Chalmers Township - Steve and Joan Biswell, owners of property that includes the Murray Gravesite, recently accepted a new sign to mark the site donated by the McDonough County Historical
Society. This single monument cemetery is located in a farm field in the northwest quarter of Section 16 in Chalmers Township in McDonough County. The 8’ x 8’ memorial area is carefully
landscaped to protect the huge marble monument. The front side of the monument records the deaths of Elizabeth and John Murray, with inscriptions. Elizabeth Murray, 1840-1894, is remembered
thusly: “She was a kind and affectionate wife and friend to all.” John F. Murray, 1832-1896, has this epitaph: “Sleep on brother, thy work is done, Jesus has come and borne thee to him.” The
cemetery sign project is supported by Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Homes, West Side Lumber, Assets Protection, Inc. (Bob Fischer, President), and the McDonough County Historical Society.
August 31, 2012
Industry Township - Richard Jackson, genealogist, cemetery historian, and descendant of relatives buried in the Peak Cemetery, recently
accepted a new sign to mark the site donated by the McDonough County Historical Society.
This small family cemetery is located in a dense wooded area in the northwest quarter of Section 23 in Industry Township in McDonough County.
This memorial area was once protected by some wire fencing attached to old round fence posts, but only fragments remain. A period of hogs running wild did extensive damage to this burial site.
The first burial with an extant marker (1863), was Margaret Springer, 46 year old wife of William Springer. It appears that the last burial was in 1873.
Other visible headstones mark the graves of Cordells, Osborns, and Peaks, all of whom seem to have been related by marriages.
Joseph Osborn (1781-1870) and his wife Nancy came to McDonough County from Virginia in the 1820s, appearing on the 1830 census lists as landowners in Industry Township. Joseph was a veteran of
the War of 1812.
According to veterans’ records in Illinois, Hugh Smith, another veteran of the War of 1812, is also buried in the Peak Cemetery; but no headstone for Smith is visible today.
There is a well preserved headstone for William Peak, who served in the Civil War.
The cemetery sign project is supported by Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home, Assets Protection, Inc. (Robert Fischer, President), West Side Lumber, and the McDonough County Historical
New Brochure and Map for Historic Cemeteries
Tamara Parker, Executive Director of the Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, announces the availability of a new free brochure and map for locating some of the historic cemeteries in
The full color brochure, "A Guide to Some of McDonough County’s Historic Cemeteries," includes a map of the county with detailed directions for finding 35 of the approximate 100 cemeteries in the
Each of the four quadrants of the county is color coded with numbers and driving instructions for persons interested in visiting easy to access, but old cemeteries.
Each cemetery name also includes GPS coordinates for folks who have hand held or dash mounted tracking devices or systems.
This Guide grew out of the “Cemetery Project” conducted by the McDonough County Historical Society. After publishing a story and photo of a new sign installed at one of these often remote and
obscure cemeteries, interested folks asked how to find them.
While the Guide can assist in locating 35, a map of all 100 county cemeteries can be found on the website of the Historical Society: McDHistSociety.jimdo.com. The brochure and website maps were both produced by the GIS Center of Western Illinois
The new free guide and map is available at the MACVB, 201 S. Lafayette, the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce, 214 N. Lafayette, Macomb Public Library, WIU Archives, and Macomb City Hall.
Volunteers at the Old Macomb Cemetery cleanup, left to right: Scoutmaster Sue Nolan, Gil Belles (MCHS), Jeffery Hutchins, Quintin Rossmiller, Brianna Drew, Jackson Matlak, Michael Dofing,
Grayson Nolan, Thomas Engel, Matthew Lueck, John Lane, Colin Drew in front of Assistant Scoutmaster Steve Dofing, Corey Maisch, Sean Drew, Assistant Scoutmaster Dave Lueck, Timothy Vigezzi,
Richard Engel, Assistant Scoutmaster John Drew, Evan Drew, Justin Rossmiller, and Assistant Scoutmaster John Vigezzi.
August 22, 2012
On a recent sunny and crisp weekend afternoon, the members of Boy Scout Troop #315 recruited friends and family members for a service project at the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road.
The Old Macomb Cemetery is in the process of restoration, preservation, and beautification under the auspices of the McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS).
