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                                                         Richland City Cemetery

                                                            Buena Vista Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

                                                HERE THEY SLEEP Narrative


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.

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