Ridge - Bloom
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:
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
And bids the words
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
"I am not dead my children dear,
Only my body lies
And when God calls His
loved ones home,
Oh! meet me at His heavenly
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
D. C. Carter, born in 1812, has engraved upon his
"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:
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
But she's safe in Jesus'
And we feel God's will be
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.
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