.
James Slane, 52, died of Bright's disease on July 7, 1899.
Heigh Beebee, Feb. 22, 1900.
John Flinn, 79, Nov. 22, 1899.
Nancy Davis, 81, died April 3, 1901.
Edith Flin, 7, Dec. 17, 1901, died of lung fever.
Wm. Finnell also died of lung fever at the age of 72. His death
took place March 2, 1902.
in the Hanson cemetery are H. P. Turkleson, 82, who died of old age on
Oct. 4, 1900.
John Torgeson, 77, passed on January 23, 1900.
These two are the only ones Mr. McKinney has listed as buried in the Hanson cemetery.
Some one may be able to tell us where the Duncan, Hanson and Coates cemeteries are located. They are no doubt in the town of Richwood.
According to the record book extension handles on the caskets cost from $15 to $40. Varnished cases $5 to $23; outside boxes $2 to $4, and you could get a burglar proof grave vault from $40 to $60.
One of the fates of life is that when the final end of Mr. McKinney's long life came he was laid to rest in his own cemetery and it was, we believe, still owned by a son John of Excelsior, until his death just recently. This cemetery carries the name "Haskins." It is a part of the Haskins cemetery, an old, old burial ground south of Excelsior. The highway separates the old portion from the new; it is in the new portion that Mr. McKinney was laid to rest. The new part is on the north side of the highway.
How come it was owned by Mr. McKinney? The story runs something like this:
original Haskins cemetery over the years became crowded and Mr. McKinney
set aside a plot of land where future burials could be made. He expected
the Haskins cemetery association to take over the new portion but they
never got around to it and so the cemetery remained his property. It is
a public cemetery and while burials are not so frequent they are still
made there and probably it too will in the years to come be filled with
the folks who pass on. Excelsior has no cemetery of its own.