Forgotten Cemetery

by

David Ingeman

 

Death is a tragedy to everyone, it strikes both the youngand the old, And causes sorrow to millions of people considering death occursevery sixty seconds.

Cemeteries are a sacred resting place of the dead, butare often forgotten about. The burials of earlier days were much differentfrom those of present day. It was seldom that a funeral drew a large crowd.And wooden caskets were the most commonly used. The person was stored whereverpossible until arrangements for a cemetery plot of a good spot in the wildernesscould be completed.

But today the story is different, It's not a proper funeralif a casket, vault, proper clothing, funeral cars, and flowers are not partof the services. The most important part of a funeral is the sincere sorrowand love for the victim which is always there no matter if it's a richlydecorated service, or a simple family service.

To the pioneer, a death in the family meant that maybea few close neighbors would come over and build a casket and a member ofthe family would clean up the victim. The casket would then be taken toa fitting burial place and the head of the family would say a short sermonand the men would then cover the grave. In the winter when the ground wasfrozen, the casket was sometimes put in a granary or small building untilspring when the ground soften up enough to bury the victim.

When an epidemic struck and a family was in quarantine,if a member of that family died, the other part of the family would haveto take care of all the burial arrangements, or else wait until the quarantinewas lifted.

In those days, cemeteries weren't plentiful like today.So not everyone was buried in a cemetery. Many people were buried in cornersof fields, or in the woods around the farm place if they lived in a woodedarea.

Today, there are over nine thousand cemeteries in the UnitedStates that are kept up. Cemeteries are a money making proposition thesedays, but in earlier times the grave yard was not to show any profit andburial fees were nominal. But, as time went on, when a person died, it gotto be a big expense. The prices for burial services inflated so badly, thatit was very hard for a poor family to pay the expenses even for a simpleburial.

Since it was hard to find a suitable place to bury a person.Some people donated land to the community in order to start a cemetery.One of these generous people was Heathren Clow.

Heathren Clow donated a plot of land to the community ofHumboldt around the 1890's. This land is located one half mile west andone half mile south of Humboldt.

It is approximately one fourth of an acre and has arounda hundred graves there. But, no one knows the exact number since some gravesaren't marked, and a lot of dirt blew in there and covered many of the graves.

It all started when the railroad came through Humboldtin the fall of 1879. Everyone thought that Humboldt was in need of a cemetery.But the town didn't want to pay the first hundred dollars to join the NationalCemetery Association.

When Heathren Clow offered the land to the town, the townrefused. He decided to give it to the community. This meant that there wouldbe no special person to take care of the place. The only way it was keptup, was if some of the people who had relatives buried there, would cleanit up. The land was quickly filled when an epidemic of the flu, and thendiphtheria hit the area. Since the cemetery was filled up and no one wasburied there anymore, the place was forgotten. The grass grew higher andthe weeds soon took over. The flowers died, and it looked like a weed patchfor the dead. The people thought it was a disgrace to let a graveyard getso run down, but no one did anything about the matter. There were a fewgraves that were taken care of but it was just too bad for those that hadno one to take care of them.

Walter Clow, who is presently living in Humboldt, has relativesthere. As a matter of fact, Heathren Clow was his great, great, grandfather.Walter's parents, William T., and Bessie H. Clow are buried there. He alsohas four brothers and sisters interred there. They are Lawia, Franklin,John, and Walter C.. These are a few of the well kept graves, thanks toWalter and his wife.

There are two veterans buried there, they are Ray Loinsand a Jerganson, whose first name is not known. These two graves are surroundedby fences, but that doesn't keep the weeds and grass from growing.

An epidemic struck this area in the early 1900's and atthat time many children died of the flu. Six different graves containingchildren who died at approximately the same time, attests to this fact.

There is an unusual grave stone in the shape of a lamb,marking the grave of a young girl named Daisy Jenkins. She died at the ageof eight. She burned to death while riding to school in a sleigh completelyenclosed by wood. These sleighs were known as a "Caboose" Theywere used to carry children and families to church and school, it had astove inside to keep them warm. Daisy and her sister were trapped when thesleigh over turned and caught fire, her sister managed to get out.

Another wagon accident took the life of Nelly Clow. Whileclimbing on a wagon to go to town she slipped and fell under the wheel.The horses spooked and the wheel ran over her. She died a few hours later.

God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, hetakes both young and old to work in his kingdom. Each person should havea peaceful resting place. Cemeteries should always be kept beautiful inremembrance of the dead.

 

Interviews:

Bockwitz, Vera, Mrs., Humboldt, MN Jan. 6, 1972

Clow, Walter, Humboldt, MN Dec. 20, 1971, Jan. 6, 1972

Easton, Harris, Humboldt, MN Jan. 6, 1972.

 20, 1971, Jan. 6, 1972

Easton, Harris, Humboldt, MN Jan. 6, 1972.