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                                           Pleasant Ridge - Bloom Cemetery
                                                           Bloom Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

  Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer -
September 6, 1956

The Pleasant Ridge cemetery in the town of Bloom is one of the numerous cemeteries that is well kept and those who are buried therein are not neglected or have been over the years gone by. As in all cemeteries the pioneers of the areas have found rest in peace along with others in the cemeteries in which they sleep the long sleep.

    Names of the pioneers of the Pleasant Ridge territory appear upon the stones that stand close by the Pleasant Ridge church. There are monuments for the Ammermans, Spanglers, Todds, Griffins, Lookers, McBains, Withrows, Farmers, Parkers, Thorntons, Mullendores, Potts, Sandmires, Pelletts, Carters, Essexs and many others. Would that we knew the history of them all.

    A plaque in the cemetery contains the names of 32 Civil War veterans who, when life ended for them, they found rest far from the battlefields of the south in this cemetery. Also buried there are four World War soldiers.

    An interesting marker, a home made one marks the grave of R. J. Darnell, an early day surveyor. The marker reads:

              R. J. Darnell
            Died about 1880

    Mr. Darnell, a native of Kentucky, came to Richland county in 1843, located in the town of Orion and in 1856 moved to the town of Forest. His wife was the widow of Capt. John Smith who founded the village of Orion. Mr. Smith died in 1851 and she afterwards married R. J. Darnell; died in the town of Forest. Another stone in the cemetery marks the grave of George L. Spangler, who at one time was city marshall of Richland Center about 1881 and was also a deputy sheriff. He had his right hand badly mutilated in a clover huller, causing amputation. Mr. Spangler was born in Indiana in 1853, coming to Richland county in 1866. He died April 6, 1915, and his wife, who was the former Elizabeth Allbaugh, died in 1931.

    One of the first to be buried in the cemetery was John Farmer, who died March 12, 1858, at the age of 61 years, 11 months and 21 days. There is a stone for the children of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Griffin, who burned to death.

    Stones mark the graves of Edmund B. Looker, born in 1811, and died in 1896, and his wife born in 1826 and died in 1912. On the stone it says:

        "Behold the pilgrim as he lies with glory in his view,
         To heaven he lifts his longing eyes
         And bids the words adieu."  

    A home made marker is on the grave of Cassie M. Patten, who it is said, made the marker herself and had it erected before her death.

    There are seven or eight persons, over 90 years of age, buried in this cemetery. Among these are George Stout who died at the age of 96; Jacob Sandmire, 92; Ellen Mullendore, 95; Martha Allen, 95; Mary McBain, 91, and Thomas Jefferson Edwards, the oldest of them all, who died on October 10, 1921, at the ripe old age of 105.

     Mr. Edwards was born in Missouri, February 16, 1816. He moved with his parents to Indiana in 1825 and came to Orion, Richland county in 1854, purchased land in Eagle.  In 1861, he enlisted in the 5th Wisconsin regiment, promoted to the rank of second lieutenant and discharged in 1863. He took up his home in Bloom. His birthday was, in the later years of his life always the occasion of a big birthday party which was attended by people from far and near. He was a good story teller of the early days in the county. One story he related to the writer of this piece concerned an early day election and Mr. Edwards told it with dry humor when he was well past the 100 mark. According to Mr. Edwards there was a red hot political campaign on between the Republicans and the Democrats and he made plans to go to the polls early and work hard for his candidates, who of course, were Republicans. Election day morning came and one of Mr. Edwards' neighbors, came to the house with the sad news that his wife had passed away and that Mr. Edwards must accompany him to Richland Center for a casket, coffin, in those days. He could not turn the neighbor down but made him promise that they would return by the town house and both vote, they being strong Republicans. This they did and as they drove the wagon up in front of the town house, some Democrat looked out the open window, saw the two ardent Republicans in the wagon seat and the casket in the back. With that look the Democrat turned with alarm to others of his party and said, "We might as well give up fellow Democrats, the Republicans are bringing in dead ones."