The focus of this service project was identifying headstones that were leaning, or were partially or totally buried under earth and grass.
Fifteen members of Troop #315, chartered by Wesley United Methodist Church, plus a Girl Scout, dads, and Scout leaders learned about the citizens buried at this cemetery between 1830 and 1860.
They located the markers for the veterans of the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the Black Hawk War. And they proceeded to uncover many headstones only partially visible above ground.
In addition to lifting and cleaning some of the markers, the volunteers poked and prodded the cemetery discovering markers totally buried.
Six markers were reset in place with correct procedures for excavation, hole preparation, and filling.
After two and one-half hours, the group could step back and take pride in considerable improvement in the condition of the headstones that got excavated, elevated, reset, and cleaned.
This is the second cemetery cleanup project initiated by Boy Scout Troop #315 under the leadership of Scoutmaster Sue Nolan.
The Boy Scout cleanup was in cooperation with the McDonough County Historical Society and its expanded cemetery restoration and preservation project at Old Macomb Cemetery.
August 20, 2012
Mike Black, cemetery historian from Industry, recently accepted a new sign for the Standard Cemetery donated by the McDonough County Historical Society.
The Standard Cemetery is located in a dense woods in the southwest quarter of section 24 in Industry Township.
The Standard Cemetery was established in 1840 with the burial of Joshua David, whose son John (d. 1906) and daughter-in-law Cassinda (d. 1904) appear to be the last burials in this
Government headstones mark the graves of two veterans of the Civil War, Captain John Wyatt (minister) and his son Daniel Wyatt, who died in service from disease in 1864.
Many of the approximately 75 markers in this large plot are covered with decades of mud and weeds. Many were knocked over by falling trees, tree limbs, deer, and scratching cattle.
A casual observer sees monuments of prominent McDonough County names of the late 19th century: Flack, Pennington, Pittman, and Seaward. One also is touched by the death dates of very young
infants, sometimes more than one to a family.
And any visitor is frustrated by the inability to read the weathered names, dates, or epitaphs inscribed in often soft stone.
But this abandoned, neglected cemetery is still a rich history laboratory, and is worth restoration and preservation.
The cemetery sign project is supported by Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home, Assets Protection, Inc. (Robert Fischer, President), and the McDonough County Historical Society.
Subject: New Fence at Old Macomb Cemetery
August 8, 2012
Old Macomb Cemetery
Gets New Fence
The Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road, has a new fence on its north and east sides.
A crew of two from Lovewell Fencing in Davenport installed the fence in two days.
This is a major component in the expanded cemetery project of the McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS).
“This is highly visible progress in our efforts to restore, preserve, and beautify the Old Macomb Cemetery,” commented Gil Belles, project director.
Gordana Rezab, MCHS president, feels that this project is long overdue and invites more participation in any of its components.
The MCHS encourages additional financial support for the fence, and is accepting donations for headstone repair and restoration in the cemetery, and gifts for trees and landscaping for the
passive prairie reflective entry space south of the cemetery.
Tax deductible donations may be sent to the McDonough County Historical Society, PO Box 83, Macomb, IL 61455. Include a note that your gift is toward the fence, headstone restoration, or
July 9, 2012
Cemetery Project Expanding
The McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS) is taking a new and exciting next step in its five year old county cemetery project.
In summer 2008, the historical society began searching for the unmarked and neglected cemeteries in our county. With cooperation from many various sources (individuals, agencies, churches,
businesses, organizations, volunteers, and media outlets), 95 cemeteries have been located and have had new signs installed, and in some cases, benefitted from cleaning-up and modest restoration.
There are perhaps five or six abandoned cemeteries continuing to elude discovery.
The MCHS now turns to a new challenge, the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road in Macomb. Although not abandoned, this inactive and somewhat deteriorating cemetery needs restoration and
The Macomb City Council has taken two steps to support the restoration and beautification process. On January 16, the council granted the MCHS permission to erect a new fence on the north
and east sides and properly inventory and restore the headstones in the cemetery.
