WPA VETERANS’ CEMETERY PROJECT
The Macoupin County Archives has in its files, indexes/listings of many veterans buried in numerous Macoupin County cemeteries. WPA workers compiled the indexes during the Depression Era (about 1939-1940). The cemeteries below were checked for veterans and although not all of these cemeteries had veterans listed, there was a wealth of other information that a genealogist might find useful. In some cases I didn’t copy the legal descriptions of the property if they were very long and drawn out. If you want that information, contact the Archives.
In previous issues of the Macoupin County Searcher I listed veterans’ information from both typed sheets and work sheets. The work sheets are typed in bold and the typed sheets are typed in a normal font. At times the work sheet had additional or conflicting information from the typed sheets. The work sheets with soldier information stated to check these sources: burial plot, cemetery record, death certificate or burial permit, patriotic organization (name), official U. S. records or other. These sources would probably be good sources to check still, today, as we have no way of knowing how thorough the WPA workers were. In these records, as always, I try to keep the spellings “as is” even if it appeared incorrect.
Abandoned Cemetery on Gehner Farm
Cahokia Township 35-8-6
The is an abandoned cemetery on the Gehner farm in Cahokia Township, about 1 and ½ miles north of Mt. Olive. No one can give us any information about this cemetery. The Gehner heirs state that the cemetery was there when Mr. Henry Gehner bought the land. The names of the people buried in the cemetery are strange, namely, Garowne, Camp, Allen, Ozment, Henderson, McPeek, Dunce and Stull. There are no people living in the vicinity by that name at the present time. None of the older citizens of Mt. Olive recall the cemetery being left out.
This cemetery sets on the bank of the Old Reservoir made by the Madison Coal Company in 1897. The plat of the reservoir bed is recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County in Book “F” at page 229 and the plat also shows the location of the cemetery as being at the southwest side and near the old pump house.
Land records of Macoupin County have been searched for a deed to the cemetery but none has been found. In the transfer of land in that section, no exception is made to the burial grounds.
The only means we have of giving a description of the cemetery is that made by the fieldman using trees set as starting point, and could read as follows:
¼ of an acre out of the center of the SW. ¼ of the NE. ¼ of Section 35, T. 8. N. R. 6, west of the Third Principal Meridian, commencing at the SE. corner of the cemetery and running thence West 110 feet; thence North 17 degrees East 114 feet; thence 80 Feet East and thence 100 feet South to the place of beginning, situated in the County of Macoupin, and State of Illinois.
This cemetery is not incorporated.
No one takes care of this cemetery. The livestock is free to roam all over the burial grounds.
There are no trustees to the cemetery.
The cemetery on the Gehner farm is really in an abandoned condition. Livestock are free to run over the burial grounds. There are about 7 lots and 28 graves that can be distinguished. There are only 2 tombstones that are standing erect, the others are leaning or trampled in the ground. One must clear away the sod to read the inscriptions on the markers. There is no fence around the cemetery except the land that is which is fenced so the stock cannot get into the cornfield. This fence is on two sides. The land slopes to the north and to the east. There are large trees planted to outline what may have been the outline of the cemetery grounds. There are also two fir trees in the cemetery. (Hand written on typed page: “trampled the graves and broken the tombstones.”)
To reach the cemetery one travels 1and ½ miles north of Mt. Olive to the Gehner farm. At the bridge which leads to the Gehner home one goes west through a pasture about 1/8 mile to the burial grounds. The trees around the cemetery and the fir trees indicate where the cemetery is.
There are no veterans buried in this cemetery.
The oldest grave that we can locate by the dates on the markers is that of “Telemachus Camp”who was born 1791 and died 1849.
TALLAMACHUS CAMP, one of the pioneers that is buried in the cemetery on the Gehner farm was one of the earliest settlers of Macoupin County. He came to Macoupin County in 1819 and settled near the Dorchester and the Staunton Township lines. He was the first person to enter land in Staunton Township in 1819 and the third to make entry in Dorchester Township in 1830. These early settlers experienced great hardships. They settled on the edge of a timber where they built their cabins with less hard work from hauling the logs and also to have the timber protect them from the wind and the storm. They lived entirely on the products of their farm and had to travel many miles to the nearest mill to have their grain ground. It was related that when Mr. Camp was coming home from a mill on horseback with a bag of meal, he was overtaken by wolves and in jumping for him they tore the bag with their teeth and claws to such an extent that he lost almost all of his cornmeal. Meat was abundant at that time as there was a large variety of game throughout the territory. The women of the family had to raise, ret and spin the flax from which the cloth was woven and likewise had to make the clothing.
The first birth near Dorchester and Staunton Township was that of one of Mr. Camps children in 1820.
The first deaths that occurred in those townships were those of Mr. Camps two children in 1824 and 1826. They were buried on the farm and this was the commencement of the first cemetery in Dorchester Township.
The first sermon preached in Staunton Township was at the home of Telemuchus Camp in 1821 by a traveling missionary of the Baptist Church.
Gehner Farm Cemetery
Name of Cemetery: Gehner Farm
Location: Sec. 35 R. 8 t. 6.
Oldest Grave: Mary wife of John Stults; Died Sept 13, 1851; age 68 yrs
Number of Lots: 7
Number of graves: 28
Number of graves to be filled: 6
Number of stones in cemetery that need resetting: 7
Number of stones that need recutting: 7
Number of rods of fence around cemetery: Fenced on sides
Number of people interviewed: one
Notes: No driveway.
Graves are all flat & mostly broken as stock run thru the cemetery.
From a distance one can see trees planted to outline the cemetery.
Asst County Coordinator Kathleen Mirabella
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