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                                                                Cedar Mound Cemetery
                                                                     Aka Orion Cemetery
Orion Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - July 18, 1957

                                                            Orion Cemetery
   Down in the once thriving village of Orion, first named Richmond, is an old cemetery, the oldest one in Richland county, dating back to the year 1844. Come this September 29th or 30th, it will be 113 years since Henry Ferris, a 17 year old lad was laid away here, and there may have been burials there before that time, in fact the county history of Crawford and Richland counties states that David Petty, the first white person to die in the county, is buried here. His death took place in the spring of 1844 at Rockbridge where he was engaged with a sawmill crew. The history goes on to state that the body as placed in a canoe and taken down Pine river to the Wisconsin river and then to the settlement at Orion where it was buried. The history also states that his death was in 1846 and the body taken to Mineral Point for burial. However Capt. John Smith, who helped found the village, stated that the burial was at Orion and he assisted in digging the grave.
    The cemetery has a name but it has slipped my mind, however we believe it is "Cedar Mound." The monument for Henry Ferris bears the oldest date of any in the cemetery. It reads:
                  Henry                                      |                       |
                  Son of                                       |                       |
            Stephen and Deborah Ferris       |     Photo        |
                   Died                                        |                        |
             September 29, 1844                     |                        |
                 Aged 17 Years                           ____________

    The monument, a slab of marble, does not stand erect now but lays upon the ground. Grass was growing over it when we visited the spot on June 26th and it was necessary to scrape away the grass and dire with a wire brush to clean the face of the slab so it could be read. Back in 1941 we paid a visit to this old burying ground. With us on that visit 16 years ago was Frank C. Poynter and with us again this year was Mr. Poynter, in fact he has been with us on most all of our trips to the many cemeteries, he has not missed more than two or three. Also with us
this past June were Charles Ray and Charles Johnson, who have been with us on trips to several other burying grounds.
    In writing about Henry Ferris 16 years ago we stated: "As we stood beside the grave we wondered what sort of a lad Henry was. Was he flaxen haired, blue eyes, or was he dark with raven locks? Was he rugged and strong, or was he weak and sickly? What caused his death and who stood about the grave as they lowered him to his last resting place? We wonder."
    As we entered the cemetery we noted an old hockberry tree near the gate. Upon it was tacked a sign badly faded now; it reads: "No hunting allowed in this cemetery." There are a number of mulberry trees in the cemetery loaded with berries nearing the ripening stage. Near the south side, of the cemetery is a large sunken spot which, denotes that a house stood there once years and years ago. On the west side of the burying ground standing north and south, is a row of cedar trees about ten feet apart which stand near the heads of the graves. The grave of Henry Ferris is the one at the north of the row.
    Standing first as you enter the cemetery is a slab monument for J. B. Mathews who died November 5, 1862, at the age of 20 years, 11 months and 16 days. At the top of the monument is carved: "Brave and Gallant Soldier and a true patriot." Mr. Mathews was a soldier in the Civil War. He left his bride and babe when Lincoln's first call for volunteers came. Not long after entering service he became ill and was treated at a government hospital in the east. His bride was notified and hastened to his side but death won the race, he passing away before she was able to reach his bedside. The body was brought back to Orion and they laid him away in the old, old burying ground. He was a son of Thomas and Catherine Mathews, founders of the village. Near by on the lot or close are brothers and sisters. One brother, Jackson D., died, the stone says, October 20, 1846, aged one year; William J., another brother, died September 25, 1846, aged 11 months. He and Jackson were evidently twins,
 the dates of death and ages indicate this. A sister, Josephine, died on January 20, 1850, at the age of seven months. The parents of these children are buried in the Indian Creek cemetery a quarter of a mile east of "Cedar Mound."
    Close beside the lot for the soldier boy is a rough stone upon which is engraved in rude letters these words:
                E. Wife of
                Wm. Powell
    There is a lot in the cemetery kept in nice shape. Grass is mowed and cleaned of weeds: There are two stones upon this space, both of granite. One reads

            Mother          Father
             1876-1946       1856-1943
    The other stone is engraved