On June 18, the council accepted ownership of the two acres adjacent to the south border of the cemetery, land which will be developed into a pioneer prairie and reflective passive entry into the
Together, as these two components evolve and mature, the site will be an attractive gateway into Macomb and the Western Illinois Campus. It will offer an educational area for historical study of
the landscape of the 1830s as well as insights into genealogy, archeology, culture, and early citizenry reflected in the cemetery markers.
Members of the MCHS extend an invitation to everyone to become supporters of this venture. We will be conducting restoration workshops where folks can learn the correct methods of headstone
excavation and resetting. And we will appreciate any donations to the first two additions to the project: the cemetery fence and prairie area trees.
This summer or early fall we are going to have the fence installed and the first trees planted. To that end the MCHS needs financial support to erect the fence. The trees will be
planted in fall if the ground is sufficiently moist. The City will plant memorial trees for $200 each. The trees can be sponsored by individuals, businesses, or organizations. Each
tree will have a plaque identifying the kind of tree, the sponsor, and to whom it honors. Donations of any amount will be appreciated toward the new fence and
The MCHS is a 501.c.3 nonprofit organization for tax deductible purposes. Gifts can be sent to the McDonough County Historical Society, PO Box 83, Macomb, IL 61455.
Please mark checks “Cemetery Project.”
Gifts over $100 include a one year free membership in the MCHS.
Four Girl Scouts from Troop 5300, in front from left, Iris Thomas, Morgan McGaughey, A.J. Thrapp, and Lillian Carter. Adults in back from left, Bob Sullivan, Harry Waddell, Edith
Sullivan, Virginia Waddell, and Troop Leader Samantha McGaughey. Together they began cleanup efforts at the King Cemetery.
Girl Scouts Cleanup King Cemetery
Several members of Troop #5300, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois based in Blandinsville, together with their leader and some descendants of persons buried in historic King Cemetery (1836-1954),
spent two Saturdays cleaning out the fallen trees, tree limbs, and dense underbrush which had taken its toll on this abandoned cemetery in Lamoine township.
Harry Waddell of Macomb, a direct descendant of over 30 of the burials in the King Cemetery, knew of the existence of this cemetery, but was unsure of its location. When he saw a story and photo
in the McDonough County Voice announcing the installation of a new sign by the McDonough County Historical Society, he found the cemetery where many of his forbears are
"Our first visit overwhelmed us,” said Waddell. “A short trip around the edge of a farm field led us to the cemetery. The undergrowth, overgrowth, fallen trees, tree
limbs, and displaced headstones of some nearly 40 years of Mother Nature's Way was astonishing. A survey of this cemetery was done in 1976, listing over 150
interments. The condition at that time was not good due to overgrowth of woods and brush. But most stones were standing upright; although badly weather-worn. An earthquake, at
some point, displaced many of the larger headstones from their base.”
Waddell organized some family work crews. His wife Virginia has ties to the Girl Scouts, resulting in Troop Leader Samantha McGaughey getting some of her members to lend a hand in the cleanup
efforts. The girls were looking for an outdoor service project, and they came prepared to work and learn about local and family history.
Waddell knows he is a direct line descendant of at least 30 burials. "There may be more, but we won't know until we can accurately survey the headstones and do additional genealogical work.
We know that James Waddell was the first person buried in the King Cemetery in 1836. James was my Great-Great Grand Uncle. We found the headstone of my
Great-Great-Grand Father and Mother, Col. Charles Wesley Waddell who died in 1857 and Mary Eve (Lawyer) Waddell who died in 1907. It's been so gratifying to discover my roots." said Harry.
Edmund Badger, a veteran of the War of 1812, rests here with four veterans of the Civil War, one of whom, Daniel Badger, was his son.
The Girl Scouts and Waddell family have cleared about two-thirds of the area but intend to restore dignity and respect to this historic cemetery of McDonough County.
The McDonough County Historical Society will again have a window during the year’s Heritage Days
celebration. Our display can be found in the window of Simply Suzanne’s on the East side of the courthouse square.
We are paying tribute to a lady who long championed the preservation of cemeteries in this county in her column “One Day at Time” which appeared in The McDonough County Times, and later
in The Business News. At one time, Mrs. Crabb was the oldest working journalist in the state of Illinois . Following her husband’s death, she became the editor of the paper.
