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NOTE:  The following information was researched and generously provided to the NEGenWeb Project by Nancy Hartman. 

The Wilson School Cemetery is located in Section 17 of Wilson Precinct, 3/10 mile west from the P road and 2 road intersection; north of the residence at this location. The old schoolhouse there has been converted into a garage. Look for a grove of trees to the north; large pine trees are growing in the cemetery. The cemetery had its beginnings in the 1870s. People began to settle this area somewhat before 1870 and a number came in 1871 and 1872. It is said to be the oldest public cemetery in this immediate locality (Wilson Precinct, Colfax County, Nebraska), near the site of the former Wilson Post Office, established 28 April 1875 and discontinued February 1892.

By 1937 this cemetery adjoined the Wilson School (Dist. No. 20 on the north).

The book 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF LEIGH 1887 to 1937, by Mrs. Chas Kuhle, gave 6 April 1883 as the date of incorporation under the name of Elm Creek Baptist Church property. On 7 Aug. 2006 I visited the courthouse in Colfax County and did not find this deed of incorporation. I did, however, find the Certificate of Organization dated 20 June 1888. Trustees were Thomas M. Hoppel, Charles M. Bontwell, Henry P. Moore, Pastor and Moderator J. E. Rockwood, Clerk Anna L. Babcock. (Note: Charles Mortimer Boutwell was married to Jane Elizabeth (Jeanne) Babcock. Anna and Jane Babcock were daughters of Lydia Lawrence and Rev. Calvin J. P. Babcock.)

Also found was the Order of Sale of the Elm Creek Baptist Church property, filed 6 June 1891 in the District Court of Colfax County, Nebraska. Date of hearing to ask to sell the property was 18 April 1891.

Rev. Omar J. P. Babcock (otherwise know as Calvin J. P. Babcock) held the first services in the Wilson School house. Rev. Babcock died August of 1884 and was buried in the Wilson Cemetery. Two years after his death the Baptist church was built. Rev. Henry P. Moore took over after Rev. Babcock. When Rev. Henry P. Moore in 1893 moved back to Canada, the church disbanded and some members followed him to Canada.

Listed in the Leigh Anniversary book for early graves are:

Tombstone for Levi age 6, s/o J. P. and J. A. Bedrang, (Jacob Peter Bedrang and Julia Ann Zartman Bedrang). Date of 25 September 1871. (As of 2003, this large tombstone has not been found.)

Other stones marking early burials are Isaac Bridges, infant, 1877; twin daughters of Henry and Catherine Bridges, 1877; John Howard, 48, 1879; Margaret Bridges, infant, 1879; Philip Botsch, 24, 1881; Anna Botsch, 1881; Isabel Smith, 26, 1881; Johnny Baker, 9, son of George and Elvina Baker, 1881; William Sayers, 1, son of J.F. and M.C. Sayers, 1885; D. H. Warner, 77, 1885; Anna Maria Hirt, infant, 1885; twin sons of Henry and Catherine Bridges, 1885; Mehetble Daley, 77, 1888; Lilah, daughter of Jay and Elizabeth Daley, 1889; John F. Spanhackle, 72, 1889; Chas Glasner, 10 months, 1889.

Early history of this area tells that Methodist Episcopal services were held in the early 1870s in the Wilson schoolhouse. The Methodist Episcopal Church was built on the corner of the John Cushman farm; this land later belonged to Emil Grotelueschen. In about 1894 the church was discontinued. The book CRESTON CENTENNIAL HISTORY 1890-1990 tells on page 41 that in 1904 the Creston Methodist Church purchased the Wilson Methodist Church building and used the lumber to build a parsonage in Creston.

The families who attended the Wilson Methodist Church were Cushman, Walters, McKee, Van Nostrum, Cornwell, Bridges, Julch, Craig, Hatcher, Cook, Deforest, and Whitaker

A number of these family names are noted in the obituary for Mrs. Washington Hardy (nee Sophia Culbertson) published 22 March 1935 in the Leigh newspaper. The Hardys who came from Ohio lived for a short time in Madrid, Iowa and in 1872 they and other families came to Colfax County to settle. The Hardys settled 4 miles south of Leigh in Colfax County. The names of those families who came with them were Louis K. Walters, Jerry Hatcher, Frank Babcock, Robert Davis McKee, Rev. Babcock, Henry Bridges, Michael Sattler, Peter Botsch Sr., Harrison Chamberlain, Henry Kloppel, Peter Zartman, J. D. Bowers, Joe Smith and James Sayers.

Some of the above families later attended a Lutheran Church so the cemetery includes Methodists, Baptists and Lutherans. The Peter Botsch family helped organize St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

On 16 December 2002, Gary and Nancy Hartman visited and read this cemetery. The cemetery of five acres is in poor condition, with broken and missing stones, grown up in trees and brush. Open parts are being mowed for hay.

[Note: Click on link to see picture of stone--taken by Dana Hewett and submitted by Nancy Hartman.]

