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                                                             Basswood Cemetery
                                                           Eagle Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

                                           

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - October 17, 1957

                                                       Basswood Cemetery

    One of the largest and nicely kept country cemeteries is the Basswood burying ground in the town of Eagle. It lies upon a hillside which faces the east. It is part and parcel of the churchyard which surrounds the Basswood Union church. The church is a structure of white brick, giving an added attractive look to the cemetery. The cemetery, we learn, was laid out in 1861 on land donated by Thomas Hardy and Mrs. Francis Keplogle and the first burial there was the body of a child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hardy. Additions have been made from time to time and at present there is grave space enough to last for many years. Albert Glass was caretaker of the cemetery for many years before his passing, and at present a son, Jay Glass, keeps this burying ground in good shape. Hundreds of peony plants dot the cemetery and in the spring when the plants bloom it is a beautiful sight and the place has been noted for the pretty flowers.
    Mrs. Insco Annear is the secretary of the cemetery association, a position she has held for some 34 years. Mrs. Annear furnished us with a list of soldiers buried here. J. I. Lewis, now a resident of Blue River, served as secretary for about 25 years and he gave us valuable information concerning the older people buried here.
    As you pass down the rows of stones, names of many of the well known families, early pioneers and others are noted such as: Weldy, Gault, Carter, Surrem, Standish, Parish, Peters, Allemang, Sparling, Rummery, Fazel. Then there are others, Anderson, Hinkel, Wheaton, Manning, McIlhattan, Elliott, Persinger, Dillon, Conkle and Brock, Chitwood, Briggs, Storms.
    On stones in other rows are more names, Burkhamer, McClary, Harsha, Barrett, Shannon, David, Williamson, Recob, Daly, Cooper, Elder, Lyman, Collins, Miller.
    And these are not all for there is Newman, Slane, Peterson, Stetler, Wilcox, Dieter, LeMoine, Haskins. Though there are many more names listed the above list is not complete. Old stones are badly worn so they cannot he read for the winds, rains, hail and snow have worn away the names and letters.
    W. J. Briggs and his wife Mary, have a marker. He was born in 1823 and she in 1824, with Mr. Briggs passing on in 1901 and his wife in 1912.
    On the marker for Lee Redfield, who was born in 1892, and died in 1919, it says:
            "He was too good, too gentle and fair,
             To dwell in this cold world of care."
    There is a marker for John H. Evans, who was born in 1865 and died in 1925.
    The list of soldiers of the wars who have markers here, are, according to the records of Mrs. Annear: World War I, Fred Anthony, Vivian Turgasen, Joseph Dill, Floyd B. Kidd.
    World War II: Everett Glenn Scott, Russell Gault, Malcolm Dalton, Ralph Dowell, Roy Montgomery, Harold Lewis, William Standish, Albert R. Lyman and John Murray.
    Civil War: Rensselear Brewer, James Dixon, John D. Hottman Jr., Asbury Burris, George Manchester, John Gordon, C. B. Johnson, John D. Parish, John Roth, Herman Anderson, George Thompson, A. J. Daughenbaugh, Thomas Carter, Isaac J. Wright, Isaiah Frye, Thomas Shannon, Wm. A. Endicott, Joshua P. Johns, George Roth, Cash Collins, George W. Collins, H. Cornwall, Dr. Orlando Ewers, Ansel Standish, Warner Shannon, Squire Sheafor.
    All of those who have markers here are not buried on this hillside. For instance Russell Gault, World War II soldier, was buried far across the sea and his body was not brought back. His marker reads:
                Russell Gault
                Died in Service
                  1909-1943
     Joshua P. Johns, Civil War veteran, is far from the Basswood cemetery though his name appears upon a marker. He was killed on September 17, 1862, in the battle at Antietam, Maryland, and buried there with many of his soldier friends.
    William A. Endicott, Civil War soldier, was killed in action at Petersburg, Virginia, April 2, 1865. There may be others who served in the wars from Richland county who have markers here but they were buried elsewhere.
    High up on the hillside is a vault built of granite wherein are the bodies of Cornelius Stetler and his wife Margaret. Mr. Stetler was born August 12, 1850, and died June 25, 1924. His wife was born February 17, 1855, and she passed away December 3, 1951. Mr. Stetler was an early settler, coming with his parents to Orion in 1853.
    David Cornwall was born in 1848 and his wife Mary, born in 1855, are here as also is Fred Smith and his wife Ella. He was born in 1857 and she in 1858. They kept store at Eagle Corners for many, many years.
    Rev. George Adams, born in 1876, and his wife Mary, born in 1880,  and died in 1951, are buried here.
    On the stone for George Roth, Civil War veteran, are these lines:
            "But oh these ears no more shall hear
             The voice of wife and children dear.
             Those eyes of love shall never more
             Look on that face with joy spread o'er."