Today, The McDonough County Historical is working to preserve cemeteries in McDonough County , focusing now on The Old Macomb Cemetery. Your time/donation to this project will be
greatly appreciated. During Heritage Days, we will have a donation jar at the counter in Simply Suzannes.
Cemetery Restoration Workshop
A group of enthusiastic historic preservationists attended a day-long workshop on basic cemetery restoration last Saturday in Macomb. The goal was to learn correct and acceptable techniques in
locating, elevating and resetting headstones and markers.
The workshop was conducted by three State of Illinois professionals who began with a classroom setting at the Old Dairy. The workshop was moved to the Old Macomb Cemetery for an afternoon of
hands-on and practical application.
Participants came from Hanover Park, a Chicago suburb, central Illinois, and southern Illinois, including two from Macomb. A high school Girl Scout from Salem was planning her major project.
After three hours of education, based on a manual and illustrated with slides, the group reconvened after lunch at the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road.
Hal Hassen, an archaeologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Dawn Cobb, a physical anthropologist with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, began with a discussion of
the Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act, which protects all unregistered graves, grave artifacts, and grave markers.
This law offers protection of grave sites from all disturbances including, but not limited to, cultivation, excavation, vandalism, removal, defacement, or desecration (20 ILCS 3440/1).
Any cemetery restoration work requires a permit from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
On an earlier visit last December, the team from Springfield assessed the Old Macomb Cemetery and selected it as an ideal site for this June workshop.
During the afternoon session, eleven headstones were excavated, elevated, cleaned and reset using the established techniques based on “Do no harm!”
The participants in this workshop are charged with educating volunteers in their respective communities to adhere to the correct methods of cemetery restoration.
The two Macomb participants, Marty Fischer and Gil Belles, will be calling for volunteers to help with the restoration and preservation of the Old Macomb Cemetery.
June 1, 2012
Emmet Township - Kendall and Ann Runner Knowles, owners of property that includes the Post-Shippey-Dew Cemetery, recently accepted a new sign to mark the site donated by the McDonough
County Historical Society.
Ann’s family has farmed this property for many years, and she recalls seeing the headstones when she was a young girl. But there is little historical record of the folks resting there.
This cemetery is located in the southwest quarter of Section 32 in Emmet Township in McDonough County.
The headstones are all fallen and partially buried under sod and weeds. They are in two groups separated by about 15 yards, and memorialized over a 20 year period (1839-1859).
David Shippey and his wife Lydia both died in September 1839. A nearby headstone marks the grave of Margaret Post, 1840.
Approximately 15 yards east are headstones for Elizabeth Dew (March 1859) and her infant daughter (October 1859). Nothing could be found about any of these early settlers.
A sophisticated “poking” between these two groups might reveal more headstones marking burials between 1839 and 1859.
The cemetery sign project is supported by Assets Protection Inc. (President Robert Fischer), West Side Lumber, and the McDonough County Historical Society.
May 21, 2012
Industry Township - Dick Jackson, genealogist, cemetery historian, and descendant of relatives buried in the Osborn Cemetery, recently
accepted a new sign to mark the site donated by the McDonough County Historical Society.
This small family cemetery is located in a wooded area in the northwest quarter of Section 22 in Industry Township in McDonough County.
The memorial area was once protected by some wire fencing attached to old round fence posts, but only fragments remain.
The first burial with an extant marker, was Nancy Lane, 15 month old daughter of William and Sarah Osborn, who died April 22, 1857.
William Osborn’s mother, Dicy Smith Osborn, wife of Solomon, was also buried here, in 1861.
The other two visible headstones mark the graves of Sarah Osborn, who died at the age of thirty, and the grave of an infant family friend, Charles Frisbie (1872).
The Osborn’s came to Illinois in the 1820s from North Carolina and to McDonough County from eastern Illinois in the 1830s, appearing on the census lists as landowners in Industry
The cemetery sign project is supported by Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home, West Side Lumber, and the McDonough County Historical Society.
Recently, Dr. Gil Belles was awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution NSDAR Medal for Historic Preservation. This award is for his
outstanding leadership in restoring and marking the many cemeteries in McDonough County, four of which contain graves of Revolutionary War Patriots.
