Tales The Tombstone Tell Columns
from the Republican Observer
Written by S. W. Fogo
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Tales The Tombstones Tell  -  Republican Observer  -  July 5, 1956

Bear Valley Cemetery
 Some time in 1860 a cemetery association with A. G. Burnham, as president;. J. G. Carpenter, as treasurer, and J. M. Thomas, secretary, was formed and a cemetery laid out in what was then the town of Ithaca, now Buena Vista, in Bear Valley. It is called the Bear Valley cemetery. A church, known now as the Brown Church, stands in the burying ground. The church building was erected in 1874.  The Rev. S. B. Loomis was one of the first if not the first, minister to preach there.
 The Bear Valley cemetery is well kept and contains the remains of many of the men and women who resided in that area and brought the surrounding countryside from a wilderness into one of the finest sections of Richland county.
 Upon the monuments and stones appear the names of many of the well known folks who rest beneath the sod. Carswell, Burnham, Smith, Thomas, Hardenberg, Clements, Eaton, Goodrich, Earll, Reynolds, Ellsworth, Winterburn, Beckwith and Davis are just a few.

 The earliest date of a birth is upon the stone of Lucretta Judd, widow of Enoch Judd, who was born March 5, 1797. She died in February, 1867.

 There are a number of Civil War veterans and a few World War I and II buried at this cross roads burying ground. Joseph A. Stocks who died in May, 1937, and Leland Smith who passed on in 1939 are two of the World War I soldiers in the cemetery. There may be others. John Price, who died in 1872 has a GAR marker on his grave.

 On the stone of Robert Keppert it says: "Robert Keppert, born in Germany, November 2, 1838; came to America in 1851, and settled in Richland county in 1860. Enlisted November 14, 1863, in Co. F 2nd Wisconsin cavalry and served until the close of the war. Died March 17, 1903. Weep Not He is at Rest."
 On the opposite side of the stone is the inscription for his wife. It reads:
 "Elizabeth Cheney, born in England, April 5, 1844. Came with her parents to America and settled at Muskegon, Mich., where she was married to Robert Keppert February 18, 1859; died on February 18, 1903. In after time we'll meet her."

 Walter J. Davis is another well known Bear Valley citizen to rest in this cemetery which is not far from his former home. His tombstone reads:
  "Walter J. Davis - 1854-1932
          His Wives
  Carrie A.  -  1858-1876.
  Lizzie J.  -  1859-1923."
 Mr. Davis' father, Abijah S. Davis, came to Buena Vista in 1853. He was born in Canada, August 2, 1824, residing there for 16 years, came to Dane county, Wisconsin, and then went to California in search of gold and was quite successful. He was married to Thankful A. Breese a native of Canada. Both Mr. and Mrs. Abijah S. Davis are buried in the Bear Valley cemetery, as well as the son, Walter J., mentioned above.

 Two men who won high offices, are buried in this cemetery. J. M.  Thomas and William Dixon, both serving as assemblymen. Mr. Thomas came to Richland county in 1857 and purchased 80 acres of land. He was elected to the assembly in 1869, 1878 and in 1879. He was born in New York in 1829. William Dixon, also an assemblyman, was a native of England, born in 1808, came with his parents to America in 1817. He learned the weaver's trade from his father, worked in a cotton goods factory, and on the Erie canal, came to Richland county in 1854. He was elected assemblyman in 1858 and again in 1872. He died at the age of 79 and his wife passed on in 1895 aged 86.

