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                                                     Jennings Cemetery
                                        Buena Vista Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

                                           

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - December 26, 1957

                                          A Little Known Cemetery Near Lone Rock

    Here is the story of the Jennings cemetery on highway 14 near Lone Rock. It contains but a very few graves and is hardly noticed by those folks who pass it by. It is north across the highway from the Lone Rock cemetery. The story below was written by Robert Weigley of Lone Rock, some 17 or 18 years ago. Here it is

                                                        An Old Cemetery
    Down in the southern part of the county in the town of Buena Vista near Lone Rock stands a little obscure cemetery which has remained unnoticed for many years otherwise than to those who had relatives buried therein. This tiny burying ground comprises two acres of ground and contains four unmarked graves. (More burials have since been made here and some graves are now marked.)

    When surveyors in staking out the proposed location of U. S. Highway 14 between Spring Green and Gotham, they came upon the tiny plot. Running directly in the path of the proposed highway, relatives were contacted, among them being Mrs. Urania Jennings Fries, of Lone Rock, whose father and grandfather rest beneath this hallowed soil. Heirs of the estate otherwise than Mrs. Fries have sold part of the ground in the cemetery to the state and rather than take the small amount which would be allowed for the several feet of land, they have asked that instead it be fenced. Members of the American Legion Post at Lone Rock have been asked to write the state department at Washington requesting stones for the graves.

    James Jennings, a former well known Lone Rock resident, was buried in the tiny cemetery 44 (now 62) years ago. The land was given by him as a final resting place for all members of the Jennings family. Mr. Jennings, a resident of Lone Rock between the years 1864 and 1888, was a veteran of the Florida War with the Seminole Indians.

    Government records state that James Jennings enlisted in the service of his country on February 5, 1838, as a private in Battery K, U. S. Artillery. Here he saw active service and received his honorable discharge papers on February 5, 1841. A native of New York City where he first saw the light of day on December 6, 1812, he was actively engaged in the early affairs of that great city. It is recorded in the old council proceedings, a copy of which Mrs. Fries owns, that his father, Ephriam Jennings, had the contract of moving an early city hall and for many years served as "lamplighter" before the advent of the incandescent lamp.

    The second James M. Jennings, the father of Mrs. Urania Fries of Lone Rock, was for many years a highly respected citizen of that village. He was actively engaged in the affairs of the village government, serving in various official capacities. Mr. Jennings was buried in the tiny cemetery beside his father 35 (now 53) years ago. A small child of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Fries was interred there as was an infant of Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel W. Jennings of Lone Rock.

    The history of the entire Jennings family is indeed an interesting one and we learned from records that it had its inception in England. Several years ago a relative of the family, Mrs. Barnett of Norfolk, Virginia, received word of the death of a relative, "William Jennings",  who had died in England, leaving a reputed estate of over $575,856 in castles, lands, lands, silver plate and costly paintings. Mrs. Barnett started suit and notified Mrs. Fries of Lone Rock. Two lawyers, one in America, and one in England, were hired. Although they spent much time and money in securing records both here and in England, they learned that an old English law said that all monies and property belonging to a  citizen shall revert to the Crown within a certain length of time should no proceedings to obtain it be forthcoming. Mr. Jennings was a bachelor and it is believed his cook and trusty servant received much of the estate and the remainder reverted to the Crown.

    At the present time the America relatives of the Jennings family number 55 scattered throughout the United States.

    But the little cemetery which has remained unnoticed for many years will soon boast of a new attractive fence and the graves are to be decorated with stones. We know that a good character is the best tombstone. Those who love you and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts-not on marble. Blessed are the dead who sleep in the Lord!
     
                                                                  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

    Thus ends the story as written by Robert Weigley some 17 or 18 years ago. Changes have been made since then. The little plot of ground is now surrounded by a woven wire fence put there by the road contractors. A driveway was built, also by the contractors.

    There are two stone markers close to the southwest corner of the cemetery and one smaller one. One of these tombstones is of marble, having the appearance of being erected years ago. It has a lamb carved upon it and below is this:
                Baby
                1886-1886
                 Anna B.
                1904-1904
                 Jennings

    The other stone is a regulation government marker such as is furnished to service men. Note the difference in the spelling of the names upon the two stones for on the marker furnished by the government the spelling is "Ginnings" and it reads:
            "James Ginnings
                New York
            Pvt. 3 U. S. Artil'.
               May 24, 1894"

    The date, May 24, 1894, notes the time of his passing. The other marker is for Alfred E. Fries, who was kin of the Jennings. Mr. Fries was born in 1884 and died in 1942. He was 58 years of age at the time of his passing.

    This cemetery is a bit east of the Lone Rock cemetery on the north side of highway 14. Note it the next time you pass by.

S.F.

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