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                                                     Button Cemetery
                     
Buena Vista Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

                                         
     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.
     On one stone in the cemetery is the inscription: "Emeline, wife of Joel Oakes, formerly wife of Isaac Folwell, died January 16, 1893, aged 79 years. For 60 years an honored resident of Cambridge, Penn.

        On the shore beyond the river,
        from her labours she's at rest.
        Now the cares of earth are over
        And she mingles with the blest.

    On one old stone in the shade of a tree on the Harter lot, is carved but two words, "Little Elmer." John Wallace, who was born in 1829 and died in 1900, is remembered by this verse:

         "And if beside his grave the tears our aching eyes must dim,
        God comfort us for all the love which we shall lost in him."

    Upon a lot stands a stone which reads: "Our Hattie, 2 years, 1 month and 3 days. May we meet her in heaven."

    There is nothing else upon the stone, but it stands upon a lot with a stone for Robert, son of Robert and Mary Field, who died April 23, 1856, aged 11 years, 2 months 7 days.

    In the quiet confines of this old burying ground sleeps a sweet old lady known by many Richland Center folks as their first school teacher. These school children of 70 to 80 years of age will remember her as Mary Vedder who taught school in the basement of the Baptist church here some 70 years ago. The rear door of the church basement through which the boys and girls trooped to and from school, remains the same as in the far old days. Upon the marker at the base of her grave marker at the head of her grave say:

            Mary V. Morrison
                 1841 - 1918

    Miss Vedder became the wife of H. J. Morrison, an early settler of Buena Vista. He became a  resident of Richland Center later in life and he and his wife resided on what is now the Sextonville road. Their old home still stands; it has been remodeled, other houses have been erected close by and the venerable couple would hardly recognize the place if they could see it today. Mr. Morrison was twice married, but his first wife being Ann Fox who preceded him in death by many years. Mr. Morrison and his wife Mary, were devout Christians, members of the Richland Center Presbyterian church. Well can we remember them on a Sunday morning driving in their buggy to attend the church services. They would tie their horses to a post across the street south of the church and attend the meeting. Home for dinner and back again to the church for evening services; and on Thursday nights only a severe storm or sickness would keep them from prayer meeting. Few, if any, were more devoted to their church than Mr. and Mrs. Morrison.

    There is a monument in the cemetery for Hattie Anora Martin. It is carved from marble and represents an angel. Hattie Anora was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Martin. She died January 11, 1869, aged 8 months and 11 days. Her father James Martin Sr., was born in Ohio in 1827 and died October 23, 1886. He was the father of J. W. Martin and the grandfather of Harley Martin, long prominent as cattle breeders. Harley served as assemblyman from this county. His son James, now occupies the old home farm.

    On the tombstone of Clara, the daughter of Charles and Joanna Maxwell, who died in 1884 at the age of two years, is this verse:
        "We miss the bright eyes of our darling child,
         And the sweet, rosy lips that so often on us smiled."

     Buried in the northwest corner of the cemetery, are Paul A. Seifert and his wife Elizabeth. Paul will be remembered as living on what is now highway 60 west of Gotham and many a story of Bogus Bluff and the counterfeiters could he spin.

    Five stones, all alike appear upon the lot of William Williams and his wife Nancy. Mr. Williams was born in 1831. There is the grave of William Ketcham and other members of his family, one for Parduhns, G. L. Thomas, John and Frank Brown, the latter served for a number of years as game warden. Dr. George Jamieson, J. W. Briggs, Alfred Kuykendall, Alex Ray; who served as postmaster at Lone Rock for many years; the Bills family.

    One of the earliest settlers in Buena Vista was Samuel Long who settled there in 1848; he was born in Indiana in 1816. Another old settler, Jacob Bennett, found a resting place in the cemetery. He was born in Scotland in 1836, came to America in 1851 and to Buena Vista in 1857. Alfred Beckwith, Civil War veteran, died in 1893. His monument has carved upon it:

        "There is no death,
             the stars go down to rise upon some fairer shore,
         And bright in heaven's jeweled crown they shine
         forever more."

    Henry G. Tucker, member of Co. A. 1 Vol. Infantry, Spanish-American War. Charles Tustison, Major in 533 Field Artillery, who passed on in 1945, he was born May 11, 1910, and served in the Ist World War. Other World I and II veterans in this cemetery have flags waving over their graves.

    Along the west fence are a number of slabs to mark graves of members of the Perrin family. Their deaths followed closely one another and it is recorded that they died of some mysterious disease.

    William P. Weston, a relative of the Perrins, died in 1854, aged 15 years; Gilbert Perrin died September 1854 aged 19; Dr. Perrin passed away in October 1854, aged 28, and his wife died December 18, 1854, aged 21, and Ella Perrin died on February 28, no age given.

    There is one monument in the city of the dead with a cheerful note. It is a regulation sundial on the monument for Michael Martin Shirk and his wife Laura Burnham Shirk. It reads:

        "I count none but the sunny hours."


S. F.



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