Vista Township, Richland County,
Tales The Tombstones
Tell - Republican Observer - January 30, 1958
The Bethel and St. Kilian's Cemeteries
St. Kilian's Cemetery
The St. Kilian's cemetery in the town of Buena Vista
is very well kept and in it over the graves of the departed are many
fine monuments which give credit to the stone cutters who made works of
art of them. But there is a sort of mystery in connection with this
cemetery. Nearly all cemeteries are laid out east and west. This is a
universal custom. For no apparent reason, St. Kilian's have both east
and west burials as well as north and south. We asked a German friend
of ours the reason for this and he stated that the Germans were buried
one way and the Irish another. When we were in the cemetery seeking
information for this article, a lady and her husband came and visited
the north and south portion, where the Irish were buried, so we asked
them about the burials. The lady said her mother was buried here and
gave the same answer to the question as did the German friend. This
answer, though true, does not give the reason why Germans were buried
east and west and the Irish north and south. This is done in no other
cemetery in the county so we would like to know just why it happens
Such names as these appear upon the markers, Kaul,
Wunnicke, Olson, Aspel, Wiedenfeld, Crapser, Alvin, Grauvogl,
Kessenich, Kaney, Lord, Wirtz, Nachreiner, Duren, King, Greenheck,
Weitzel, Munz, Richgels, Reuter.
Among the early born to be buried here are Joseph
Schrom, born in 1845 and his wife, Theresa, born in 1857.
Twin sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Aspel had brief
lives. Peter Jo, born July 26, 1901, passed away August 15,1901, and
Thomas Raym lived until May 20, 1902. On the marker for them is this:
"Two little flowers just lately given to bloom on earth, to bloom in
Edward Henry Schmitz, World War I veteran is here.
He was, his marker says, a private in the U. S. Army, died January 29,
"Albert P. Schmitz, Staff Sgt. 351 A.A.F., Bomb
Squadron, World War II, P.H.-A.M." is recorded upon a marker. He was
born May 13, 1920 and died November 2, 1944.
Another World War II veteran to be buried here was
Gilbert S. Olson, a private in the Marine Corps. Gilbert was born
August 4, 1926, and died March 15, 1945.
Frank P. Aspel, Sgt. Medical Department, a veteran
of World War I is here buried. He was born August 14, 1886, and died
March 2, 1953.
Some of the markers are in German; one reads: "Hier
Ruhet, Katharina Frau von P. J. Moll Geb den 11 Nov. 1856, Gest. den 14
Mai 1895, Herr geb ihr die ewige Ruhe."
One of the early born was Peter Joseph Durst, who
was born June 16, 1836, and died Nov. 13, 1896.
The tombstone for one buried here gives a brief
sketch of her life, it reads:
"Anna Mary Weber, who was born in Prussia near Trer,
in January, 1823, married to Martin Richartz in 1852, came with him to
America in 1854 and settled in Fond du Lac county at Calvary. Moved
with her family to Bear Valley where she remained until her death,
which occurred on May 10, 1897." About the same wording is on the
marker for her husband except that he was born January, 1829, and died
March 31, 1897.
Clara Bruckner was born in 1844 and died in 1924.
Another early birth was that of Henry Wiedenfeld, who was born in 1837
and died in 1909. His wife, Cecelia, was born in 1854. Mrs. Peter
Schmitz was born in Prussia in 1825, and Mary Schmitz in 1839, and
Agnes Grunheck in 1825. (Note the spelling).
Cornelius Greenheck and his wife Anna Marie,
are buried here. He was born in 1854 and died in 1924; she was born in
1850 and died in 1933.
"Joseph Schmitz, born at Johnsburg, Wis., May 31,
1850, died at Bear Valley October 20, 1927;" so reads the marker, and
on the reverse side is this: "Gertrude A. Schmitz, nee Dederich, born
at Cross Plains, Wis., August 2, 1854."
The Irish Folks
Those named above are some of the Germans, buried
east and west and following are some Irish buried north and south.
There are not many in this portion of the cemetery, but one with a
good, old Irish name is Michael Mullen who was born in 1842 and died in
1912; Mary, his wife, was born in 1852, and died in 1923.
Other names upon some of the stones are Andreas,
Kenney, Clements, Kaney, Flynn.
Lawrence Dorgan, born November, 1849, and died in
1936, is here as is his wife, Mary. She was born at Watertown, August
29, 1849, and died at Bear Valley, November 16, 1908.
A World War II veteran, Sgt. Francis Dorgan, has a
marker here but burial was made far across the sea, in France. On his
marker it says he was a member of Co. G. 409 Infantry, 103 Division.
His birth is given as 1918 and his death as 1944. Then there is the
"Buried in France."
Edward Gorman and his wife Ellen, are buried here.
He was born in 1816 and she in 1832. Mr. Gorman died in 1906, his wife
There is a stone in this burying ground for Michael
Larkin Jr., who passed on in 1894 at the age of 37. On it is carved a
partly open gate and these words:
"And the Gates
of it shall not be shut at all
for there shall be no night there."
A stone is also here for Michael Larkin Sr., and his
wife Anna. Both were natives of King's county Ireland. He was born in
1823 and died in 1896. She was also born in 1823 and died December 15,
Rose Kaney is one of the early born to be at rest
here. She died on December 28, 1909, at the age of 76.
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