Goodnight and I are back from our cemetery-hopping trip. We had a lovely time and GN enjoyed it as much as I did.
We went to the cemetery on the island first. You can Google the location and see if you would call it an island. I had no idea what we would find there because I had never heard of it before. I simply saw it on the map and it intrigued me.
It is Evergreen Cemetery in Menomonie, WI and I am so glad that we took the trip. The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is serene and scenic and filled with plenty of history. There are many very old tombstones there. Below is a photo of a lovely group of trees. There are flat tombstones under the trees and a view of Lake Menomin beyond. It was very picturesque.
Inside the cemetery entrance, the first thing one notices is a section for veterans of the Civil War. You can see the Memorial statue just beyond the gate. The flags in the second photo mark the graves of Civil War veterans.
As I drove around the cemetery, sometimes parking and walking, I found the gravesite of a Revolutionary War hero, Dr. Stephen Tainter. I can’t recall ever visiting the grave of a Revolutionary War hero, so I paid a visit to Tainter’s grave.
I found it very touching to stop for a moment at the tomb. Tainter enlisted at the age of 16 to be a drummer with Captain Kimball’s Company in Colonel Sparhawk’s Massachusetts’ Regiment. His grandson, Captain Andrew Tainter is the one who relocated his body to Evergreen Cemetery.
The Tainter plot intrigued me because there is a Tainter Lake connected to Lake Menomin and my great-grandfather had a huge farmhouse tha overlooked the lake. I’ve seen the farmhouse, but never knew the story behind the lake’s namesake. Now I do.
The cemetery itself was founded as a private cemetery by a local lumber house. Many of the early graves have no markers because the families couldn’t afford them on the salary earned in the lumber mill. The University of Wisconsin, Stout Library has a cemetery index for the single lot information and there are vacancies listed. The index also confirms how many of the graves have no markers.
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The second cemetery Goodnight and I visited was where I was hoping to find the grave of my great-grandfather. It wasn’t as large as the one on the island, nor as picturesque (far fewer trees), so I drove around as GN kept a look-out for the surname of one of my great-grandfathers.
She spotted one that stood upright and when she pointed it out, I saw it too. I parked the car and we walked over to read it. There were two names listed. It took my breath away to see the wife’s name on the headstone, but I saw that the year of death was not there yet. After we paid our respects, we hopped back in the car to finish driving around the small cemetery.
There was a much older section in the cemetery that had flat headstones, so GN and I couldn’t read them from the car. I pulled over and parked. GN and I split up the very old section and went on a mission to hunt for the family surname.
The headstones and markers in this section were quite old and weather worn, but in my half of it, there were none with the surname for which we were looking.
Soon, GN called to me that she had found another headstone. I walked over to have a look as well. This headstone was all by itself. GN asked me if I knew anyone by that first name. I had never heard of that first name before. I made note of the dates of birth and death and the grave belonged to a ten-day old baby.
I had my genealogy research along with me in the car. This baby’s name is not listed in what I have, but the parents and siblings are, so this baby was a relative of mine. When I confirmed it, the lump in my throat got very thick . . .
Poor little tyke. He died in 1918, when the influenza pandemic took over 50 million deaths worldwide. But . . . at ten days old, the little guy could have other problems. GN and I brushed off his stone and made it a bit more visible. She asked me if we could take some flowers next time.
GN and I didn’t hurry back home. We tarried over lunch and talked about family. Then we spotted a thrift shop/antique shop near our lunch stop and turned our cemetery-hopping trip into the more upbeat portion of the day. She’s fun that way.