A reception for the award presentation will be held Sunday, June 3, from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. at the Macomb City Hall. McDonough County Historical
Society members and colleagues are invited to attend.
Press Release May 10, 2010
The McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS) took another step forward this week on its project to preserve and restore the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road. As a result of the
generosity and support of Jack Laverdiere and Laverdiere Construction, Inc., the steep, dangerous, and destructive former entry drive off of Wigwam Hollow Road has been removed (or filled in).
When he was asked a month ago for his expert advice on how to accomplish this task, to accommodate a future new ornamental fence along the east side of the cemetery, Laverdiere offered to donate
the time, labor, and material as his gift to the City of Macomb and the restoration project sponsored by the Historical Society. Like many cities with deep roots in early nineteenth century
United States history, Macomb has an outdoor archive full of fascinating information. Our Old Macomb Cemetery has the potential of drawing descendants, students, and visitors interested in family
and community genealogy, local history, prominent citizens, immigration trends, impact of disease, and artistic sculpting. Sadly, much of this potential is being lost to neglect and
weather. Headstones once erect and connecting the past with the present, lay flat, damaged and gradually disappearing under soil, grass, and weeds. Genealogist Marge Harris once documented at
least 315 burials on the basis of incomplete records. There were probably more. The first burial in the Old Macomb Cemetery, in 1830, was the young daughter of Peter Hale, who owned
the land and a log cabin on it. She fell into a fire and burned to death. Hale sold the two acres to a merchant William Bailey and Dr. Charles Hays. They in turn sold the property to Robert
Garrett in 1835. One year later, Garrett sold the land to the county to be used as a public cemetery. Scattered among the visible headstones are several with distinctive artistic sculpting
and inscriptions as well as bearing the initials “JL” near the base. These stones with elaborate borders and short poems were created by pioneer stone carver John Long. In one of his essays about
the Old Macomb Cemetery, John Hallwas reminds us that Long’s “hand-carve headstones are the oldest historical artifacts in McDonough County that can be connected with the person who produced
them, and they lend a quaint character to the long unused pioneer burial ground.” The MCHS, by drawing attention to the 100 cemeteries in McDonough County, hopes to raise the collective
consciousness of our community to its obligation to these resting places of our ancestors. It seems a bit peculiar that we go to such lengths and expense to honor our deceased parents,
children, and siblings, but with such cavalier abandon neglect the resting places of our earlier forebears who were once the objects of similar love, compassion, respect, and honor. Before more
stones are damaged or buried, the historical society has launched a project to restore this historical landmark cemetery to a more acceptable condition. Markers need to be reset, many need to be
repaired, and countless need to be unearthed. The Old Macomb Cemetery has two veterans of the War of 1812, two from the Mormon War, 11 Civil War, and one who served in the Black Hawk war.
The restoration project includes a June workshop sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Commission on Historic Preservation. This seminar will focus on correct
practices in cemetery restoration. A new ornamental fence will be installed on the north and east sides of the cemetery directing visitors to access from the gentle grassy slope from the south.
The Historical Society is inviting donations for this considerable effort, which are tax deductible. If you wish to support the preservation and restoration of the Old Macomb Cemetery, please
send your gift to the MCHS, PO Box 83, Macomb, IL. Mark your check “Cemetery Project.”
April 23, 2012
Emmet Township - Dick Hainline, descendant of relatives in the Hainline
Cemetery, recently accepted a new sign to mark the site donated by the McDonough County Historical Society.
Ten days after the sign was installed, someone has removed it. Please help us locate the Hainline Cemetery sign.
This family cemetery was once located in the southwest corner of Sciota Township in McDonough County. In about 1913, 37 graves were moved to the western part of the Spring Creek Cemetery in
Emmet Township. Today, no one knows why they were moved. There are 37 markers for the people buried between 1839 and 1901 in the original cemetery.
The first burial was Jacob Ennis Hainline in 1839, infant son of George and Flora.
Three veterans of the Civil War rest in the Hainline Cemetery, two of whom died in uniform: George L. Hainline (d. 1865), and David T. Hainline (d. 1865).
There are many branches of the Hainline family tree in McDonough County. And many members of this prominent family are resting in other cemeteries throughout the county.
