Dayton Township, Richland County, Wisconsin
Tales The Tombstones
Tell - Republican Observer - August 8, 1957
The door to the church was unlocked when Frank
Poynter, David Bender and I paid a visit there not so many moons ago,
so we walked into the Dayton Corners Methodist church.
Upon the pulpit a Bible lay open to the "Song of
Solomon," and the first verse read "The song of songs, which is
Solomon's". On the fly leaf was written "Presented by Mrs. Clarence
Davis, June 16, 1946." Another Bible was upon a table and on the fly
leaf was this: "Presented by Mr. and Mrs. G. E. Morris, July, 1915."
The Bible presented by Mrs. Davis was once owned by her aunt, Mrs.
Charles Baker, in whose memory it was presented.
Then we went out into the cemetery where lay the pioneers
of other days and other years.
Names upon the monuments and markers included Palmer, Huston,
Craig, McKinney, Hilleshiem, Robinson, Cooper, Propp, Tanner, Yarrock.
Then there were others, Russell, Tiser, Maly, Walther, Miller, Carter,
Thompson, Markin, Barry, Endicott.
Many of the old monuments are weather beaten, time
and the elements have taken toll over the years and names, dates and
inscriptions are impossible to read. In addition to the above list can
be added, Engendorf, Roach, Young, Harwood, Wolff, Wheaton,
Kirkpatrick, Smart, Morris and Norris.
The Dayton Corners Methodist church was organized in 1856
at the home of Lorenzo Woodman by Rev. John Walker, who lived at
Sextonville. There was a post office and quite a settlement close by
the present church. Lorenzo Woodman and James Hofius laid out some lots
and gave the place the name of Dayton Corners. This was in 1857 and the
same year a
post office was established under the name of "Ripley Post Office" and
Lorenzo Woodman was the first postmaster. He kept office at his home
until his death in 1858, when Comfort Walker was appointed. He was
succeeded by James Hofius. The post office was discontinued two or
three years after a short life. There was a school there in 1857 which
was taught by Eliza Bevier in a house owned by Comfort Walker, until a
school house could be erected, this was used until 1881, when a frame
house was built in section 15 which is, we believe, the present Berger
school on highway 14.
Back in the "old days" Dayton Corners was on the
main road between Richland Center and Boaz. The road is still in use
though the present highway 14 carries all the traffic. Back in 1874 the
land upon which the cemetery is located was owned by James Hofius, now
it is owned by George Smart.
Many a Civil War veteran is buried here as you will
note from time to time in this article. We were unable to secure a
complete list. One GAR marker we noted was on a lot which contained no
stones or gave any indication as to who might be buried there. One
broken stone was for Wm. H. Campbell, son of Charles and Matilda
Campbell. There the stone is broken and we were unable to read on.
There was a GAR marker on the lot. On another lot close by was a marker
for S. P. Hoffman, member of 22 Wisconsin regiment. Here was another
marker, this one for Caleb Haller, a member of Co. K, 51st regiment.
His army life was short, less than three months, from February 28,
1865, until mustered out May 4, 1865.
On the monument of Jacob Van Poole it says he was a
member of Co. B 25th regiment. At enlistment he gave his residence as
the town of Dayton. He enlisted on August 14, 1862, and participated in
a campaign against the Souix Indians during September and December,
1862, and was then sent south. He was mustered out at Washington, D.
C., June 7, 1865. He was married in 1860 to Annie Bolenbaugh, who is
buried by his side. Mr. Van Poole died April 4, 1885, at the age of 47.
He was born in Pennsylvania in 1837, and came to Dayton in 1856, moved
to Kansas in 1867, and back to Richland county in 1875. On his
tombstone it says: "Weep not, he is at rest." His wife was born in 1840
and died in 1919. A son Larrison, is on the lot with his parents.
He died at the age of five months. A daughter Susie, died in 1882, at
the age of nine years. "We will meet her again," it says on the
Two of the "Old Timers" found rest here. They are
Owen Miller and Dexter Russell. Mr. Miller was born in 1838 and died on
July 6, 1899, and Mr. Russell died in 1887 at the age of 80 years.
Members of their families are with them out in the burying ground.
Lorenzo Woodman, first postmaster at the pioneer
office, and who was the postmaster when he passed on, was born November
11, 1819, and died November 4, 1858. He was a native of the state of
New York. Coming to Dayton about 1854 he was present when the town was
organized in 1857, and was one of the supervisors put into office at
that time. His wife, before her marriage, was Charlotte Barry, who was
born in 1822, and died October 12, 1886. A son, George W. is buried
with his parents. He was born May 19, 1856, and died February 4, 1868.
