Melancthon Creek Cemetery
Henrietta Township, Richland County,
Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - June 6, 1957
Melancthon Creek Cemetery
Adjoining St. Patrick's church in the town of
Henrietta is the church cemetery on Melancthon Creek. This cemetery was
first located south of its present site near the farm of the late Otto
Hanzel. Several burials were made there but for some reason or other
the burying ground was re-located; a number of the bodies were taken up
and removed to the new spot. The first burial in the old location was
the body of Anastasia Fanning, wife of James Kelley, who died in 1858.
St. Patrick's Catholic church is a nice brick
edifice, erected in 1924, replacing a wooden structure built in 1867.
The new church was built under plans of Father Fraling, who worked side
by side with the members. He drew the plans and much of the credit of
the church building should go to him.
The first services were held at the home of
Cornelius McCarthy by Fr. Sthale in 1855. Mass was continued to be held
in the McCarthy home until 1867. A great grandson of Cornelius
McCarthy, Fr. Robert McCarthy, is now a priest. He is located at
Boscobel, but on account of ill health was for a time unable to take an
active part in the services.
From St. Patrick's church area have come many
notable citizens, Judge James Wickham who served for many years as
circuit court judge in the Eau Claire district. He was born in the
valley and his parents are buried here. Judge Shields, deceased, also a
native of the valley, moved to Minnesota, where he located. One of the
natives, Tom Kelley, moved out to Jordan, Minnesota, where he became
editor of the Jordan Independent, a newspaper which came every week
back some 40 or 50 years ago, to the Republican Observer office.
One of the notable families was the Conley family,
some of whom, the older folks, are buried here. Several of the family
became well known doctors. One Dr. H. H. Conley, is located at Park
Ridge, Ill. He is an ardent circus fan and for a time was president of
the Circus Association of America.
Up on the hillside adjoining the church is the
cemetery which is well kept and there are buried many of the pioneers
of Melancthon Creek valley and the area. There are members of the Dunn,
Moore, Sweeney, Byrne, McGlynn, McNamara, Ryan, Conley, Grinsell,
Grangel, Connors, McDonough, Casey families and many others.
Cornelius McCarthy, who was born at Delafield on
June 8, 1851, sleeps there together with his wife, the former Mary
Dunn. She was born in New York in 1856 and died August 5, 1903. Mr.
McCarthy died in 1900. He was a son of Cornelius McCarthy, Sr., who is
buried in St. Bridget's cemetery in the town of Westford.
We were up to St. Patrick's cemetery some weeks ago
and later stopped in at the home of Mr. and Mrs. P. J. Escher to get
more information. Mrs. Escher, who was a daughter of Cornelius McCarthy
Jr., gave us much valuable information. She is well posted on the area
as she and her sister, Mrs. Con Lynch, are the two oldest living
members of St. Patrick's parish; Mrs. Lynch is the oldest, Mrs. Escher
Close by the McCarthy lot are buried Mr. and Mrs.
Patrick Dunn, grandparents of Mrs. Escher. Mr. Dunn, his tombstone
says, was born August 20, 1827, in County Galway, Ireland, and was
married to Bridget Walsh, February 2, 1851, and they came to Richland
county in 1857. Mr. Dunn died on February 21, 1901.
Mr. and Mrs. Emmett McCarthy are buried close
by. Emmett was a son of Patrick McCarthy and Father Robert McCarthy is
a son of Mr. and Mrs. Emmett McCarthy. Emmett was born in 1868 and
passed on in 1941; his wife Harriett, was born in 1867 and died in 1939.
Members of the Jeremiah Whalen, Sr., family, have
found rest in this hillside burying ground. Mr. Whalen was a native of
Ireland, coming to American and later to Richland county in 1858. In
1877 he was married to Miss Bridget Ryan. They were the parents of six
children, Anna, Delia, Alice, Michael, James and Jeremiah Jr. Of these
only one, James, is now living.
Another worthy couple to be buried close by is
Lawrence Murphy and his wife, Mary. Both came from Ireland. Lawrence
was born in 1881 and died in 1932; his wife was born in 1880 and passed
on in 1956.
There is a stone in the cemetery for Catherine
Gibbins, who died in 1874 at the age of 20 years. Richard Walsh, born
in June, 1831, died in 1895; Mrs. Walsh, whose given name was Bridget,
was born in 1828. Mr. and Mrs. Walsh came from County Galway, Ireland.
