Willow Township, Richland County, Wisconsin
Tales The Tombstones Tell -
Republican Observer September 1, 1955
Uncle Joe and Aunt Lydia
For detailed information of the lives of those who
"have gone on before" the Loyd cemetery is perhaps the most interesting
one in the county. The tombstones not only give the name, date of birth
and date of death but lists interesting facts about the folks who sleep
away the years upon the hillside overlooking the village.
For instance there is the monument of Robert Bruce
Stewart, it reads:
Robert Bruce Stewart, born in Stockbridge, Madison
county, New York, December 14, 1821. Went to Jefferson county,
Wisconsin, in 1849, moved to Buena Vista, Richland county in 1849, and
with E.M. Sexton platted the village of Loyd in 1854; died February 16,
1901, aged 79 years, 2 months. We only know that they have gone, and
that the same relentless tide which bore them from us, still glides on
and those who mourn them with it glide.
On the other side of the monument is this:
Helen L. Sexton, daughter of Morris and Linda
Sexton, born at Clayton, Jefferson county, New York, October 18,
1825,lived in Chicago. In 1836, came to Jefferson, Wisconsin, in 1838,
married to R.B. Stewart March 4, 1847, and died May 7, 1897, aged 71
years, 6 months and 19 days.
A marker for their daughter is also on the lot and
we wondered as we read the inscription what the last line meant, it has
a meaning, but what? The marker was for Laurentine who was married to
C. R. Hyde in 1882 and died at Superior, Wis., June 21, 1904.
The last line reads: "She hath done what she could."
The cemetery contains stones for many of the
pioneers of the Loyd area and familiar names on the monuments brought
memories of friends we used to know.
Some of the tombstones tell matters of interest. For
instance there is one near the tool house for Joseph Rassette who was
born in Quebec, Canada, June 1, 1807 and died December 1, 1887, buried
at Hartford, Michigan. The inscription reads:
"Uncle Joe will long be remembered as the genial
story teller, a good citizen and an honest man."
The stone also contains a brief history of his wife.
"Lydia B. Sexton born at Leeds, Canada, February 9,
1810; lived at Muskegon, Michigan, in 1836; at Sextonville, Wis.,
from 1851 to 1867, at Hartford, Michigan until 1888, died at Loyd, Wis.
January 10, 1896, a friend to homeless children. Aunt Lydia was the
daughter of Maurice E. and Linda Sexton; a sister of E.M. Sexton,
Mindwell Johnston, Helen Stewart, and Comfort Banks. Faithful, kind and
true. Her's was a long life well filled with loving deeds."
On a monument not far from Rassette's is one which
bears this inscription:
"In the soft light and sweet repose of that fair
land of bliss;
She gently rest and waits for those
She loved and left in this"
Upon the grave stone of Amos Stafford, born September 28, 1783; died
May,1861, it says:
"The angles called him on a sunny day."
According to history Mr. Stafford went to Loyd
in 1856 from Cbenango county New York, in the fall and spent the winter
in Loyd. The following spring he settled on section 26, later on he
moved to section 15 where he built a mill, put in a turning lathe and
manufactured furniture. He was a natural mechanic and a good workman.
The old familiar one with a few changes about
preparing for death and follow me, appears upon the stone of John
Thompson; it reads:
"My children dear assemble here.
Your father's grave to see;
Not long ago I dwelt with you
But soon you will come and dwell with me."
Upon another was this:
"Where this silent marble weeps,
A friend, a wife, a mother, sleeps."
Here is another pretty verse that notes the first
death in the Smyth family, it says:
"O, brother, first to leave our band,
Life's song as yet unsung;
While gray hairs gather on our brows,
Thou are forever young."
There are a number of the early comers to Loyd who
were of French origin. One of them is Jules Francois, who at one time
lived in Richland Center. We noted from the stone the spelling of his
first name; it was "JuLes"; all one word but with a capital J. and L.
According to the county history the Loyd cemetery
was laid out at an early date and one of the first persons to be laid
to rest therein was H. Z. Britton who was the first person to die in
the village. His death took place in 1855 and he was buried in the
village but later removed to the cemetery.
Mr. Britton was born in 1795. He was one of the
first town officers of Willow township, and when the post office was
established at Loyd in 1855 he was the postmaster. He also in 1851,
conducted a hotel in Sextonville.
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