Buena Vista Township, Richland County,
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
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
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:
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:
Pvt. 3 U. S.
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
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