On the stone of Catherine Walsh, wife of James Walsh, it says she was a
native of Parish Ballendovn also a native of County Galway. She lived
to a ripe old age, passing away, October 21, 1876, at the age of 89
years, 5 months and 16 days. Inscribed on the stone are these words:
"May she rest
"Born in New York in 1854 and died October 19, 1894"
it says on the tombstone of John Dunn, and the inscription for his wife
Mary says she was born January 25, 1854, and died December 24, 1892.
Mr. Dunn was born in Orange county, New York. His wife was Mary
McDonald. On the lot there is a marker for one of their sons, James,
who passed away in 1953. A son Joe, for whom there is a marker, still
lives at Yuba. He was for many years a rural mail carrier out of Yuba
before his retirement.
On a stone for Patrick Conley it says he died
September 16, 1886, aged 72 years. He was the grandfather of H. H.
Conley, spoken of elsewhere in this article.
One of the early born is Hugh Byrne. On his monument
Patrick Byrne in memory of his father
Byrne, born in Abbey Down, County Wexford,
August 18, 1888, aged 72 years, 8 months."
From the old to the young is but a step or two, for
close by it reads that Anna Marie, died August 4, 1887, aged 1 year, 7
months and 25 days; and Katie, died August 21, 1888, at the age of 4
months and 17 days. These little ones were the children of J. and M.
John Walsh and his wife Mary, are buried here. Mr.
Walsh was born in Wexford, Ireland, and he died in Henrietta, July 16,
1891, at the age of 75. His wife died in 1907. You will note the large
number of folks who came from Ireland and the county of Wexford seemed
to be a favorite spot. We wonder why this should be but no one gives
the answer. Mrs. Escher stated that long, long ago, one of the early
comers from Ireland when asked about it gave no answer but remarked "we
sure did not know what we were getting into."
On the James Kelley lot up on the hillside are
buried John Kelley, born in 1808 and died in 1876. Also there is his
wife, Anastasia Cloney, born in 1806 and died in 1854. Mr. and Mrs.
John Kelley were the parents of James. They were natives of the Emerald
Isle. They all came to America in 1851 where the mother died in
Milwaukee. James and his father came to Richland county in 1856 and
here the father died in 1876. James Kelley was twice married; first to
Miss Anna Fanning who died in 1858.
His second wife was Mary Ann McCarthy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
Cornelius McCarthy, Sr., who was born in County Cork. They became the
parents of ten children one of whom, James C., became well known as a
storekeeper at Yuba. His wife was Bridget Kennedy. Another son, Eugene,
stayed on the old home farm until his death in 1943.
On the Wickham lot are several members of the
family. Patrick, father of Judge Wickham, was born in 1819 and died in
1894; Catherine, the mother, was born in 1827 and died in 1894. Other
members of the family are on the lot.
Close by the Wickham lot is the Kennedy lot. The
Wickham family were neighbors in life and now are neighbors in death.
Grandfather John Kennedy was born in 1800 and died in 1876; his son
James was born in 1834 and died in 1904; Bridget, mother of James, was
born in 1830 and died in 1925; Grandmother Bridget, wife of John, was
born in 1816 and died in 1884. Then comes James J. Kennedy, born in
1865 and died in 1915.
A large stone marks the grave for members of the
Louie Barreau family. Mr. Barreau was born in 1851.
There is a marker for Mr. and Mrs. John Quinlin
which just give their ages. He was 85 and his wife Ann, 80. They were
the grandparents of Joseph Kelly, now of Richland Center.
On the monument of William and Bridget Moore, who
were the parents of Tom Moore, who lived out on Brush Creek, it says:
ones you have left us,
Brother, Sister Dear,
grant you rest eternal
and rest in Heaven's sphere."
You will note the good old fashioned names of the
pioneers buried here. Take the names Patrick and Bridget, they appear
frequently. A little bit of oddity is found upon the monument of
Patrick McDonald and his wife Ellen. Both were natives of Ireland. He
was born in Kings county and she in Queens county. According to the
stone he died in 1893 at the age of 75 years and she in 1906 at the age
Soldiers of the wars are buried here. These Civil
War veterans are there, John McGrath, James Kennedy Sr., William Moore,
John Grinsell, John Walsh and his son Thomas B. are in this hillside
cemetery. The son Thomas B. was a Spanish-American veteran. Also there
are markers for soldiers of more recent wars. The marker for one reads:
War I, Pvt.
Co. F., 37th
23, 1895, died 1952"
The other marker is for a World War II veteran. It
L, 11 Wis. Inft.,
World War II, Born
27, 1927; died
February 28, 1953"
And that, folks, is the story of the hillside
cemetery on Melancthon Creek adjoining St. Patrick's church in the town
of Henrietta. To those who are now buried there and those who, in
future years, will be buried there, one can only wish, like many a
"May they rest in peace."
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