Richwood Township, Richland County, Wisconsin
Tales The Tombstones Tell -
Republican Observer - July 17, 1958
One of the numerous cemeteries in the town of
Richwood is the Haskins cemetery south of the village of Excelsior on
county trunk F. This county trunk divides the cemetery into two parts,
the older portion is on the south side of the highway, though in the
north portion are buried a number of the earliest settlers.
Such names as these appear upon the markers: Powell,
Rouse, Leffler, Dobbs, Mathews, Bell, Taylor, Hamilton.
Henry Cook was 67 years of age when he died on
October 9, 1881. A daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Washburn, was a bit
past three years of age when she died on September 17, 1880. An early
birth was the wife of Henry Bailey, who was born December 23, 1803. Her
given name was Mary. Another early day birth was Harriett Phelps, who
was born in 1815. She was the wife of O. W. Phelps and her death
occurred on April 16, 1883.
Mr. and Mrs. Asa Wood and a son are buried here. Mr.
Wood died on October 7, 1895, at the age of 73 years, 8 months and 18
days. The son, Lafayette, died in 1888, at the age of five years and
eight months. Luzena Wood, the wife and mother passed away in 1889,
when she was 50 years old.
Levi Persinger and members of his family are buried
here. Mr. Persinger was a native of Virginia, born on July 26, 1816. He
moved to Ohio and then to Indiana and there he was married to Christena
Brunnemer in 1838. He came with his family to Richland county in 1851
where he engaged in farming. For 22 years, from 1861 to 1883, he acted
as mail carrier on a stage route and got the mail through in spite of
floods, bad roads and sickness. He was a member of the I.0.O.F. lodge
and his death took place May 12, 1888. His wife was born in 1808 and
she died in 1899. A son Levi, Jr., is buried near his parents and he
died at the age of 32.
Mary Pound was 73 years, 10 months and 25 days of
age when she died on February 10, 1888. Orange S. Pound, born in 1851,
and died in 1925, has a marker as has his wife Rosallia, who was born
in 1851, and passed away, January 15, 1906. Another early day couple is
Alexander E. Lowery and his wife Amanda Jane. He was born in 1842 and
died in 1903 while she was born in 1852, and passed on in 1896. Others
born well over 100 years ago to be buried here are Isaac J. Powell and
Jane, his wife. Mr. Powell was born in 1831 and died in 1914. His wife
died when she was 63 years of age. Aliza Cohen, wife of Samuel Cohen,
was born in 1807 and had reached the advanced age of 82 years, six
months and six days when she breathed her last on December 7, 1889.
A number of the Buchanan family are here buried.
Robert, a native of Ireland, is one of them. He was born, so his
tombstone says, September 2, 1809. From Ireland he went to Canada and
then to New York where he learned the trade of a stone mason; later
moving to Illinois and to the town of Richwood, Richland county in 1864
where he engaged in farming. He was chairman of the township at one
time, also treasurer. He was married in 1838 to Mary Shannon, a native
of Ireland, born in 1815. Among their children was Robert Jr., who was
born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1843. He enlisted in Co. C 95 Illinois
regiment. Wounded at the battle of Vicksburg and again a year later at
Yellow Boyou. After the war he learned to be a harness maker and
established a business at Excelsior, being the first person to be
engaged in that business in the village. In 1873 he was married to
Belle Hawkins. S. M. Buchanan, buried close by, was a son of Mr. and
Mrs. Robert Buchanan Sr. He died September 24, 1888, at the age of 35.
Artless Brown, a daughter of J. J. and Huldah
E. Brown, came to their home on Christmas Day, 1868, and died April 14,
1893. On her marker it says: "Weep not, she is not dead, but sleepeth."
Dorothy May, daughter of C. E. and M. P. Dobbs, had
a brief life, born in February, 1905, and passed on the following
month. On her marker is engraved:
and then follows this verse:
Pilgram to thy home on yonder
miss thee here but soon will come where
thou hast gone before."
William T. Howell has an I.O.O.F. emblem carved on
his marker. He was born in 1847 and died in 1927. By his side is buried
his wife Sarah, born in 1848 and died in 1909. Another of the older
folks to be buried here is Orton Taylor, who died in October, 1897, at
the age of 87.
There is an unfilled grave here in the older part of
the Haskins cemetery. A tombstone and also a government marker is here
for Osborn Gamage, member of Co. I 16th Regt. Wisconsin Vol. According
to his marker he was 33 years old when he died on September 5, 1862. He
is one of the "Boys in Blue" who never came back home from the Civil
War. According to the government record he was a resident of Darlington
when he enlisted September 30, 1861. In the battle of Shiloh he was
taken prisoner and died September 5, 1862, at Nashville, Tennessee. His
marker is on an Indian Mound, The grave of his daughter Emma, is also
in the Indian Mound; she died in 1878 at the age of 16 years. Another
to be buried in this mound is John Ross, who died in 1876 at the age of
two years. He may have been a son of Dr. and Mrs. 0. Ross, who came to
Excelsior in 1864.
A. A. Hathaway and his wife, Elizabeth, are buried
here. He was born in 1821 and she in 1828. Mr. Hathaway died in 1874
and his wife in 1908.
