Cedar Mound Cemetery Aka
Orion Cemetery Orion Township, Richland
County, Wisconsin USA
Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - July 18, 1957
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:
Deborah Ferris |
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
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
The other stone is engraved
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
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
flight to seek a home on high, where angels
roam and in its
purity add one more star to the glitter in the
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.
"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
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:
loved one can restore.
her tomb but bright her home,
the joyous, blissful shore of Heaven
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
"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
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,