marker reported found at Lake Kohlmier
Written by Ronald E Houghtelin
Owatonna, Minnesota 55060 - June 1987
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Made available to The Steele Co. genealogy pages by: Ron Houghtelin
It was discovered that a tombstone marker was found at the south end of
Kohlmier Lake in Owatonna sometime this spring. The lake was an old gravel
pit used by the Kohlmier construction company, used as a public swimming area
on the north end for several years and is used for recreational purposes such
The lake was given to the city of Owatonna several years back prior to 1965.
It must have been open or very close to open at the south end of the lake near
the Straight River.
Sometime following (1965) the lake property now was controlled by the City
of Owatonna, a project to place some culvert drain pipes between Kohlmier Lake
and Straight River was done. During this project hauling of earth materials by
Owatonna city trucks and some loads of materials were also hauled by some Steele
By coincidence, I was at the project when one of the Steele County trucks dumped
the tombstone markers into the culvert area for fill and as were other stone and
concrete materials to help hold the drainage pipes in place. I was working for the
Minnesota state highway dept at the time and my boss had driven over on the west
side of the gravel pit to get information from one of the county men about some survey
information on another matter.
As we were waiting some of the workers and truck drivers were commenting on the
tombstones one of the county truck drivers had on his load and as it was dumped some
one made the comment that one of the tombstones slid out further into the water than
the others. It was two or four tombstones mentioned by the drivers. I am uncertain of
the exact number mentioned because at that time I was not really interested in
cemeteries or tombstones.
I became interested in genealogy (Family Trees) about ten years ago and later I
felt that Steele Co early cemetery records, (used by people working on family trees)
were none existent and not available, So I worked for three years making a record
of each of the old cemeteries in the county. This information will be available in
booklet form. So I know the cemeteries in Steele Co pretty well and it seems clear
these tombstone markers came from the old cemetery in Lemond Twp called Old Pontoppandant
or early called the Lemond Cemetery in the north part of section 21.
When the twp road north of the old Lemond Cemetery was built in 1951, I worked
for the Steele County Highway Dept on the survey crew and comments were made by
people from the area about "seemed to be too close to some graves and tombstones".
These statements are factual on my part of the mystery of how the tombstone marker
got into Kohlmier Lake. This part following is speculation on my part as I review
the events of this mystery.
I only helped put in the lath line for the new twp road on the north side of the old
Lemond Cemetery and then our survey crew left this project and I didn't see the tombstones
so I could not really identify them as the exact ones found at Kohlmier Lake. I will really
speculate on this and present the events as I think they probably happened. When the road
was constructed near the tombstone markers at the old Lemond Cemetery in 1950 they were
probably laid down near the top of the bank in the cemetery which had grown up in a
condition of briars and neglect. Someone probably didn't think they were important anymore.
Fifteen years later in 1965, one of the county truck drivers must have seen the tombstone
markers lying on the upper bank of the roadway and hauled them into the project at the south
end of the Lake Kohlmier project. The markers probably didn't seem important to the truck
driver and would seem like some good heavy stones to help hold down the drainage pipes.
On Saturday of June 6 1987 one of the scuba divers in Owatonna came to me and told me
about a tombstone found at the south end of Lake Kohlmier after it was drained for work on
the lake. I told him I would go and check it out. So I parked and hiked to the site and
found the tombstone in the sand. I recorded the information on the stone which I will list
in this report. I looked for evidence of a cemetery where a bouts but could not find
anything like a cemetery. Then I checked around the drainage pipes and found evidence
of another marker and possibly some tombstone bases too.
It was then I began to remember the incidence of about 1965, when the dumping and
construction of the drainage pipes was done. The names I have from the tombstone are
probably from Lemond twp in the area of the old Lemond Cemetery. The language seems
to collaborate this also. I had made an extensive search and record of this cemetery
(old Lemond Cemetery in 1985/1986 and early in the spring 1987 after the county crews
cleaned it up. So I am familiar with this cemetery and the general layout.
I will make other record checks later and I would like to see the other tomb stones
removed from the project area and read those names to verify where they came from for
certain. If they came from the old Lemond Cemetery, then they should be moved back to
the cemetery and erected and restored to mark as closely as possible the graves of
those that the tombstones represented.
At the present time this cemetery is being restored and cleaned up by the Steele County
crews, so I don't think this would be a large project to recover the tombstone markers at
Lake Kohlmier and restore them to the old Lemond Cemetery. The 1880 census show these people
lived in Lemond Twp near the old Lemond town Cemetery, so I will list them in that cemetery
The following data is from the one tombstone marker at Lake Kohlmier that is on the sand
at the south end location. "Larsen" all names on this stone are from the same family.
Inscriptions are in Norwegian or Danish language:
Ingeborg dode (died) 20 Des 1885 i en Alden
(age) af 18 Aar (Years) 8 mon (months) 4 dage (days)
Karl Anton dode 12 Aug 1880
2 Aar 4 mon 4 dage
Karl Anton dode Okt 1866 i en Alden a
1 Aar 23 dage
Johannes dode 14 Des 1873 i en Alder af
5 mon 27 dage
Sigut Larsen F odt (born) 11 Sept 1831
Dode (died) 22 Nov 1892
**Bomem? il Sigurd og Gunild Larsen
inscription was hard to read but I have it as :
Hir hetter i Fred 4 Suskenda.
This is all I could find to read on this one tombstone.
I also found on the east end of the drainage pipes at Lake Kohlmier the end of a 30"x 12"
length unknown, granite stone and also what appears to be the top or at least a beveled
stone that could be another tombstone marker used as rip rap or ballast. This is all the
information I have about the tombstone found at Kohlmier Lake.
Ron Houghtelin Owatonna Minnesota June 1987