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                                                               Concord Cemetery
                                           Willow Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - March 20, 1958

                                                       Concord Cemetery

    One of the nicely kept cemeteries in the county is the one across the highway from the Concord church. It is located in the town of Willow a few hundred feet from the Westford town line to the north. It is a peaceful site, on a town road and a bit beyond, giving more of an old time look, is the Bernie Cline home of log construction. Part of the house has been re-sided but the east portion, toward the church and cemetery, stands out like a log cabin of long ago. Bernie Cline owns the land surrounding the church and cemetery, though back in 1874 James French was the owner and, no doubt lived in the log house.
    The Concord church, we believe, was erected about 1884, though previous to that time meetings were held at the Moses Bible home, in the town of Westford, at other homes in that area, and at school houses. The Rev. Frederick Outcalt, buried in the Burdick cemetery, organized the society at the Moses Bible home in 1857 with but 15 members, some who now rest in the cemetery. Among these 15 were Moses Bible and wife, William Smelcer and wife, James French and wife, John Frye and wife, John Clary and wife. James French was the class leader.
    The Concord cemetery dates back to 1859 and the first burial there was the remains of Edeline Clary. James French gave the land and about 1860 the cemetery was laid out. Burial had been made there as noted above, before 1860.
    Before going into the cemetery we paused for a visit to the church which is but little used these days. The western sun shown in through the windows, a quietness prevailed, the organ stood in it's place and was in working order. The Bible was open upon the pulpit. It showed signs of long use and was opened to Ecclesiastes and verse 4, chapter 1, read: "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abidest forever."
    Then we went across the highway into the cemetery situated in a hillside cove. We wish we knew the history of all those who rest in this burying ground and could tell more about them all.
    There are many familiar names upon the monuments, Caylor, Osborne, Griffin, Cline, Pettit, Hess, Fuller, Davolt, Wastlick, Silvers, Britts, Mallo.

    The Fry family, if the stones are any indication, make up close to half the population of this burying ground. Some of the names, are spelled Fry and others have an added letter, Frye, but we venture to remark that they all are related.

    James French, who gave the land for the cemetery, was one of the early settlers in Willow. He was born in Tennessee November 11, 1823, and married Margaret Lovas in 1842. They remained in Tennessee until October 11, 1853, when the entire family consisting of six children, headed for Wisconsin. They started by team and one wagon containing all their household goods, some food, etc., and thus they set out to seek a new home. They remained in Indiana until 1854, when they started out again, camping along the road,  and it took them 20 days to reach the town of Willow, which to them, no doubt, was the end of the rainbow. Their property, the county history states, consisted of the team, wagon, one cow and $40 in money. Mr. French built a log house and began the task of clearing the land. They experienced many hardships in the early days. Mr. French, the tombstone says, died February 4, 1900, and his wife, faithful companion, died on October 28, 1886. On the stone that marks their graves, is carved:
            "Follow me as I have followed Christ."

    Also on the lot is a marker for their son Henry, who died October 12, 1864, at the age of 19 years, 8 months and 25 days. He was a member of Co. I, 35th Wisconsin Inft.
     Coming into Richland county in 1854 were the families of John Fry, William Smelcer, and John Clary, from Tennessee, and the year following others from the same state, Moses Bible, Zachi Clary and Jonathan Smelcer. These people took a prominent part in the early day affairs of the town of Westford, Moses Bible being on the town board when the township was organized and Zachi Clary was the first treasurer. Mr. Bible was born April 7, 1808, in Green county, Tennessee, worked on the farm, learned blacksmithing and later operated a grist mill; moved to Indiana in 1846 and from there came to Wisconsin in 1855 and settled in Westford. In 1830 he married Cathrine Clary, who was born in Tennessee in 1812. She died in 1873 leaving seven children, one of whom, Darius, passed on and is buried on the lot with his parents. Moses Bible continued to reside on the old home farm until his death which took place in 1893. One of their sons was also named Moses and he and his family lived on the farm. Moses B. was born in 1848 and died in 1941; Susan, his wife, was born in 1848 and she passed on in 1926. The Bible home stood until some 12 months ago, a log house with fireplace and outsider stone chimney. It long ago ceased to be a dwelling place but was used as sort of a shed; but upstairs were stored some of the old farm tools such as cradles for cutting grain.