Perhaps one of those left a legacy more familiar to local historians. William T. Hainline, born in 1841, farmed until he enlisted in the Civil War in 1861. He was taken prisoner in 1864 and
spent two months at Andersonville. After returning home, he owned and became editor of the original Macomb Journal in 1881.
The current maintenance of these combined and attractive two cemeteries is supported by volunteers Fred and Steve Kitch.
The cemetery sign project is supported by Assets Protection, Inc., West Side Lumber, and the McDonough County Historical Society.
For Immediate Release
April 19, 2012
Gordana Rezab, president of the McDonough County Historical Society, received a matching grant donation for the MCHS cemetery sign project from Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home in Macomb,
owners Larry and Eric Jameson and Jim Burke.
The gift of $250, when matched by the society, will support five signs installed on cemeteries in McDonough County.
In the last five years over 85 signs have been installed with the help of the McDonough County Highway Department, funeral homes, banks, local businesses, family members, anonymous donors, the
Quality of Life Committee, the McDonough County Genealogical Society, and the McDonough County Historical Society.
There are over 100 cemeteries in McDonough County. Project director Gil Belles, with help from Dick Jackson, Dick Hainline, Tom Green, and Bob Fischer put up 30 new signs in 2010 and 2011.
The cemetery sign project has brought attention to the poor condition of many of these abandoned cemeteries, generating interest among volunteers to clean up and restore dignity to these resting
places of our forebears.
For Immediate Release
The McDonough County Historical Society received a matching grant donation for its cemetery sign project from Bob Fischer, President of Assets Protection, Inc., and member of the society.
This gift of $250, when matched by the society, will support five signs installed on cemeteries in McDonough County.
In the last five years many cemeteries have been located in the county and with the help of Bob as a volunteer, new signs have been installed.
There are over 110 cemeteries in McDonough County. Eighty-eight have received new signs over five years, with 30 installed in 2010 and 2011.
According to Fischer, “The cemetery sign project has brought attention to the poor condition of many of these cemeteries, generating interest among volunteers to clean up and restore dignity
to these resting places of our forebears.”
The first sign installed in 2012, the Amanda Freel Peterson Grave site, was cosponsored by Assets Protection, Inc., Bob Fischer, President, and the McDonough County Historical Society.
For Immediate Release
April 4, 2012
Heather L. McIlvaine-Newsad, president of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Macomb, and Russell Hamm, treasurer, accepted the newest sign in the cemetery marking project
sponsored by the McDonough County Historical Society.
The Unitarian Cemetery, just south of the Unitarian Fellowship building on Wigwam Hollow Road, was established in 1991, when the cremains of Clifford Julstrom were interred. Along side his urn
were the cremains of a grandson, Keith Julstrom-Agoyo, who died at childbirth in 1988.
Cliff and his wife Rosa were among the founders of the Unitarian Fellowship in Macomb in the 1960s. Rosa now resides in the Skokie area where she continues to perform on the piano.
In 1999, the cremains of Maya Gronstrand were added to the small cemetery area near the church. Maya had worked as a radiological technologist for 34 years at both St. Francis and McDonough
The cemetery sign project is supported by Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home, West Side Lumber, and the McDonough County Historical Society.
Macomb’s Historic Homes is an innovative, five-part series that features lovely historic homes from several eras in
the town’s past, and in the process, it deals with notable local people, neighborhood development, important architectural styles, and some remarkable renovation and restoration efforts. Anyone
with an interest in Macomb, small-town America, home styles and decorating, or residential life over the generations will find this a fascinating video series.
John Hallwas is the most widely
published professor in the history of Western Illinois University. The author or editor of more than twenty books, most of them focused on the history and literature of Illinois, he has also
written hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and lectured in well over 100 Midwestern communities. In 2009 Hallwas was the writer and host for Macomb’s Historic Places, a three-part series
also produced by University Television at WIU.
Segments of the series are televised
at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day of the week on Channel 3. New segments begin on Mondays.
Copies of the DVD are available
through University Television (298-1880), or at the University Union Bookstore or New Copperfield’s Book Service.
Major funding for this program was
provided by the McDonough County Historical Society and MidAmerica National Bank.
