Richland City Cemetery
Buena Vista Township, Richland County,
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Old burial ground reviewed April 30, 1975 by Mervin Banker and H. A.
Dieter. The nearest access to this "lost cemetery" is by following U.
S. 14 through Gotham to Sawmill Road, thence about 0.4 mile south of
the railroad crossing and immediately to the right at the high line
clearing. It was reported that a number of grave stones were left
standing after the exhumation of certain burials and their removal to
Button and Sextonville cemeteries. There are no visible markers in the
described area. It was also reported in 1954 that the last stone to
remain standing was that of one Rev. Solomon Chaffee, a circuit pastor
of the regional Presbyterian churches. A relative, John B. Chaffee, a
one time resident of Richland City, served with the 4th Wis. 6th L. A.
Battery, Civil War. The total abandonment of this
cemetery is matched only by the death of this history making river
town. Many factors, such as pioneers moving on to better things,
routing of a railroad south of the Wisconsin River and a nation divided
by war with a dwindling economy to follow, were responsible for the
passing of a brave community. As if this were not enough, a new village
to be named Gotham, was soon to spring up to the north. It was surveyed
June 3-4, 1891 by L. L. Appleby under the direction of M. W. Gotham.
The new era of the 90's had come in to supersede it's fading neighbor
the south. History had again created, in retrospect "A Tale of Two
Cities". The total escape has carried with it data of much historical
value. Somewhere, hidden away, may be a mere scrap of paper telling us
of the missing events left unrecorded. Plat books will guide us to that
portion of history. Sand and pine trees will lend their cover to the
scenes while man must stand forever in the
offing. P.S. A letter of May 26, 1975 from the
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, states there are no
Richland County cemetery records on file there nor at the Archives
Department in our Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin -
Platteville, Wisconsin. Thus the mystery deepens from year to year even
as we grope for some light to illuminate the darkness backstage.