The Woodmans were prominent in affairs of the country back in the early
days. A part of the family moved to Grey Eagle, Minn., at an early
date, and there at the present time, some of their sons and grandsons
Another of the pioneer families to take up
settlement "on the ridge" was the James Hofius folks. James Hofius and
his wife Eliza, are here. They were natives of Pennsylvania, Mrs.
Rofius was, prior to her marriage, Miss Eliza Wheaton. They were
married in Pennsylvania and came to Dayton in 1856. James died in 1865
and his wife died in 1898 at the age of 80. Mr. Hofius was born in
1808. They were the parents of three children, one of whom, Joseph,
became well known. He was born in 1854 and passed on in 1940. He was a
relative of Lorenzo Woodman. Mr. Hofius married Cynthia Barry. He
served on the county board for some years. They were the parents of a
daughter Sylvia, who married George Smart.
Jacob M. Brown, born in 1843, is buried here as is
his wife Sarah. Mr. Brown died on Christmas day, 1910.
A soldier boy, Simeon Gravatt, was one of the first
constables of Dayton. A GAR marker is at his monument, but he is not
buried here for he died at Nashville, Tennessee, December 20, 1861. We
have no information about him except that which appears upon the stone.
Emily, wife of Eli Woodman, died December 1, 1877,
at the age of 31 years, 9 months and 12 days, it says upon the
tombstone. Mr. Woodman moved to Minnesota. On the stone for Mrs.
Woodman is inscribed:
holy angels escort her to the sky
joys of all are blended in bliss of Paradise."
Another of the Woodman family buried here is
Jeremiah Woodman, who died May 1, 1867, at the age of 72 years and 10
months. He served in the War of 1812. Mr. Woodman was a native of
Vermont. A GAR emblem marks his resting place.
There are many members of the Barry family in this
cemetery. Among them are Mr. and Mrs. James Barry. Joseph Hofius
married their daughter Cynthia, as noted elsewhere. James Barry was a
native of New York as was his wife, Sylvia Ann Woodman. They were not
early settlers of Dayton for they came in 1865. Mrs. Barry's maternal
grandfather was Jeremiah Woodman. Both Mr. and Mrs. Barry lived long
and useful lives. He died on December 26, 1901, at the age of 80 years,
10 months and 16 days. Mrs. Barry preceeded him in death, her passing
taking place in 1889. She, too, was in her 80th year.
Also buried here are a number of the Robinson
family; L. Robinson, who died in 1873, at the age of 35; J. H.
Robinson, born in 1846 and died in 1907; William Robinson, who was born
in 1805 and died March 1, 1876, at the age of 70 years. Milton Robinson
is remembered on a marker but he is not here in this cemetery but far
away. He was killed in battle at Ft. Blakely, Alabama, on April 9,
1865. He enlisted from Dayton, September 12, 1861; discharged on
account of illness on June 1, 1862; re-enlisted February 13, 1864.
Though a marker for him is in the Dayton Corners cemetery, be died and
was buried in the Southland.
A marker for Christian Troxel says he was a
member of Co. I, 19th Wisconsin. According to the government record Mr.
Troxel, when he enlisted on March 6, 1862, gave his residence as the
town of Orion. He was taken prisoner on Oct. 27, 1864, at Fair Oakes,
later released and was transferred to Co. B on May 1, 1865, and was
mustered out June 30, 1865.
Another Civil War veteran, James S. Freed, is buried
in this cemetery but we have no information about him other than the
date of his birth, 1834, and death, 1883. His wife Sarah, is on the
lot; she died when she was 29 years of age in 1869. If by chance any of
their family or friends read this article we will mention that the
tombstone on the grave needs a bit of attention. The American Legion or
VFW would be doing a good deed to fix the marker for a Civil War
veteran. A couple of hours time and a few dollars worth of cement would
do the job.
Jane Huston is in the cemetery. She was, so the
marker says, the wife of John Huston. She lived to a ripe old age,
passing on in 1901, at the age of 87 years, 11 months and 14 days.
Among the later members of the Barry family to be
buried here are George Barry and his wife Bertha. George died in 1949.
He conducted a meat market in the city at one time, served as alderman
from the 2nd ward for several years. He was born in 1871. His wife was
born in 1878, and passed on in 1929.
Lieut. A. S. Ripley, born in 1836, and died in 1902,
was a member of Co. A, 36th Regt. He enlisted in 1864 and served about
a year. His wife Catharine, is by his side. She was born in 1837 and
died in 1912.
A stone in the cemetery bears this inscription: "In
Memory of Mr. and Mrs. John Wheaton and family."
The Huth family is well represeted. A large stone
reads: "Christina Schaafhausen, wife of Herman Huth, 1825-1903."