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 Another early day settler in Bear Valley was Horace L. Burnham, who came to this county from Vermont in 1856. His first home on Bear Creek was a log cabin with a sod roof. He was born in 1828. His wife was the former Susan Lowell, born in Vermont in 1830. Mr. Burnham served as county treasurer of Richland county four years. Two of his sons, Frank W. Burnham and John W. became prominent in the affairs of Richland Center. F. W. was an attorney and John W. a druggist. Still in operation is the Burnham drug store which he owned for many years prior to his death.
 Benjamine Winterburn, buried in the Bear Valley cemetery, first saw the light of day near London, England, March 1, 1830, and with his parents came to America in 1835. In 1856 he was married to Mary J. Phillips and in 1857 they came to Richland county. Mrs. Winterburn died in 1872.
 Prominent in the affairs of that area surrounding the cemetery were the Carswell family, a number of whom now rest in the quiet cemetery close to the road. George J. Carswell, a native of Otsego, New York, was born in 1823, and resided in New York until 1853. Few among the pioneers of Richland county have been more successful than Mr. Carswell. He began life a poor man but soon secured much land, money and above all, friends. His farm at one time contained 400 acres of rich land. He was an extensive breeder of Devon cattle and had a herd of 100 head. Mr. and Mrs. Carswell had three children, John A., Fred E., and George A.
 John A. Carswell was born on the home farm in 1854 and devoted his time to dairying, like his father. Fred E. also was born on the home farm and he too made dairying his occupation for many years. He later moved to Richland Center, became a state dairy inspector. The Carswell family were pioneers in the dairy industry in Richland county.
 John H. Carswell was another of the family to settle in Richland county from New York. He first came in 1853 but did not make permanent settlement until 1864. He was born in 1815. He was a farmer and for four years president of the Richland County Agriculture Society. He was acquainted with John Brown and contributed to a fund to purchase arms for he and his sons to enable them to defend themselves against the ruffians of Kansas. His wife, Mary Lutin, was a native of Germany. They had two children, Nathaniel and Elizabeth; all four found rest in the Bear Valley cemetery.
 Quite a number of the Bear Valley folks came from New York. Among these were Curtis E. Brace, who came here in 1868. He engaged in dairying, raising Holstein cattle. He was born, so his tombstone says, in January, 1830. He was the father of Henry Brace, long time farmer of Lower Bear Valley, and he too raised Holsteins and the Brace farm now under the management of Charles and Donald Brace, who like their grandfather, breed Holsteins and the stock is noted far and wide. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brace now sleep away the years in the cemetery.
 Tombstones in the burying ground, contain the names of the early settlers, Reynolds, Runyan, Clements, Eaton, Bancroft, Ellsworth, Beckwith, Maxwell, Peebles, Oschner, Rasmussen, Holcomb.
 Polly Butterfield born in 1791, and who died in 1866, is among the older people to find rest beneath the shade trees.
 John A. Shontz, a prominent farmer of Bear Valley, one time postmaster of Bear Valley village, found rest in this burying ground as does his wife. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1832, and came here in 1854. His son George M. Shontz, was at one time district attorney of Richland county.
 George E. Brainerd is a soldier boy to come to the end of the trail in the cemetery. He was born in 1892 and died in 1918.
 Ben and Dora Goodrich, one time residents of Richland Center, now of Madison, believe in preparedness. Though still in the land of the living, their tombstones are in the cemetery on their lot but it is the hope of many friends that the two tombstones will not have to be put into actual use for many years.

S. F.

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Tales The Tombstones Tell  -  Republican Observer  -  July 12, 1956

The Boaz Cemetery

 Rightly speaking there are three cemeteries at Boaz. The village has a population of less than 200 and the three cemeteries total a population of close to that mark.

 The village cemetery is situated on the slop of a hill just at the east side of town and below it is the Catholic cemetery and up on a hillside above the Boaz school house is the Core cemetery, private burying ground. In the village cemetery are buried many of those people who helped make the village and those folks whose homes were in the area adjoining. Monuments with these familiar names stand on the hillside: Hanold, Staum, Berger, Berry, Bahr, Outland and Barnes.

 The monument of Ensley Wallace is there with others that look down upon the village. His tombstone says:

Ensley Wallace
Corporal Co. B 25th Wis. Vol. Inf.
Buried at Paducah, Ky.