February 15, 2012
Colchester Township - Ann Hiland, owner of a property that includes the Peterson grave site, recently accepted a new sign to mark the site donated by the McDonough County Historical
Society. Ann’s mother, Bernadine Gustafson, alerted the historical society about this grave.
This single monument cemetery is located on Hiland’s front yard in the southwest quarter of Section 6 in Colchester Township in McDonough County.
The single pink marble memorial was discovered when Ann and her husband were installing a new fence. The gravestone had sunken and been buried by flood waters and soil for over a century.
The monument, about three feet long, two feet wide, and 18 inches high, marks the grave of Amanda Freel Peterson, born December 22, 1861, died December 11, 1910.
Only local legend offers some insight into this person and her death. Hiland said the story had Peterson on a wagon ride across Illinois. She got sick and died where she was buried. Her relatives
returned later to mark her grave.
The cemetery sign project is supported by Assets Protection (President Robert Fischer) and the McDonough County Historical Society.
New life for old cemetery
The Western Courier-Jan. 27, 2012
Canaan Daniels Courier Staff
Old Macomb Cemetery
Dating back to as early as 1830, the Old Macomb Cemetery has garnered attention from the McDonough County Historical Society, an organization looking to renovate the now
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 1:45 pm |Updated: 2:47 pm,
Mon Jan 30, 2012.
The Old Macomb Cemetery is in a state of disarray, with broken tombstones scattered on the ground and propped up against trees.
In an effort to improve its appearance he City of Macomb recently passed a resolution of support to renovate the Old Macomb Cemetery located on Wigwam Hollow Road.
To fix this problem, the McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS) has applied for a grant from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution for $10,000. In order to qualify
for this grant, MCHS must match the amount in local donations.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Historical Preservation Commission surveyed the property in December and strongly recommended the renovation. The three-part project
includes restoring and beautifying the Old Macomb Cemetery, as well as installing protective fencing around small rural cemeteries that are threatened. MCHS also plans to publish a
brochure titled A Guide to Historic Cemeteries in McDonough County.
The Old Macomb Cemetery is the oldest existing cemetery in the area, with the earliest burial dating back to 1830 and the most recent in 1864. When the cemetery by Glen Wood Park opened
in 1857, many of the buried were legally moved to the new cemetery. It is currently unknown exactly how many people are buried in the old cemetery.
"We don't know how many people were moved or gravestones stolen," said Gil Belles of MCHS and head of the cemetery project. A lot of the tombstones are buried under sod and grass. We will
have a concentrated effort to try to locate them."
Broken stones are rehabilitated using a cement epoxy. Buried stones are located through a technique called "poking" that uses rods to find the stones, then carefully uncovering them and
trying to locate where they originally belong. During the resetting process, volunteers will dig new troughs, put sand or gravel in the base, and stand the stone up as it originally was.
"One of the major goals of this project is to recover the buried and broken headstones before too much more of it gets completely obliterated," said Belles.
The stones have become fragile over the years, so volunteers must go through special training and use extreme caution. If it is unknown where a stone belongs, it will be reset in a
special memorial section of the cemetery.
What makes the Old Macomb Cemetery so important is its historical value. Some stones were engraved in the 1830's and 40's by Macomb native John Long. Long's style includes embellishments
and lengthy epitaphs. Four of the original 1830's stones are visible.
"These are the only hard artifacts from a Macomb person from that era," said Belles. He also says that a lot of valuable information can be found in the cemetery, such as ethnic migration
and patterns of death and disease that shaped the Macomb area. WIU students have been known to use the cemetery for research, art and reflection.
Fifth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett helped to pass the resolution of support for the renovation in hopes that it would help with receiving funding.
The property is owned by the City of Macomb, but has been overlooked throughout the years due to financial reasons. "It's been neglected," said Dorsett. "We should have done more, but
there just weren't enough dollars to go around. We would prefer that all of the properties be as well-kept as possible."
He finds the immense support for the project to be impressive, with many volunteers taking the initiative to improve the cemetery on their own. "That's the kind of citizens we have that
we are very proud of," he said.