Other stones are upon the lot and one is marked:
Back to the soldiers again. Thomas Ewing is one of
them. He was a member of Co. K 44th Wis. Regt. and entered service in
January, 1865, being mustered out at the close of the war on August 28,
1865. He gave Orion as his residence at the time of his enlistment. The
Ewing family were quite early settlers in the county and took a
prominent part in early day affairs. Mr. Ewing died in October, 1896,
at the age of 67 years. Joseph Norris, born in 1837, was a soldier boy
as was William A. Davis. Mr. Davis belonged to Co. D 11th
Wisconsin. He enlisted from Dayton in 1863, and was mustered out in
1865. His wife, Sarah, is buried here. There is a Civil War emblem on a
grave which is marked Haller. No other name or date is upon the marker.
In the cemetery is buried Aaron Sharp and his wife
Nancy. Aaron is a Civil War veteran, a member of Co. F 2nd Cavalry. We
had a story in these columns at one time about him. He perhaps served
longer in the Civil War than any other person. Enlisting in 1863, he
was not discharged until July 1884, serving, as you will note, 20 years
in a four year war. This was because of a government mix-up over
official papers. Mr. Sharp was born in 1830 and died in 1913. His wife
was born in 1834 and died in 1910. A son, George, born in 1864, died in
1903, is buried on the lot.
There is a monument here for Henry Perkins, who was
born, so the monument says, in 1830, at Bedford, Indiana. He died in
1925. Markers are also close by for his sons, Charles and Albert.
George Bruckner and his wife Eva, are here. George
was born in 1849, and died in 1936, while Mrs. Bruckner was born in
1861, and died in 1933.
John Wheaton died in 1883 at the age of 68 years.
Comfort Walker, prominent in the early day affairs
of the town of Dayton, has a monument in the cemetery but his body is
not here. Comfort was one of the Boys in Blue who died in the service
of their country and found final rest far from the hills and valleys of
Richland county. Mr. Walker was a native of the state of New York,
coming to Dayton in 1854, erected a log tavern and kept a sort of hotel
for travelers. This was near the present Dayton Corners. In 1857 he
built a frame house and kept tavern at Dayton Corners which was on one
of the most busy highways in those days, known far and wide as the
"Black River road." It had its beginning at the village Of Orion and
ran to Black River Falls, following the ridges as much as possible.
Mr. Walker was the first assessor of the town of
Dayton, being elected at the first election held there which was in
April, 1857. Here at the "Corners" he remained until he entered the
army, enlisting on September 12, 1861, in Co. D, 11th Wisconsin. He
died at Patterson, Missouri, November 12, 1862 at the age of 39 years,
eight months and two days. His widow continued to keep the tavern for
some time. Her name was Ann and she died March 26, 1895, at the age of
William Akan and his wife Catherine, are in this
cemetery. Also buried on the same lot is Mary Bean, a relative. Mr.
Akan was a native of New York, born in New York City, June 19, 1803.
His wife was Catherine Hamel, a native of Pennsylvania, born May 2,
1801. Mr. Akan was one of the early settlers of this county, coming
here first in 1848, going to St. Louis where he remained until 1852,
returning he located in the town of Dayton. Mr. Akan, so his marker
says, died in 1881 and his wife in 1885. Mary Bean was born in 1835 and
died in 1907.
John and Eliza Grimshaw have a monument. He was born
in 1850 and died in 1936. His wife, born in 1854, died in 1927. A
daughter, Ida May, is close by her parents. She passed on in 1886 at
the age of 13 years, 10 months and 27 days.
We should have mentioned above that Mr. Akan was a
stone cutter by trade and that he worked on the construction of the
first railroad in the United States. He was the third settler on Brush
Creek and cut stone for many of the early buildings in Richland Center.
William D. Akan, who for many years before his death, was a resident of
Richland Center, was a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. William Akan, the
B. B. Norris, another Civil War veteran, has a
monument in this cemetery. He enlisted in Co. A, 36th Infantry on March
29, 1864, but his army life was short for he died in Madison on May
7th. Mr. Norris was a native of Ohio, coming to the town of Dayton
about 1858. He was a cabinet maker, having a small shop in which he
made tables and chairs. His marker states that at his death he was 35
years of age.
"Gone in Peace" it says upon the stone for Rev. H.
H. Brakeman, who was an early day preacher in these parts. He was born
March 20, 1821, it says upon the stone, and died in September 1873.
Rev. Brakeman, we learn, was a Methodist minister and at one time lived
in Richland Center. Following his death his wife continued to reside in
Richland Center, where she died.
We found but one marker for a World War I veteran.
W. Wilson, chauffeur 648 Aero Squadron,
World War I
Born March 25, 1887,
Died October 18, 1953"
Members of the Hemingway family are among those
buried in the Dayton Corners cemetery. Around them are many, many
Missed are many soldiers we know, but tombstones or
GAR emblems fail to reveal their graves or mention of their service
The burying ground is quite an old one and is still
in use. Would that we knew more about some of the folks who are buried
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