 According to the government army records Mr. Wallace enlisted from the town of Richwood on August 9, 1862, and he died less than a year later of disease at Paducah:  Co. B, 25th regiment contained many Richland county men, in fact less than a dozen members of this company came from outside of Richland county. Wm. H. Joslin was a captain of the company and Wm. H. Bennett, for whom the local GAR post took its name, was also a captain, along with W. C S. Barron. We notice from the official roster that in addition to Ensley Wallace there were three others, Stephen J., Daniel and Hiram Wallace, all from the town of Richwood and all died of disease while in service. Stephen died at Helena, Ark., August 20, 1863; Daniel at Snyder's Bluff, Miss., on July 11, 1863, and Hiram on November 14, 1863, at Memphis, Tenn. The four men, all from the town of Richwood, may have been brothers, or at least, bore close relationship. On the stone for Ensley Wallace is a line for his wife Margaret, who was born in 1837 and died in 1917.

 On a stone is carved a verse for a little girl. Queen, daughter of J. and A. Noble, who died November 25, 1870, aged seven months. It reads: "Suffer little children to come unto Me for of such is the kingdom of heaven."  Not far from her grave is one of Zelpha Andrus, who passed on December 30, 1870, aged 82 years and seven months. Thus the very young and the aged sleep on the hillside; one seven months of age and the other over 82 years, they both died in 1870. The little girl would now be 85 years old if she had lived. Time marches on.

 On one of the stones bears the name of John A. Evans, who died in 1924 at the age of 74. Mr. Evans was a veteran freight hauler between Richland Center and Boaz. He operated his horse drawn vehicle for years and years. He knew muddy roads, when mud was "hub deep' on that stretch of highway leading from the Boaz corner into the village.  In fact that stretch of highway has not been out of the mud for very many years at that. John was a faithful freight operator and some days had to make two round trips over the nine mile distance between the two points, a total for those days of 36 miles. Besides hauling freight and express Mr. Evans would run errands for the village folks. His passing following an operation at Madison, was deeply mourned by many.

 One of the early burial in the village cemetery was the body of Mrs. Hulda Cross, who died Aril 17, 1868, at the age of 40 years. Charles Schumacher, aged three years, three months and 26 days, died on August 1, 1863.

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 Boaz, as a village, was platted in 1857-58 by R. and J. T. Barnes and it was no doubt a few years later that the first burial was made in the cemetery.

The Catholic Cemetery

 Down the hillside close by the village cemetery, is the Catholic burying ground. It is in the church yard and contains but a few graves. No burials have been made there in a number of years.

 Upon a stone for Frances Kleiser appears the date of death, June 26, 1889, which seems to be about the earliest burial there. F. X. Kleiser, born Nov. 27, 1834 and died August 14, 1912, sleeps in the cemetery as does his wife, Sefarena, who passed on August 4, 1925. A stone for Henry Brill, also stands in the cemetery.

 Perhaps the oldest person there is Gottleif Neugart, born July 4, 1841, and died November 7, 1907. His wife Mary, is buried by his side. She was born in 1842. Two Civil War veterans are buried in this cemetery, but time and the elements have just about blotted out the inscription on the stones.

The Core Cemetery

 Upon a hill above the Boaz school house is the Core cemetery, a private burying ground wherein members of the William Core family and some of their kin are resting.

 William Core, born in 1810, came into the town of Akan in 1856 and purchased land in section 24. He was a native of New Jersey, moved to Ohio, then to Indiana and then to Wisconsin. He was the first settler in the locality known now as Core Hollow, it being named after him. Mr. Core was accompanied by members of his family; his sons, G. W., David, Stacey and John. Here they settled down and here William died in 1900, and they buried him in the little cemetery. Also buried in the cemetery is his wife Charity, who died December 10, 1881, at the age of 69. A stone in the cemetery is for George Washington Core, son of William, and for Adeline, wife of G. W. Core. They are the parents of Clark Core of 361 Ira street. G.  W. Core was born March 27, 1843, and died May 3, 1924. He was a Civil War veteran. His wife was born July 23, 1848, and died on September 28, 1901.