Through this project, MCHS hopes to restore the cemetery to its former glory. If they receive funding, many volunteers will be needed to make the project a success. "We're trying to
restore their dignity," Belles said. "They helped carve out the community we now live in. We need to respect the contributions they made."
Immediate - January 23, 2012
Macomb - At its January meeting, members of the McDonough County Historical Society (MCHS) endorsed an expansion of its successful cemetery
In the summer 2008, the Society launched an effort to locate and install signs at the estimated 110
cemeteries and grave sites in McDonough County. Most of these are inactive, abandoned, and neglected, on the verge of being lost forever (about ten have already been destroyed by
After locating and signing these orphaned sites, the Society encouraged Scouts, church youth groups,
school athletic teams, and other volunteers to cleanup and restore dignity and respect to these hallowed grounds.
Thus far, 96 have new signs, identity, and perhaps long term preservation. Many of them still need
restoration. And MCHS is still attempting to locate about ten elusive cemeteries.
As this “locate and sign” phase of the project concludes, the Society voted to enlarge its vision and
initiate another phase. This next step requires more resources beyond buying and installing signs and calls on wider community support.
An application for a National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) grant for historic
preservation seems appropriate for the next step. To qualify for this grant of $10,000, MCHS must secure $10,000 from local donations and pledges to match this $10,000 DAR
This new cemetery project has three components: (1) publication of A Guide to Historic Cemeteries
in McDonough County; (2) installation of protective fences around some threatened, isolated small cemeteries; and (3) restoration, beautification, preservation, and fencing of the Old Macomb
Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road.
Four of our rural cemeteries are the final resting places of Patriots of the American Revolution.
Fortunately, these four cemeteries are not abandoned or neglected, but require regular maintenance. Many other cemeteries now abandoned and neglected have graves of over 45 veterans of the War of
1812. A large number of our 96 located cemeteries, many small family or church burial grounds, have graves of scores of veterans of the Civil War. Our proposal includes installing
protective fences around some of the most isolated and endangered rural grave sites that are threatened for extinction if not protected.
The largest component of our proposed preservation project is focused on the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam
Hollow Road. A team from both the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Historical Preservation Commission (Springfield, Illinois) conducted an onsite survey and evaluation in December
2011. Their recommendations constitute the basis of our plans to install a protective, attractive fence; locate, clean, lift, and reset scores of buried and decaying headstones; and create a safe
and attractive new entrance into the cemetery.
John Long, a famous local Macomb engraver in the 1830s, created headstones with artistic designs and
inscriptions that invite people to meditate on life and death, thus enriching their spirituality. The Old Macomb Cemetery has at least four of his beautiful headstones visible and probably four
more hidden from view. These and all of the other headstones deserve protection and preservation. At one time the Old Macomb Cemetery had approximately 350 graves, citizens buried predominantly
in the early 1800s, before a new Macomb cemetery was established in 1857. But this beautiful historic cemetery has suffered from neglect, roaming animals, falling trees, and
The McDonough County Historical Society is calling on all residents
who wish to improve, protect, and beautify this valuable community asset to help us raise the local matching funds. Donations may be sent to McDonough County Historical Society, PO Box 83,
Macomb, IL 61455. Please identify your donation for the “Cemetery Project.”
All donations to the Society, a 501.c.3 non-profit organization, are tax
deductible. Any donation over $100 will entitle the donor to a one-year membership in the Society.
The MCHS will keep the community informed of the progress of its DAR grant
application and of every major step forward in the project.
City backs plan for cemetery
Old Macomb Cemetery to be rehabilitated by historical society
A plan by the McDonough County Historical Society to rehabilitate the grounds of the Old Macomb Cemetery received the blessing of the Macomb City Council this week. Aldermen passed a resolution
Tuesday endorsing the society’s plan to seek grant funds and individual contributions to spruce up the cemetery located at West Adams Street and Wigwam Hollow Road.
Following the Tuesday city council meeting, Alderman Dave Dorsett made it clear that Macomb’s endorsement makes no financial commitment on the city’s part. Management and rehabilitation of the
properties would be a McDonough County Historical Society project.
With the city’s support resolution in hand, the society can offer solid assurances to potential donors that it has public support for its vision of how the historic site might be improved.