Starting on the west side and walking south (See Map)


SAYERS, Charles E., b. 30 March 1901, d. 7 February 1919
SAYERS, James S., b. 19 Sept. 1858, d. 19 March 1918
SAYERS, William Henry, s/o J. S. & M. C. Sayers, d. 23 February 1888 age 1y/6mo/17ds OUR DARLING BABY
SAYERS, George Parker, s/o J. S. & M. C. Sayers b. 3 or 8 July 1895, 9y/9mo
SAYERS, Chambers H. b. 30 April, 1824, d. 12 December 1896
SAYERS, Jane b. 20 November 1820, d. 2 May 1905
SAYERS, Beaty T. d. 1 March 1895 age 33y.
GALE, Frances. Also [2] and [3] Co. D. 8th Wis. Inf. (Probate file gives death as 16 July 1876)
GLASNER, Mollie and [2], b. 27 April 1881, d. 20 November 1903 (d/o of Joseph and Matilda Hall Glasnor)

ROW TWO: (north end walking south)

BRIDGES, Catharine w/o H. Bridges, d. 1 Aug. 1902 age 57y/6mo/26d (Henry Bridges)
BRIDGES, Jacob W., [2], and [3], s/o H. C. Bridges, d. 20 Oct. 1887, 21y/1mo/13d
BRIDGES, Margaret, d/o H. & C., d. 18 March 1879, 3mo/7d "A TWIN GONE TO BE AN ANGEL"
BRIDGES, Twin boys one died at birth, the other died 17 March 1885, age 3mo/3d
BRIDGES, Isaac s/o H. & C Bridges, d. 20 Jan. 1872, age 2d
BRIDGES, Twin girls died at birth 6 Dec. 1877.

ROW THREE: (north end walking south) View of area

BEST, George R. and [2] and [3], d. 29 Nov. 1896, 74y/10mo/18d
BROWN, Emma C. and [2], w/o, B.B.F., born 23 Aug. 1847, d. 28 March 1891
SPANHACKE, John F. d. 16 Aug. 1889, age 72y/1mo/21d
WARNER, D.H. 1808-1885 (Daniel H.)
WARNER, Margaret, his wife, 1824-1916  (Lived in Harlan County, Nebraka at time of death with son Delbert. She was Mrs. Margaret Gool before she married Daniel in Henderson county, Illinois in 1858)

BAKER, Johnny R. s/o George and Elvina Baker, d. 13 Nov. 1881, 9y/3mo/26d "BUDDED ON EARTH TO BLOOM IN HEAVEN"
Step son of Nathaniel C. Earl
DALEY, Methetabel, born in Goshen, N.Y. b. 18 April 1818, D. 17 Nov. 1888 age 70y/6mo/26d. The stone was on the ground and could not be turned over; there may be another person buried there. On the 1885 census of Wilson Pct., Methetabel is listed as Isabel Daley age 67 born N.Y. with son Jay age 23 born Mi. (She is Mehitable Green widow of Hiram B. Daley)

Two stones side by side are broken
BABCOCK, Rev. C. J. P. and [2], d. 28 Aug. 1884, age 62y/3m/6d
BABCOCK, F.R. stone is broken and bottom part missing.

Frank Babcock was in an asylum in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was buried on those grounds naked and with his ribs broken.  His brother Cal Babcock had him removed from that grave and taken to Wilson for a proper funeral and burial. The funeral was held on 13 January 1885. Courthouse records in Colfax County seem to indicate the family sued the State of Nebraska because of his death.

Dana Hewett reread the stones and did some clean up work during his visit to the cemetery in 2006. Dana located a few more stones; some broken and others down and covered with dirt and debris:

DALEY, Lilah M. b.22 March 1889 died 3 June 1889, 2mo/12d, d/o of Jay & Lizzie (Elizabeth Reiss) Daley
HIRT, Anna Maria, Gest. Den. 26 Sept. 1885, 2mo/26d
BOTSCH, Anna, dau. of P. & B. Botsch, d. 2 Oct. 1881, 6y/18d (Note: Wife of Peter Botsch was Barbara Julch)
BOTSCH, Philip and [2], Gest. Den, 5 Jan. 1881, Erreughte Das Alter, 24 Yahren (s/o Johann George Botsch) See also [3] and [4]
HOWARD, John and [2], In memory of Jno. Howard, Born in England 1831, d. 1879, Rest Father rest in quiet sleep, while friends in sorrow, o'er thee keep
GLASNER, Charles, 10 mo. 1889, s/o Joseph & Matilda Hall Glasner

The obituary of Mrs. Harriet Bowers, (THE QUILL, 27 Jan. 1899) said she died Thursday morning at age 87; that she was Methodist and that she was buried in the Wilson Cemetery in Wilson Precinct. I would suspect her husband, John Bowers, born 1811 and who died some time after 1870, would be buried here also but no marker was found for this couple.

A lady who went to school from 1937-1947 at the Wilson School, said during that time there were a lot of stones in this cemetery up on the north end. Many of the stones may have been taken from the cemetery and used for other things and maybe put in washouts in the area.

Contact Nancy Hartman for further information at 360-44 ½ Road, Bellwood, NE 68624.

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