 Other members of the Core family buried in the cemetery are Lucy Ann Curless and her husband Joseph; Leroy Beaumont and children of the various families. There are however but three tombstones there, one for William Core, one for his wife Charity, and one for G. W. Core and wife.

 The cemetery is located on land once owned by G. W. Core and set aside for cemetery purposes.

 Grave digging is a hard task on account of rock and no doubt there will be no more burials therein. The cemetery was at one time located upon the main road out of Boaz to Five Points but a change in location of the road left the burying ground off the beaten path. Report has it  that the road may be re-located and if so, will pass nearer to the cemetery than it does at present.

S. F.

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The Tales The Tombstones Tell  -  Republican Observer  -  July 26, 1956

An Old Cemetery

 Down in the town of Buena Vista is an old cemetery. It has two names best known today as the "Button Cemetery" and that name appears upon the gate which leads into the city of the dead. It's real name, according to old timers and official records, is the "Buena Vista" cemetery and as such it is recorded at the court house.

 This is a well kept cemetery and buried therein are many of the early day settlers of the town of Buena Vista and that area. According to the county history Lucius Tracy, who died April 6, 1854, was the first person to be buried there. His tombstone says he was 56 years of age, if so, he was born in 1798. There are a number of persons buried in this cemetery who were born in the closing years of the 1700s, one of these was Ebenezer Young, who first saw the light of day on May 5, 1798, and died in 1870.  J. W. Fox is another, he was 66 years old when he passed on in 1860.

 Familiar names upon the stones are Bateson, Bills, Mainwaring, Martin, Donner, Bennett, McNurlin, Gewald, Phettyplace, McIntire, Button, Wallace, Ketcham, Thomas, Clements, Moore, Jamieson, Southard, Henry, Maxwell, Briggs, Esselytine, Seaman, Bock, Dexter and many others whose names will go down in history as honored citizens.

 Old fashioned first names appear upon the stones, Azubah Gewald, who was born in 1826, has an odd first name; Ebenezar Young is old fashioned as we never hear of many, if any, being named Ebenezar in these days. Sophia B. West, has an old fashioned first name, she was born in 1792 and died May 11, 1880, and on her monument is carved these words, "Blessed are the poor in heart for their's is the Kingdom of Heaven."  Columbia Seaman, has an odd first name and some of her kin, Jonah Seaman, has an old fashioned given name. One of the persons to be buried in the cemetery is Eliza, wife of John Seaman, who died October 15, 1853. She was accidentally shot by William McCloud. She was among others who died in the town at an early date and were buried elsewhere and their bodies moved to the Button cemetery.

 Buried in the cemetery are the remains of M. W. Gotham and his son Lucius, who went to their death in a violent storm on the Great Lakes, November 24, 1902. M. W. Gotham was the captain of a lake vessel and his son also was a sailor. The boat which sank was making its last trip of the season and father and son looked forward to a return to their home in Gotham. They did return home but it was no happy occasion. Captain Gotham was born in 1842 and the son on November 20, 1884; the lad had just passed by four days his 18th birthday.

 There are many Civil War veterans sleeping away the years there and stones for some who are buried elsewhere are to be found.

 One of these is for James McIntire, who was killed at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, May 27, 1864. Upon the stone for this soldier boy is also the names of his father and mother, Ezekiel and Carolina.

          Capt. Henry Dillon, veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars, is one of the well known veterans to find final rest in this cemetery. He died January 10, 1882, of smallpox and was followed in death by several members of the family who contracted the disease and within a few days of each other passed away. A son Joseph, died February 10, 1882; Bruce died January 27th, and Willie B. Seiders, a relative, January 28th. There are ten tombstones on the lot and the last member of the family to be buried under the spreading branches of a tall pine tree on the Dillon lot, was Anna Cora Dillon, who  passed on in 1946.

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