    Keziah, wife of R. W. Peters, died on March 17, 1875, at the age of 33 years, 7 months and 13 days. Mr. Peters was born in 1840 and died in 1924. His second wife Hattie, was born in 1858 and passed on in 1907.
    George Roth, veteran of the Civil War, was born November 22, 1818, and died in 1862. He was an early settler in the town of Eagle. He settled in "Bear Den Hollow."  "Bear Den" is now known as Eagle Cave. He enlisted on March 12, 1862, and died the same month on the 27th at Racine. His body was brought back and buried in the Basswood cemetery. He is mentioned above, together with the verse upon his stone.
    Thomas C. McClary was 73 years of age when he died in 1889. On his marker it says:
            "Death's but a path that must be trod
             If man would ever pass to God."

    Susan, wife of Thomas C. McClary, is buried on the same lot. She was born November 4, 1820, and died on February 26, 1887.
    Martha, wife of David Dewey, is here in this cemetery. She was born in 1842 and died in 1915. She was his second wife. Mr. Dewey is not here, being buried by his first wife in the Greenwood cemetery near Port Andrews. Mrs. Dewey, buried here, left $1,100 to the Basswood cemetery when she died, also a sum for the Greenwood cemetery. When she made her gift to the Basswood cemetery she called it "Eagle Center" and as there was no "Eagle Center" cemetery it took a lot of red tape to get the money to the Basswood cemetery where it belonged. It cost about $100 to get the matter straightened out.
    Abram Elliott, who died June 22, 1873, at the age of 39 years, 11 months and 11 days, has this engraved upon his marker:
            "Asleep in Jesus blessed sleep,
             From which none ever wake to weep."

    Horation Cornwall is one of the pioneers buried here. He died on October 27, 1891, at the age of 53. His wife was born in 1847, and died in 1935. Mr. Cornwall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, coming to Richland county in 1864. He served as town clerk of Eagle and was county clerk of Richland county when he passed away.
    According to the marker for Thomas C. Carter he was born in Cornwall, England, January 1, 1845, came to Grant county, Wisconsin, when six weeks old, moved to Richland county in 1874 where he died December 8, 1885. He was a Civil War veteran. On his marker is this:
            "Death is certain, the hour unseen."
     Samuel B. Gault and his wife Mary, are here in this burying ground. He died April 10, 1870, aged 63 years, and Mrs. Gault passed on August 30, 1889. They were, we believe, the grandparents of Russell Gault, World War veteran, mentioned of whom is made elsewhere.
    Margaret, wife of Joseph Standley, is here. She was 52 years of age when she died in 1876. She was a native of Perthshire, Scotland. On her marker are these lines:
            "Jesus said unto me: I am the resurrection and
             the life, be that believeth in Me
             though he were dead yet shall he live."

    Hannah, wife of Samuel Standley, is buried here also. She died May 8, 1874, aged 77 years, five months and 19 days. This would made her birth in 1796.
    George V. Collins, another to be buried here, was born January 11, 1851, and died May 3, 1876. David A. Johns died at the age of 79 years and his wife Sarah, lived to be 82, passing on in 1897. Wm. R. Standish and his wife Clara have a marker and there is one for Elizabeth, his second wife. On the stone it says he was born in 1850 and died in 1919; Clara was born in 1855 and died in 1881, while Elizabeth was born in 1857 and passed on in 1939.
    John M. McKy, Civil War veteran, was born in 1844 and died in 1914. Alma, his wife, was born in 1848 and died in 1928.
    There is a monument here for Rev. I. J. Wright, mentioned in the list of Civil War veterans. Rev. Wright died in 1888 at the age of 69 years. He settled in the town of Richwood in 1855, served in the Civil War. He was ordained as a preacher, serving as a circuit minister for some time. He was married three times. One of his children was J. C. Wright who became one of the leading physicians in the county. Dr. Wright practiced at Excelsior for many years. Later he moved to Antigo where he died. On the monument for Rev. Wright it says:
            "As for me I will behold Thy face in righteousness.
             I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness."
                                17 Psalm, last verse.
    There is a marker on the James Lewis lot which reads.
             Grace E.          James
            1855-1884        1847-1933
                    Frank E.
                   1876-1877
and a marker which reads
                  Mother - Died
                November 18, 1905  Aged
                80 Years, 8 Months
    Isaiah Lewis and his wife Ruth, are here. He was born in 1813 and died in 1883. Ruth was born April 5, 1823, and passed on New Years Day 1916.

