Montgomery County Illinois History

Very interesting history concerning Elmwood Cemetery

From the Litchfield Daily News, August 14, 1907

Here is some very interesting history concerning Elmwood Cemetery.  In the spring of 1865, a movement was started to purchase land for a cemetery.  $1000 was necessary to purchase the land and $1000 for surveying and cleaning it up.  H.H. Beach and Elijah Southworth advanced the first $1000 without security with the understanding that when the cemetery was finished there should be a sale of lots and the purchase money, to the amount of their loan, should be paid to them without interest.  The sale of lots began in May, 1866, with the following list of purchasers:

Geo P Folwer                           J.W. Jeffries

John P Bayliss                          B. C. Beardsley

John Lindsey                            Dr. R. F. Bennett

R.M. Roberts                           Geo. Raymond

N.H. Peall                                John Grinstead

James McBrain Sr.                 Geo. Evans

Best & Sparks                         James Ferris

W.T. Elliot                                R.W. O’Bannon

Thos. W. Jones                       Thos. Kessinger

E.B. Litchfield                          Geo. Wm. Miles

Perley & Co.                            J. Dunley Smith

John C. Young                         Thos. McNeil

W.E. Bacon                             H.H. Beach

Hood Bros.                              E.M. Gillmore

E. Southworth                          Dr. Neff

Tillman Shore                           David Davis Sr.

James Tobin                            R. Kirpatrick

Luke Terry                               James McBrain Jr.

J. M. Foster

The above named men afterwards worked gratis to improve the lots.  Those living of the original lot purchasers are: 

Dr. R. F. Bennett and E. Southworth, of this city

J.W. Jeffries, of Los Angeles, California

James Tobin, Ohio

Capt. Sparks, Alton

Mr. Peal was one of the foremost promoters of the cemetery, while Mr. Southworth was downmost in obtaining the charter.  The west gate was placed in by popular subscription in 1866, but during the Settlemire administration it was closed for three years, but later on was opened and has remained so ever since.

For a period of thirty years, Mr. Wilson, the sexton, was paid not regular salary, but received so much per grave.  In 1900, a sexton was appointed with a salary of $35 per month.  During the above 34 years, every lot owner took care of his lot, consequently the association was at but one-quarter of the expense they are at now.  For a number of years 147 people paid Mr. Wilson and Mr. Orpin $1.00 per year for caring for the lots.

In 1900, the new administration passed a resolution, assessing each lot owner 75 cents per annum for taking care of the lots and made threats that if same was not paid, they would bury the dead in the potter’s field.  But the resolution was never strickly adhered to, as it violated the original by-laws; consequently the people refused to pay anything, and the present condition of affairs exist.  Mr. Orpin is not getting up a subscription to defray the expenses of cleaning up the lots and it is to be hoped that the cemetery will again take on its old-time appearance.  All the surplus has been spent but by September 1st there will be enough money in the treasury to have the grounds put in order. 

The present officers are as follows
President, E. Southworth

Vice President, J. Lange

Treasurer, Chas. E. Morgan

Secretary, W.H. Groner

Improvement Committee:  Wm. Orpin, J.K. Milnor, T.F. Blakley

Notes:  We are greatly indebted to Mr. Orpin, for the above contribution.

Transcribed by Ann Stoddard, Dec. 26, 2010

Posted in: Litchfield
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