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                                                               Bethel Cemetery
                                                               Eagle Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - January 30, 1958

                                                     The Bethel Cemetery

    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:
                "Little Henry
                In Memory of Wm. H.,
                    Son of
              A. L. and Hannah H. Webster,
                   Died Nov. 24, 1864,
                      Aged 9
             The Light of his life went out,
             As sinks behind the hill,
             The glory of a setting star,
             Clear, 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,
             aged 49 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 time.

    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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