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                                                       Oak Ridge Cemetery
                                Orion Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

                                           

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer September 15, 1955

            A Grave With Two Marker

    In the Oak Ridge cemetery in the town of Orion a neglected grave bears two government markers evidently for the same person and the question is why? A bit of mystery creeps into the matter as the names on the two stones is spelled differently though there is no doubt but that the two spellings are both wrong.

    On one stone, note the spelling, it says "P. B. Wellsher, Co. B. 33 Wisconsin Infantry."

    On the other stone, and again note the spelling, it reads: "Philip Welcker, Co. B. 33 Wis. Infantry."

    Noting the slight difference in the spelling of the last name we wondered if perhaps a government marker had been set up when it was discovered a mistake bad been made and a second stone ordered and set up  upon the grave of the departed Civil War veteran. The matter interested us as to the correct spelling so we looked the name up in the official roster as published by the government. It did not help a bit for we found the name had been spelled differently upon both markers.

    According to the roster there was only one person in Co. B. 33 Wis. Infantry who had a name at all similar to those on the markers. The government lists the name and again note the spelling, as Phillip B. Welcher. He enlisted August 14, 1862, at Boscobel and was mustered out of service August 20, 1865, serving a bit over three years. It might be of interest to note the first name; on one stone it is P. B., on another Philip and the government puts another letter in, making it Phillip.

    That is a sample of interesting things you find upon the tombstones.

            Neglected Graves

    The Oak Ridge cemetery is another one that is neglected and almost forgotten. However a part of the cemetery is kept up in a way; brush is cut, grass mowed and an effort made to keep the last resting place of old settlers in an orderly way. But for the most part berry bushes, poison ivy, weeds and tall grass run riot. The cemetery is quite in old one, the date of its coming into being is not known. Like many of the old time burying places, it was connected with a church. The church which stood on the site, was a hewn log building erected in 1871. It is now gone, having been torn down and no trace of it left.  Its site is now part of a hay field which also hides from the view of those who pass along the highway the little cemetery. An odd tree, a dead hickory, is used as a fence post on the south side of the cemetery. It was probably not very large when the church was built, not large now but quite a sight, one worth looking at. Flickers and woodpeckers have been at work on the tree for quite some time and have it carved to perfection.

            A Pioneer Sleeps There

    One of the pioneers of the county, S. S. Blake, is buried in the Oak Ridge cemetery. He came to Richland county, in the spring of 1854 and entered land in the town of Orion and went to the village of Orion where he clerked in a store, later taught school. His farm was heavily wooded and in 1856 he started to clear the land; built a log house which stood for many years. It has now been torn down.

     Mr. Blake was a veteran of the Civil War, a member of Co. B, 25th Wis. Infantry, enlisting on August 2, 1862. On the 22nd of July, 1864, he was seriously wounded in a battle at Decatur, Georgia. On March 20, 1865, he was discharged and sent home. Mr. Blake was married on January 18, 1855, to Mary Ambrose, who was also a native of Pennsylvania. She, too, is buried in the Oak Ridge cemetery not far from the hickory tree mentioned above.

    Mr. Blake had been an officer of trust and honor in the town of Orion. He was for a time chairman of the town, and so, like many pioneers, his last resting place is in a neglected cemetery. He died on March 5, 1904, and was buried in the Oak Ridge cemetery March 7th. "Ashes to ashes" said the minister as the body was lowered into the grave.




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