Cpl. Charles J. Moore of the 27th New York Light
Artillery found rest here. A government marker stands on his grave.
Jackson Dobbs, who died in 1910 at the age of 73, is here as are also
Chas. Powers, born in 1823, and his wife Jane, born in 1828. He died in
1905 and she in 1908. A son Lawrence, who passed on in 1870, is also
here. David Bartells and wife have markers. He was born in 1811 and she
On the stone for Adaline and Adalide Coats is this
thy silent slumber,
in the grave so low.
will no more join our number
more our song shall know.
sisters thou has left us,
loss we deeply feel,
God that hast bereft us,
all our sorrows heal."
Elizabeth Duncan was 80 years of age when she passed
on in 1894. Born in 1814 she lived in a pioneer age and we know that
she and others of the folks who were boys and girls in the days of
"away back when" would have many an interesting story to tell of the
days of long, long ago.
Mary Haskins, wife of Rev. William H. Haskins, is
here among her old time friends. Her maiden name was Winton and she
came to Richland county with her husband in 1853. He is said to be the
first or at least one of the first, ministers of the gospel to settle
in Richwood. Their home was on Sand Prairie. Rev. Haskins was a United
Brethren minister and was known as a circuit rider, preaching at
Spring Green, Lone Rock, Sandusky and other points. His circuit was 60
miles in length; traveling on horseback he made each appointment every
two weeks. Rev. Haskins, was in fact, the first person to live in what
later became the village of Excelsior and erected a saw mill but the
village was not platted until 1867, though a post office was
established there in 1857. On the marker for Mrs. Haskins the date of
her death is given as 1885.
Alden H. Avery was but 47 years of age when he died
September 1, 1879. He was a mill owner, belonged to the Odd Fellow
lodge and was well known in that section of the county in the Excelsior
area. The mill property which he purchased in 1870, was located not far
from the cemetery. It took on the name of Avery's mill. First built in
1855 by Alonzo Carson, it was sold to Avery & Langdon, and became
the property of Mr. Avery as above stated. This property was a saw mill
but Mr. Avery erected a grist mill in 1871. It had two run of buhrs.
Following the death of Mr. Avery the property became owned by others.
Samuel Yeager operated a chair factory there at one time. An
interesting item in connection with the mill property was that Mr.
Avery or one of the other owners put a high price on logs being rafted
through the mill pond. These rafts came from upstream and were rafted
down Knapps Creek from Excelsior to the Wisconsin river to be assembled
in a large raft and floated down the river to mills on the Mississippi.
Rafters objected to the high price charged by the mill owners so they
got the state legislature to declare the creek open for navigation from
its mouth as far up stream as Excelsior, also making into law the price
that could be charged for rafts. If the law has never been repealed
Knapps Creek is still open for navigation. All signs of the mill have
long vanished. It was on the road that now starts at the Haskins
cemetery, going southwest from county highway F connecting with highway
W located on the Alva Miller farm, we believe.
On the lot in the cemetery with Mr. Avery are a son
John, who died at the age of 11, and a daughter Julia, who passed away
in 1860. We could find no mention of Mrs. Avery upon the stone though
we learned from marking for the son that her initials were "S. C."
Close to the fence on the east side of the burying
ground are the graves of members of the E. J. Langdon family. His first
wife, Eleanor, is here buried. She died April 13 1873, at the age of 20
years. He remarried and, Cynthia, his second wife,
passed away Sept. 27, 1879, at the age of 21 years and 19 days. A son,
Guy, died in 1878 at the age of one year. Mr. Langdon was clerk of the
courts at one time and resided in Richland Center. He is buried in the
Richland Center cemetery by the side of his third wife.
A tragic death by fire snuffed out the lives of
Lillie May McKinney and her brother Charles M., children of Amanda and
J. M. McKinney. Lillie May was two years and 13 days old when death
came; Charles was three years and five months of age. Their deaths took
place on December 15, 1869. The father had gone to Excelsior and the
mother to the home of John McKinney close by on an errand, leaving the
children alone. During her brief absence the lad and lassie scattered
coals from the fireplace, the house caught fire and the children
perished in the blaze. A double tombstone marks their burying place in
the Haskins cemetery. It is now broken and cannot be read as 87 years
have passed since the tragic event. Time and the elements have just
about destroyed the carvings on the stone. We were in the cemetery in
1939 and then copied the inscriptions upon the marker.
This covers the older, or south part of the burying
ground. A burial has not been made in this part of the cemetery for a
number of years.
Across the highway is the new part of the
cemetery. It is not "new" as time goes. Some of the earliest settlers
are here buried. We see such names as these upon the stones: Hathaway,
Brown, Powers, Cox, Hysell, Adams, Faulkner, Pound, Dyer, Howell,
Weldy, Meeker, Miller and McMillen.
J. P. Gobin and his wife Mary, were no doubt early
settlers of the area surrounding the cemetery. He was born in 1845 and
passed on in 1926. Mrs. Gobin was born, so her marker says; in 1848 and
passed on in 1939. Russell Gobin was born in 1842 and his death took
place in 1916.
