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RACINE COUNTY, WISCONSIN

Perhaps three thousand years ago, nomadic Indians, called Woodland Mound Builders, chose this as a ceremonial meeting place and a sacred burying ground.  Among the tree and long the river bluffs they sculpted both conical and animal effigy mounds from which this cemetery would later take its name.

In November of 1851, city officials purchased the first acres of Mound Cemetery from Norman Clarke and James Kinzie who, months earlier, had secured it from one Joseph Antoine Ouilmette, a person of mixed French and Indian ancestry.  Ouilmette brought his Potawatomi wife and family the Racine area in 1834.  Later he helped settle Wausau and Chicago.  Wilmette, Illinois may be named after Ouilmette, whose signature was represented only by an "X" on the deed to Clarke and Kinzie.  It seems appropriate that a person of Native American descent actually deeded over the "burial place of his fathers."   According to the writings of Norman Clarke's daughter, Marion Clarke McMynn, Ouilmette agreed to sell to her father only on the condition that the mounds be left intact.  However, a cemetery sexton reported the removal of over one hundred Indian remains from the cemetery later on.

Three years of controversy preceded the establishment of Mound as a cemetery.  Many citizens agreed that the city's first public cemetery, located between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets from College avenue to Villa Street (the present site of Winslow School), was too close to rapidly growing residential areas.  But others saw Mound's location as too far from the city.  A few of that opinion formed their own private corporation and, with 25 acres purchased from Isaac Taylor and John Cary, created a cemetery called Evergreen on the lakeshore just south of Racine College (now the DeKoven Center).  Eventually, remains from both Evergreen , which proved to be too near the lake's eroding banks, and from the Winslow School site were reburied at Mound.  Removal of a body to Mound cost $2.50 for an adult, $1.50 for a child.

Since its dedication on June 3, 1852, Mound Cemetery has grown to encompass about 58 acres,  The original cemetery covered 16 acres that ran along West Boulevard between Twelfth Street and Kinzie Avenue.  The original 1,768 lots were plotted by Dr. Philo Hoy and the first cemetery committee.  They were sold to city residents for $5 each and to those residing outside the city limited for $7.  In 1864 another 30 acres, just to the east on the other side of the bridge, were added.  The final 12 acres were purchased in 1880 and expanded the cemetery grounds to Horlick Park Drive on the south and Riverside Park on the east.

The first structure in the cemetery was a tool shed built in 1855 for $25.  Where the above-ground crypts are, there was a cave-like affair to hold corpses until spring thaws allowed grave digging to begin.  A wooden chapel, built in 1875-76, had one room called "the morgue," where bodies not yet ready for burial were housed.  That chapel was moved to 1015 Lockwood Avenue in 1952, after William Wadewitz raised funds for a new stone chapel and office building.  At one time the cemetery also had its own greenhouse.  The words "Mound Cemetery," spelled out in flowers, greeted visitors as they passed through the gates.  A seven-foot wooden picket fence that once enclosed the cemetery was characterized by local citizens as unnecessary since "no one inside can get out and no one outside wants to get in."  It was replaced in 1904.  An iron picket fence with ornamental iron gates was given by Mary King at a cost of $2,500.  The present gates were installed in 1954; the fence has been replaced by chain link.

Over the ravine, called Sylvan Dell, there was first a wooden bridge (1876), then a steel replacement (1888), and finally, a poured concrete bridge (1928), which was restored by the cemetery commission and the city in 1990.  A spring on the south bank of Sylvan Dell provided the first water supply; it was replaced by wells and the, sometime after 1910, by city water.

One thing that did not require change was the system of cemetery roads, each an ample eighteen to twenty feel side.  Their names, Cedar or Cyprus, Spruce or Hawthorn, may have reflected the many types of trees and shrubs inventoried by the cemetery's "architect," Dr. Hoy.  Urban historians recognize cemeteries as being man's first attempt at permanency; how fortunate for Racine to have this millennial repository of historical, archaeological, and anthropological treasures we call Mound Cemetery.

Industries such as the Fish Brothers Wagon Company and the Mitchell Wagon Works were just two of many local concerns in need of skilled trades and crafts people. That need prompted the immigration of countless Danes and Germans and other skilled artisans to this area. Many of them are buried in historic Mound Cemetery, and certainly their collective contributions to the Racine community are equally deserving of recognition.

-From the Racine Walking Tour Guide published in 1994

 
Below is a listings of some of the family monuments and interesting gravestone that can be found in Mound Cemetery.  Click on the name to see a biography of the family or person.

Lot Search is one of three Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Mound Cemetery. The other two are Private Rufus Carver (1755-1840) and Private Elijah (Elisha) Raymond (1761-1842). In all, there are eight Revolutionary War veterans buried in Racine County, more than any other county in Wisconsin.  There is information on all eight on the American Revolutionary War page.

AGERHOLM, HAROLD C. KNAPP, GILBERT

AHRENS, MATTHIAS

KNIGHT, ALBERT G.

BABY CEMETERY KRATOCHVIL, MARIE

BAKER, ROBERT

LATHROP, WILLIAM

BLAKE, LUCIUS

LEE, CHARLES HALL

BRADLEY, LUCAS

LLOYD, JOHN
BROWN MARKER MARCHER, THOMAS

BULL, STEPHEN

MEACHEM, JOHN JR.

CARVER, RUFUS

MEACHEM, JOHN SR.

CASE MAUSOLEUM

MEAD, ALVIN

CERNY, JOHN

MUNROE, ORLANDO

CIVIL WAR PLOT PARK MONUMENT

CLARKE, NORMAN

PETERSEN MONUMENT
COOPER MONUMENT PORTER MONUMENT

DOUD, REUBEN

RAYMOND, ELISHA

DUTTON, ACHAS

RORK, DANIEL

ERSKINE, MASSENA SCHELLING, PETER E.

FISH, ABNER

SEARCH, LOT

FISH, EDWIN

SECOR, MARTIN M.

FISH, TITUS

SLAUSON, DANIEL

FRATT, NICHOLAS

SLAUSON, GEORGE

FREEMAN MONUMENT SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR MEMORIAL
HARNEY MOUNMENT STEWART, JENNIE (WUSTUM)
HART, LUCIUS S.

STRONG, MARSHALL

HESLER, ALEXANDER

SWOBODA, WILLIAM

HORLICK MAUSOLEUM TAYLOR, ISAAC

HOY, PHILO ROMAYNE

UTLEY, WILLIAM L.
JOHNSON MAUSOLEUM

VILAS, MOSES

JOHNSON MONUMENT WADEWITZ, EDWARD H.

KELL, HEINRICH (HENRY)

WILLIAMS, MARGARET

KELLEYE, EMILY ADA (LEE)

WINSLOW, HORATIO G.
KLINKERT, ERNST

WUSTUM, CHARLES A.