Eagle Township, Richland County, Wisconsin USA
Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - January 30, 1958
A small burying ground on the east side of Mill
Creek in the town of Eagle, has a large arched gate at its entrance
which proclaims to passers by that it is the Bethel cemetery. It is
located a bit north and east of Basswood. Not many graves are there and
perhaps but few burials will hereafter take place there.
On one stone is carved "Lena Hanold, born December
11, 1885, died May 24, 1886." Another stone has a brief inscription
which reads: "Lucindy Smith, 1813-1864."
Robert S. Curless is buried here as are his wife
Nora, and two other members of the family. Mr. Curless was born in 1866
and died in 1947, his wife also born in 1866, and she died in 1926.
Lee, was born in 1898 and died the year later. A babe was born in 1901
and died the same year.
A number of the Wells family are buried here. Newton
Wells is one of them. He was a Civil War veteran and a flag was on his
grave. He died July 7, 1899 at the age of 64 years, 6 months and 20
days. His wife died May 7, 1894, at the age of 72. Mrs. Caroline Core,
their daughter, is on the same lot. She died April 8, 1885, at the age
of 36. John R. Wells has his name upon the monument. He was 20 years
and 11 months of age when he died December 23, 1867. Another name upon
the stone is that of Thomas A. Wells, who passed on August 28, 1874, at
the age of 22. One well known citizen is here and his marker reads:
"Luther Wells, 1864-1944." Mr. Wells was a auctioneer and also a real
estate dealer. Newton Wells spoken of above, was a native of Virginia.
He came to Richland county, taking up his home in the town of Orion and
moved to the town of Eagle in 1854. He was the first school teacher in
the Bethel district in a log building. The school was taught in 1856-57
and at that time there was not a frame house in the district but one
was erected in the summer of 1857. The Bethel district was a large one
back in the early days. It consisted of seven sections of land. Later
on the Basswood district was formed from part of the Bethel district.
Many of the older people could neither multiply or add a column of
figures so the teachers had a difficult task to teach the younger folks
as they, in many instances, could get no help from their parents.
There is a monument for Annie Redfield. It is a home
made marker of cement and all it says is "Annie Redfield."
There is a stone in this cemetery which reads:
In Memory of Wm. H.,
and Hannah H. Webster,
Died Nov. 24, 1864,
Light of his life went out,
behind the hill,
glory of a setting star,
suddenly and still."
A broken stone nearby indicates that Henry Webster
had a sister. The stone is broken and all that can be read is this:
"Eda, daughter of A. and Hannah Webster."
Members of the Hannawell family are buried
here. One marker is for Mathias C. Hannawell, born August 2, 1854, and
died June 20, 1936. Mr. Hannawell kept store at Boaz for a number of
years and lived on the floor above. His wife, Alice, is on the lot and
the tombstone states that she was born April 8, 1869, and passed away
April 24, 1908. Margie, a daughter, born March 10, 1889, and died
November 7, 1897. Another name upon the marker is that of Fred Myron,
the date of his birth was December 16, 1907, and his death occurred on
July 7, 1921.
There is a marker which reads:
Henry F. Miller
Who departed this life
April 21, 1867
Aged 49 years, 9 Mo.
and 17 days.
Another stone in the cemetery does not give much if
any information as to who is buried there. It reads:
Melissa J., wife of M. Young,
died February 26, 1875,
years, two months and 23 days.
There are several unmarked stones which we think are
corner stones of lots. They are small slabs of marble.
Members of the Pickering family are here buried.
They are William Pickering, his wife Mary, his brother John, and his
son, Dr. Charles R. William, so the marker says, was born in 1818 and
died in 1887; his wife, born in 1818, died in 1901 and "Uncle John" the
marker states, was born in 1815 and went down the long road in 1860.
Dr. Charles, the son, perhaps the most well known of the family, first
saw the light of day in 1857 and earthly sight was blotted out in 1944.
William Pickering, head of this clan, was a native of England, born in
1818 and came to America in 1847 and in 1849 William entered land on
sections 8 and 9 in Eagle. The farm up to the death of Dr. Charles
Pickering in 1944, only had three transfers on an abstract of title,
one from the government to William Pickering, a certificate of heirship
in the probate court of Richland county, showing John W. and C. R.
Pickering as heirs, and a transfer of a half interest made by J. W. to
his brother C. R.. Upon the death of Dr. C. R. Pickering he left the
three farms to the renters who had managed the holdings for quite some
Dr. Pickering left some $30,000 to the Methodist
hospital in Madison and a goodly sum to the village of Muscoda. Also to
Muscoda village he willed his home and his library. All his life, you
might say, was spent in Eagle township and the village of Muscoda. He
finished the country school when he was 15 years old; worked for his
father until he was 21; taught school for a time in Fox Hollow, the
Bethel district, Eagle Corners and then at Woodstock; attended normal
at Platteville; taught at Muscoda; graduated from the Wisconsin
university; the Rush Medical college, Chicago; then located at Muscoda
where he enjoyed a big practice. After his retirement he still managed
the extensive farming interests in Eagle. The Old Mill Stream farm
remained in his ownership until his death, and consisted of about 488
acres of as fine land as there is in Richland county.
J. W. Pickering, his brother, moved to California
where he resided until his death.
Here in the Bethel cemetery are William Pickering,
his wife, his brother and his son.
There are several unmarked graves here. We doubt
that there will be any burials here in future years. The old burying
ground had been recently mowed when we were there the closing days of
June, giving the cemetery a nice appearance which it deserves.
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