On the marker for Frank Jones is this verse:
tell who next may
fall beneath the chastening rod,
be first but let us
all prepare to meet our God."
Joseph Cox, born in 1824 and died in 1914, is here
by the side of his wife, Amanda. Mr. Cox was a Civil War veteran, a
member of Co. D 92nd Regt. Ohio Volunteers. Hayes Keepers of Co. I,
12th Wisconsin is here. He went into the service on December 14, 1861,
giving his address as Richland Center, and was mustered out July 16,
B. F. Washburn, who had much to do with the village
of Excelsior in an early day, is buried in this graveyard as is his
wife Maria J. Mr. Washburn was born in 1840 and passed on in 1910
while his wife, born in 1846, lived until 1928. Mr. Washburn was born
in Illinois, came with his parents to Grant county in 1857. In 1864 he
enlisted in Co. I, 17th Wisconsin Volunteers and served until being
mustered out. He returned to Grant county and was, in 1865, married to
Maria J. Hawkins. In 1869 he bought lots in Excelsior and later
purchased a large amount of farm land, being at one time the largest
real estate owner in Richwood township. He conducted a mercantile
business at Excelsior for some time, interested in the mills, owned a
wagon shop, and served as postmaster of Excelsior for several years. He
also served in the state legislature.
Samuel Noble, born in 1830, in Ohio, is here in the
Haskins cemetery as is his wife Maranda, who was born in Ohio in 1840.
Her maiden name was Maranda Ackley. They came to Richwood in May 1864.
He owned at one time an interest in the Excelsior mills. He served as
town treasurer of Richwood for ten years. Mr. Noble died in 1911 and
his wife passed on in 1920.
Joseph J. Taylor, World War veteran, buried here,
was a private in the army, and his marker indicates that he served in
an Iowa unit. He passed on February 15, 1918. Another World War
veteran, John William McKinney, was, so his marker says, Sp. 3, 509
Quartermaster Co. He was born on November 9, 1934, and died April 8,
Still another World War soldier in this burying
ground is Hartzel Alderman, a Sgt. in Co. K, 128th Inft. Division.
Hartzel was born in 1889 and died in 1919. A stone marked "Father" and
one marked "Mother" are on the same lot. The father, Robert, was born
in 1858 and died in 1934. Florence, the mother, was born in 1857 and
died in 1939.
William H. Powers has a flag on his grave and two
guns crossed are carved upon his tombstone. Wm. was a World War II
veteran who died in service in 1944. On the same lot is his mother,
Mildred, and her name appears upon the monument. She died in 1948. When
her son was to be brought back for burial, she then a resident of a
Pacific coast state, made plans to attend the burial and in due time
started for Wisconsin by auto. On the way here she was the victim of an
auto accident which took her life. Her body was brought back and she
and her son were laid to rest on the same day at the same time in 1948.
The stone that marks their burial spot reads:
Powers Mildred H.
J. W. Garner, is one of the "Boys in Blue" to
be buried here and by his side is his wife, Mary. Mr. Garner was born
in the Hoosier state, January 10, 1840, and in 1861 enlisted in an
Indiana regiment, took part in 37 battles, taken prisoner at
Johnsonville, Tenn. He was never wounded but of the 109 men in his
company when he first enlisted, only nine lived to come home. In 1866
he married Mary Endicott and later they came to Wisconsin.
Moses Weldy, born in 1843, and died in 1921, is
buried here by the side of his wife, Amanda, who was born in 1842.
Enoch Harvey and his wife, Harriett, are among those who found rest
here. Enoch was born in 1842 and died in 1922. Mrs. Harvey was born in
1854 and passed on in 1911. W. J. Owens, born in 1842 and died in 1910,
is here, as is his wife Eliza, born in 1913. A flag on the grave
indicates that Mr. Owens was a Civil War veteran.
John Faulkner, another Civil War veteran, is in this
graveyard. He was a member of Co. A 22nd Wisconsin Infantry. When he
entered service he gave his residence as the town of Richwood.
Buried here is John S. McKinney and some of the
members of his family. Mr. McKinney was one of the early comers to
Richland county, born in Grant county on September 1, 1837, he came
with his parents to Richland county in 1842, when he was five years
old, when there were less than 20 white settlers in the county. In 1862
he married Maria Parish, bought a piece of land about a mile cast of
Excelsior, built a log house. Later a frame house was erected. Mr.
McKinney died on March 14, 1927. He was a good carpenter, built many of
the houses still standing in Excelsior is well as the school house
there. There were ten children in the family, only one, we believe,
still lives. Mr. McKinney also conducted a furniture store and was
called upon from time to time to make coffins. He also was a pioneer
undertaker and many of the people in the Haskins cemetery were
furnished coffins made by him in his carpenter shop. No doubt he
assisted in providing undertaking service to many of those who passed
away in the early days.
A granddaughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Miles
Randall, live upon the old farm. Mrs. McKinney, the wife, who shared
the joys and sorrows of the pioneer days with her husband, was born in
1841 and passed into the land beyond the sunset in 1920.
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