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East Helena Cemetery

Wayne Kreiger is the manager-record keeper of the East Helena Cemetery.  He sells the plots, keeps track of who is buried, hires the grass mowing, waters and generally oversees the cemetery.  Donations from families supply the funds that are needed.  Wayne can be contacted at 501 East Riggs, East Helena, Montanan 59635, phone: 406-227-6817.

An East Helena Cemetery inventory was taken by Dolores Harris of East Helena, as a member of the Lewis &Clark Genealogical Society, in September, 1984.  The inventory has been updated and maintained my Maryanne Jensen, another member of the Society, who also lives in East Helena.  In 2011 the Society decided to re-inventory and reprint their database.  We asked Wayne for the list he had and added the additions he had listed.  Through the years, people had added death dates and birth dates as they were found.  Recently we found that East Helena City Cemetery is on the website ”Find A Grave”.  It has 425 graves listed with pictures of monuments that have been placed to honor the departed.  In comparing “Find A Grave” list with Wayne Kreiger’s list we arrived at a total of 455 burials.

In 1984 Matt Vook kept the records, sold the plots, and cared for the cemetery.  When the “Prickly Pear Junction East Helena’s History” book was published and sold a few years ago, part of their profits purchased and installed a beautiful stone bench on the west end of the cemetery near the flag pole.  Below is a direct quote from the Prickly Pear Junction East Helena History book.

East Helena Cemetery

            "When the City of East Helena was surveyed and platted in 1888 the East Helena Cemetery was platted and was located at the end of Montana Avenue at the city limits.

            The streets surrounding the cemetery are, Lewis Street on the north, Helena Avenue on the west, Dudley Street on the sought and Montana Avenue on the east side.  It was situated so no street could eventually be used for traffic in the cemetery.

            The plat was made so the entry gate opened to the center road, with lots on the B side (south half) and lots on the A side (north half).

            Gilman and Mary C. Riggs deeded 12 cemetery lots on the B side on May 20, 1893 to Thomas B. Graves, H.F. Ledolph, and J.H. O’Neil, trustees for the Silver State Lodge #46 IOOF.  The other 12 lots were deeded to Thomas B. Graves, W.H. Moran, and E.L. Bowman, Trustees of Kinsley Lodge #15 AOUW.

            Lot size was 10 feet by 21 1/2 feet each.  The cost was $100 for all 24 lots and also the right to use a sufficient amount of water from the well to irrigate the lots.  These lodges were active in East Helena at the time.  This insured members a grave if things were tough for them. 

            On May 21, 1895 Gilman and Mary C. Riggs deeded another 15 lots in Division A for $25 to W.O. Hutchinson, L.H. Subckarem and B. Humphrey, Trustees for Kinsley Lodge #15 AOUW, and J.E. Terry and D.F. Hedges, Trustees for Silver State Lodge #IOOF.

            On November 22, 1905 for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) widower, Gilman Riggs deeded   to M.O. Robertson, Trustee for the East Helena Cemetery Association the cemetery lots already sold by Gilman Riggs to others.  Also lot #123, Block A which he reserved for himself and family, part of which was occupied.

            The first deed was made in meets and bounds or acreage.  The cemetery covers a city block with 385 total graves, with approximately 21 empty lots left from   the Lodge purchases.”

Footnote: “AOUW-Ancient Order of United Workmen; IOOF-Independent Order of Odd Fellows