    Frederick Beers, a soldier boy, is buried here. He was a member of Co. B, llth Wisconsin, born in June 1835, and died in 1903. He enlisted September 16, 1861, and was mustered out in May 1864, on account of disability. Another soldier boy, Horace Catlin, rests in this peaceful cemetery. He was a son of L. and M. Catlin, born in February 1821, and died in January 1912. His monument says that he was "with General Sherman on his march to the sea." The Catlin farm, back in 1874, adjoined the James French farm just west of the church and cemetery. Another member of the Catlin clan was Oliver, who died March 3, 1898, and, the tombstone says, was buried at Schuyler, Nebraska. On the marker for the Catlin folks is this inscription:

            "When we leave this world of changes,
             When we leave this world of care,
             We shall find our missing loved ones
             In our Father's mansion fair."

    Zack Clary along with Moses Bible and others, came into the hill country from Indiana. Mr. Clary, so his tombstone says, died January 16, 1870, aged 80 years, one months, 19 days, and his wife Susan, died July 23, 1870 at the age of 76 years. These dates indicate that Zack was born in 1790 and his wife in 1794. That is a long time ago, back in the days of the founders of this county and nearly 40 years before the first white settler stepped for the first time into what is now Richland county.

    On the hillside is a monument for Ben B. Brownell and his wife Sallie. He was a soldier boy enlisting in Co. F, 31st Wisconsin Vol. He was born in 1831 and died in 1918; his wife, Sallie, was born in 1842 and passed down the long road in 1916. Mr. Brownell served in the army from August 1862, to June 1865. He first came to Richland county in 1855 but did not settle here until 1872. He was born in New York where his father died when he was eight years old. He must have liked the roving life as he engaged in building rafts, and in 1859 he started for Pike's Peak but was taken sick and returned to Green county, Wisconsin. Later he joined the army and marched with Sherman to the sea. At the mustering out date he returned to Green county and then took up the trail to the town of Willow. He was married to Sallie Broyton, January 6, 1860. She was a native of La Porte, Indiana.
     Among the early comers to Westford was the Joseph Moody family, coming in 1858. A log house was the Moody home for a long period. It might be that the log house still stands, as one now long out of use, is on the old home farm. Mr. Moody enlisted in 1862, Co. B, 25th regiment, and was sent to fight the Indians in Minnesota. He remained there until 1863 when he went with Sherman on his famous to the sea. He returned home and became a prominent man in the affairs of the town. Among his eight children, was Miss Sophronia, who later became Mrs. J. G. Bunell, a resident of Richland Center. Mr. Moody died on the night of January 25, 1884, and two days later he was laid to rest. Members of the I.O.O.F. and G.A.R. conducted last rites for him. Sarah, his wife, died September 11, 1911, her tombstone giving her age as 89 years, 6 months and 13 days.

    Zacki B. Fry, another Civil War veteran buried here, was born in 1841, and his wife Harriett, was born in 1850. He served in the Civil War for three years as a member of Co. B, 20th regiment. Byron Telfair, who gave his residence as Richland Center, was the captain. Zachi enlisted in July, 1862, and was mustered out in the year 1865.

    From the days of the Civil War soldiers of other wars sleep in this quiet spot. George Osborne is one of them. He was a soldier in World War I, born in March 1893, and died on May 28, 1954.

    Donald K. Frye, who gave his all, found rest in the hillside cemetery. He was born in 1923 and died in 1944. Donald was killed in action in France. Messages brought sad news of his death, then reports that his death had been reported in error by the war department, but final word brought news of his passing. His body was returned to Richland county and home sweet home. His burial took place in the Concord cemetery with the Cazenovia American Legion Post conducting the graveside rites. His burial was April 16, 1949. Donald was 21 years old. On his monument these words are engraved:

            "Glory lights the Soldiers grave."

S. F.

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