Ithaca Township, Richland County, Wisconsin
Tales The Tombstones
Tell - Republican Observer September 29, 1955
A Visit to the Neptune Cemetery
Quite out of sight from the roadside which passes it
is the Neptune Cemetery atop a rocky ridge. The road passes the foot of
the not high hill so close that the little cemetery is hidden from
view. A couple of large pine trees can be seen as you approach the
cemetery on the state truck highway which leads from Ithaca to Neptune.
A glimpse of a tombstone or two can be noted as you pass Elephant Rock;
they are straight ahead.
The Neptune cemetery site was given as burial place
by Thomas Sippy, son of Dr. Joseph Sippy, back in the long ago. Mrs.
Lena Reagles of Neptune, is the present secretary of the cemetery
association and has the old, old records but for some reason or other
they, do not bear any dates. Mrs. Reagles gave some information about
the cemetery when we called at her home some time ago. She showed us
the old record, and, according to it, the cemetery contained 113 lots.
Seven Civil War veterans are buried there and there are government
markers for some of them. Among the old soldiers who rest there are
Theodore Dockerty, Phillip Warren, John Van Allen, H. H. Butts, Harlow
Stoddard and Wm. F. Krause.
Many of the older settlers of Neptune and vicinity
have found a resting place in the shadow of the tall pine trees. These
trees, we were told, were set out by Thomas Sippy, to mark the grave of
a Dr. Slack, who was buried there. He had no relatives in that area so
far as is known and Mr. Sippy, besides planting the trees, put up a
rough stone to mark the spot. Dr. Slack's name appears upon the record
but some say the name was not Slack but Slaughter.
Among the older settlers to be buried in the
cemetery are Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Warren, Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Butts, D.
J. Gwin and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Abel Reagles, and Mr. and Mrs. John
Philip Schlafer. On the Schlafer lot are markers for five infants, all
born dead or lived but a few hours. The stones are marked:
Clarance - Clara, twins, 1884 - 1884, Leon
1888-1888; Gertrude 1889-1889; Louisa 1891-1891. Another one was for
Agnes who lived two years, born in 1892 and died in 1894.
Standing in the cemetery is a marker for Emmett
Jaquish, a soldier boy. He is not buried there however. The monument
reads: Emmett Jaquish Co. H 46th Wis. Vol. Died May 5, 1864 aged
14 years, 6 months, 19 days. Buried at Chicago.
It might be of interest to know that Co. H had as
captain Amasa Hoskins, Richland Center, and in the company were 81 men
from Richland county.
Opposite to the inscription is one for John W.
Jaquish who died March 10, 1898, aged 82 years, 10 months and 26 days.
Note that Emmett, the young soldier boy was less than 15 years of age
at the time of his death. He was indeed a youthful soldier.
Abel Reagles and his wife Priscilla are among those
buried on the hill. A large stone marks the spot where they are resting
and at the base of it are two smaller ones which bear pretty verses,
"We look for thy coming, but you came not, we miss
you everywhere, the chair is vacant. I loved you in childhood, I loved
you in age; though dead I love you still. Our lives are but a dream, a
time flowing stream gliding swiftly away."
On the other stone it reads:
"Farewell, dear friend, I will never come back any
more, so plant ye a tree that may wave over me; Come at the close of a
bright summer day, come when the sun sheds his last lingering ray."
On the Mark Squires lot the monument notes the
passing of several children, Freddie died in 1881, aged 8; Jay passed
away on February 12, 1881, aged two years; Earl, July 14, 1888, aged
three; Frank, June 14, 1896 aged 14, and Lois, June 17, 1885, aged
The first child to be buried in the cemetery was
Cora Sippy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sippy. A simple stone marks
her grave; it reads: "Cora Sippy. In memory of little Cora."
Nothing else appears upon the marker; no date and no verse, though a
little wreath carved in the stone is on top of the marker. The Sippy
home was at the base of the hill, a stone's throw from the cemetery.
Mrs. Sippy had the child buried at the brow of the hill so she could
see the monument from her front yard. The farm, then owned by Mr. and
Mrs. Sippy, is now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Meeker.
On the monument for Dr. Joseph Sippy, who's son gave
the land for the cemetery, are these inscriptions: "Joseph Sippy died
September 11, 1870, aged 79 years, five months." "Martha, wife of
Joseph Sippy, Died July 9, 1880, aged 84 years four months."
Those are brief words for ones who were so prominent
in the affairs of Neptune for it was Dr. Sippy who platted the village
of Neptune in 1855 and he gave the village its name. A post office was
opened in 1854 previous to the platting of the village site and Dr.
Sippy was the first postmaster. As a post office the office was named
by the authorities at Washington and Dr. Sippy also chose the same name
for the village. At the time there was a log house on the site owned by
Daniel Gwin. Stephen Reagles opened a store. The post office was on a
route from Sextonville and mail was received once a week. Previous to
this Dr. Sippy started the erection of a saw mill which was completed
in 1854 and he continued to operate it until 1866 when he sold to Rufus
Taplin who in 1883 added a feed mill.
Dr. Sippy was born near Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in
March 1791. His father was a native of France and came to America with
LaFayette during the War for Independence. Dr. Sippy was a stirring
patriot and served for a time in the War of 1812. He was married to
Martha Cogswell whose mother was a sister to General Gates of
Revolutionary War fame. In 1813 Dr. and Mrs. Sippy went to Ohio, making
the trip with one horse, without a wagon, packing upon the back of the
horse their household goods including bedding and camp kettles. The
couple settled in Indiana and in 1852 Dr. Sippy made a trip to Richland
county on horseback. He liked the place and came here with his wife and
son Thomas and settled in Ithaca. They were the parent of a number of
children, one of whom, Thomas, was at one time the sheriff of Richland
county. Two of Dr. Sippy's grandsons, A. F. and Bertram W. became noted
physicians, the former practiced in Ohio for many years and Dr. Bertram
in Chicago until his death.
Dr. Bertram Sippy married a Richland county girl,
Miss Mabel Lamberson, who is still living. Thomas in later years moved
to Akron, Ohio, where his son Dr. A. F., practiced medicine, and it was
there that Thomas died.
Able Reagles, mentioned elsewhere in this article,
went to work for Dr. Joseph Sippy, when 14 years of age and lived with
him until 21 years old. He was then married to Priscilla, daughter of
Dr. and Mrs. Sippy and came Richland county in 1854. Times were hard
and food short. Going to Sextonville some corn and beans were bought by
Mr. Reagles and his neighbor, Henry Short. They returned about midnight
tired and hungry. The Reagles family had gone to bed without food. Some
beans were hastily cooked and eaten with a relish by one and all.
Ginseng became in great demand and the whole Reagles family went to
work with a will to gather it. This kept the wolf from the door and
proved the turning point in their fortunes, from which they prospered,
and, as the story books say, "lived happily ever after."
Thus were the lives and fortunes of all the pioneers
bound together. Their efforts were not in vain as fine farms, a
prosperous countryside prove that the pioneers of the Neptune area were
worthy men and women.
Burial are infrequent in the Neptune cemetery now;
the last one being on June 6th of this year when Mrs. Christina Hunt
was laid to rest. Mrs. Hunt was 84 years of age, a daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. John Leiber, early settlers of Willow township. We are told that
but one or two more burials are to be made in the cemetery after which
it will be used no more.
Tonight Little Cora sleeps away the years in the
cemetery not far from Grandpa and Grandma - Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Sippy.
Peace be with them all.
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