              Charles        Roseann
             1877-1954       1881-1954

    Solomon and    Louise Huntley are here. Mr. Huntley was born in 1867 and died in 1947. His wife, born in 1865, passed on in 1943. Their monument is of granite. Mrs. Huntley was a daughter of Henry and Louisa Fiedler, early settlers of Orion. Mr. Fiedler was born in 1825 and she in 1832. Mr. Fiedler died in 1904 and his wife in 1911. They came into Muscoda and later into Orion. Back in Germany they were sweethearts. With others they came to America and to Grant county where they were married. They came to Orion in 1854 and lived in a log house. Mr. Feidler was a carpenter and cabinet maker. He built for himself and family a stone house which still stands at the eastern limits of the village, joining the old cemetery on the north. Much of the timber in the house was secured from driftwood rescued from the Wisconsin river. Big rafts would break up and the lumber float downstream where it would be secured.
    The stone in the Fiedler home came from the ledges along the Wisconsin river. Mr. Fiedler was a member of Co. D, 44th Wisconsin Infantry, giving Orion as his residence when he enlisted February 12, 1865. He was mustered out at the close of the war, the date of his discharge being August 28, 1865. There were six children in the Fiedler family, two of whom are buried close to their parents. Bertha died in 1885 at the age of 22. On her marker it says:
        "Another star is added to the heavenly diadem."
    Katie passed on December 26, 1883, aged 16 years, eight months and seven days.
Then there is this verse:
    "Dear Katie is gone, her spirit pure and free has winged its
     flight to seek a home on high, where angels roam and in its
     purity add one more star to the glitter in the sky."
There is a stone in the cemetery which reads:
    "Elizabeth, wife of A. Thompson, aged 38.
     Not lost but gone before."
On the same lot are two stones, each with a little lamb at the top.
    One reads:
        "Our pet, Ada, daughter of A. P. and Elizabeth Thompson,
         Aged 2 years."
    The second stone is for another daughter, Cora, who was 9 months of age when she passed away. No dates are given upon these three stones.
    Another marble slab marks the grave of Ben Ferris, who died on November 8, 1863. A Masonic emblem is upon the stone as is the three links of the I.O.O.F. Mary Ferris, wife of Ben, is buried here. She died September 18, 1857, at the age of 43.
    Carved upon the stone is this:
            "Nothing the loved one can restore.
             Dark is her tomb but bright her home,
             Where on the joyous, blissful shore of Heaven
             He waits for her to come."
     A youthful physician, Josiah Stanley, is here buried. He died, it says upon his slab marker, January 27, 1854, at the age of 25 years, 10 months and 12 days. Dr. Stanley came from Illinois, became ill with typhoid fever which caused his death. He has some kin still living in Illinois, we believe.

                                                               The Old Church

    From the cemetery we went down to the old meeting house; first used as a school years and years ago,. Peter Bobb, who came to Orion in the early 50s, bought the building from the school district and gave it, to be used for church purposes, to the people of the village. It is still in use though some repairs are needed. Siding should be renewed as the years that have passed have collected toll; the siding so old that it is not worth a coat of paint.
    The door seemed to be locked so we went to the house next door to inquire about a key. The man mowing the lawn said the church was not locked and he went over and opened the door which had become swollen from dampness. The man, George Howard, showed us in. We found things spick and span. There were two old organs standing to one side of the pulpit. A piano stood to the west and Mr. Howard informed the four of us that it had been given to the congregation as a gift by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bohmann. Mr. Howard, 82 years of age, spry for his age, sat down to the piano and played and sang several of the old, old hymns. He stated that be could not read music but could play chords. He made a good job of it. The four of us visitors sat in the old pews and greatly enjoyed the sacred music which was so popular years ago and still is today in the little old time churches such as this.
    Kerosene lamps were upon the walls, a mantle lamp of later date hung from the ceiling.
    A Bible upon the pulpit had this inscribed upon the fly leaf:
        "This Bible presented to the Orion church by
         Mrs. Lela Emshoff, granddaughter of Thomas Mathews,
         first settler of Orion."  (June 13, 1954).
    Up over the pulpit hung a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bobb. Over to one side was a framed motto which reads:
        "If every member was just like me
         What kind of a church would this church be?"
    Also upon the wall hung a framed paper which was dated April 2, 1933. It was written by Clark A. Cohes, 80 1/2 years old which stated that he was baptized in the church 75 years ago and tat his parents were members from October, 1857, to October 14, 1861.
    In a way te years have delt kindly with this old church house. It has weathered the storm for close on a full century but the time has come when repairs are needed if it is to continue to serve the little community.
    The head of the church or any member of the little congregation have not asked for help, they take up no collection at the services, the income is meager and we know they would appreciate greatly any financial assistance given to help them restore the building. That is the reason that we ask readers of "The Tales the Tombstones tell", to give, a hand right now. A dime or a dollar from each of us would be of great assistance. Won't you help in a good cause? We will. A historic building is the old church, help keep it alive. It is old fashioned, the pioneer church. Services are held each Sunday morning and again in the evening. It will do you good to attend.
    We were there to the Sunday school picnic on June 30th, and are going down to the morning services some Sunday before the summer ends.
    If you want to help keep the past alive you can do so by sending Raymond Booher, Muscoda, route 3, a dollar or a dime or you can leave or send it to this office.
Thanks a lot friends, 

S. F.

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