    Rev. George Kite lived to be past 60 years of age. He died in October, 1882. His wife Sarah, was born in 1829 and died at the age of 83 years and 11 months. Andrew M. Kite and John Kite, sons of George and Sarah are here. Andrew was born in 1853 and died in 1900; John, born in 1856, died in 1876.
    On the monument for Rev. Kite is this:
            "A loving man, a friend most dear,
             A faithful partner lieth here.
             Weep not for me nor sorrow take
             But love my children for my sake.
             His work is completed and finished below,
             His last tear is fallen I trust,
             He has preached his last sermon
             And met his last foe,
             Has conquered and now is at rest."

    John Mathews, born in 1848, died in 1935, and his wife Irene, born in 1854, and died in 1910, are buried here.
     Two other ministers have found rest in the Basswood cemetery. They are Rev. Wm. H. Endicott, and Rev. J. Turgeson. Rev. Endicott died early in life as he was 27 years, 5 months and 11 days of age when he died on May 12, 1886. Rev. Turgasen was born in 1858 and Mary his wife, in 1859. Rev. Turgeson, if memory serves us right, was killed by a train. On the same lot is buried their son Vivian, World War veteran, who was born in 1896 and died in 1932.

    Sam Annear and his wife Elizabeth, are here buried. He was born in 1850 and died in 1931; she was also born in 1850 and died in 1925.

    Orrin Henry has a marker on his grave which says he died in 1892 at the age of 72, and his wife died in 1907 at the age of 81. Mr. Henry, we were told, once owned the land where Eagle Cave is situated. On the stone for Andrew Barnhart it gives the date of his birth as 1844 and death as 1933. His wife Helen, born in 1849, died in 1927.

    There is a marker for R. Brewer, his wife Phebe, and their daughter, Lillie. He was born in 1820, his wife in 1823, and Lillie in 1852. A son in the family, Richard, was shot and killed in Oklahoma years ago when serving as a deputy sheriff he met death when attempting to round up members of "Billy The Kid" gang. It is quite a story which we hope to publish in these columns at some future date.

    Holida Peters is one of the well known citizens in this cemetery, as is Stanton Peters. Stanton was born in 1863 and died in 1943. His wife Tissie, was born in 1866 and passed on in 1932.
    Richard Parsell, born in Dayton, Ohio, January 3, 1813, died at Boaz July 13, 1901, at the age of 88 and his wife Eliza, also born in Ohio, also died at Boaz at the age of 70.
    Elizabeth Shepherd, wife of John Shepherd, was born in 1811 and died in 1908.

    Alex Barrett and his wife, Jannett, found the end of life's journey here. He was born in 1836 and died in 1915. His wife was born in 1840 and passed away in 1901. Cassius Collins, a Civil War soldier, was born in 1848. Sarah, his wife, born in 1849, died in 1919. Also on the lot is a gravestone for Rosanna Collins, born 1813, and died in 1898.
    Ansel Standish was 80 years old when he died in 1908 and his wife was 81. She died in 1912.
    Up on the hillside is a stone for Mr. and Mrs. Jay Wilcox. Their death was a tragic one as both drowned in the Wisconsin river while swimming.

    Buried here are Arthur J. Harness and his wife Della. Mr. Harness was a rural mail carrier out of Muscoda for some time. He was born in 1854 and passed away in 1928. Mrs. Harness was born in 1860 and died in 1930.

    This account of the Basswood cemetery is far from complete for it merely touches the highlights of some who are buried here. The cemetery contains so many, many pioneers of that area, all deserving of more than passing interest, but our space is limited to such an extent that an extended account of those buried here would be almost impossible and so we beg your pardon for any omissions made.

S. F.


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