    Mr. Edwards was twice married, first in 1844 to Hannah Gray, who died the same year. He was then married on December 7, 1845, to Abigal Hayes who passed away in 1908. They became the parents of eight children, one of whom was Edwina E., who became the wife of Robert J. Drake. She was a school teacher in the west and her body was brought back for burial in the Pleasant Ridge cemetery. At the time of her funeral school children gathered at the Ekleberry school and marched in a body to the church yard. We will have more to say about her in some future article. Following her death her husband Robert Drake drifted about and was married to Elmira Myers of Fountain county, Indiana. He died there and his body brought to the Pleasant Ridge burial ground. There was some doubt as to the cause of his death. Indiana officials came, opened the grave, exhumed the body, performed an autopsy in an effort to learn if he had been poisoned. Great was the excitement at the time; the autopsy being performed in the cemetery and the body re-buried. The Indiana case being known far and wide. No marker or stone for Drake is upon the lot.

    In addition to the names of those appearing upon the stones, told at the beginning of this article, we find the names of Benson, Moody, Klock, Barclay, Coy, Merry and Cross.

    One of the persons resting in the cemetery is Jerome M. Cross, who died in 1907. He was born in 1848. He was first buried in the Boaz cemetery and later at Pleasant Ridge.

    Leslie Sandmire and Gwendolyn Parker are two who met tragic deaths. Leslie was drowned at Viola in 1916, and Miss Parker, three years old, was killed at Excelsior May 9, 1930, by being run over by an auto.

    Upon the stone of Sarah Riley is an inscription which reads:
        "I am not dead my children dear,
         Only my body lies mouldering here.
         And when God calls His loved ones home,
         Oh! meet me at His heavenly throne."

     Tragic deaths were some of those in the family of William and Ellen Campbell. They had five children, who, we were told, suffered from hemophilia, a condition in which the blood does not clot and a cut would cause bleeding and death. Some of these five so died.

    D. C. Carter, born in 1812, has engraved upon his monument this:
        "As for me I will behold Thy face in Righteousness and
         then shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness."

    Upon a soldier's grave is a marker reading:
                David Mullendore
                  1844 - 1927
                Co. A, 50th Regt.

    Buried in this cemetery are James McBain and his wife Mary. He was born in 1839 and passed away December 6, 1905. His wife was born March 21, 1845, and entered the long sleep, November 18, 1936. Mr. McBain was a Civil War veteran. He was prominent in town and county affairs. Mrs. Nancy McBain, mother of James, is buried close by. Once when she was picking berries in the woods, having with her a granddaughter, they were charged by a cow guarding her new born calf. The cow gored Mrs. McBain but inflicted no fatal wounds though they did contribute somewhat to her death later. On her monument is this:

        "Dearest Mother here is sleeping,
         Death has called her from our home,
         But she's safe in Jesus' keeping,
         And we feel God's will be done."

    William Essex who was born in 1843 and died in 1911, was well and favorable known throughout Bloom and that area of the county. A tragic event took place at the burial of Mr. Essex. With members of his family gathered with friends in the cemetery for the last sad rites things were thrown into confusion. The choir had just started to sing "Going Down the Valley" and the casket began to be lowered into the grave when the foot strap broke or slipped and the casket fell into the grave. Some of the family fainted or became hysterical at the sad turn of events for it had been predicted by Mr. Essex before his death that he would stand up in his grave at the time of his burial. This prediction, if he did make it, came true. John Essex, father of William, is also buried in this cemetery. He was born in 1812 and died in 1887. His wife Nancy is buried on the same lot.

    Leslie McBain, a former Bloom resident, now residing near Gillingham, is and has been the caretaker of the cemetery and he has done a very, very good job of keeping things in ship shape about the last resting place of the honored dead.

    There are many buried therein that helped to make that area of the county blossom from the forest into spacious well kept farms. These sleep the last long sleep surrounded by friends and relatives of the far off day, and there in peace they rest awaiting the coming to beyond the sunset of loved ones now in the land of the living.

S. F.

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