Clinton's Cemetery History

This was published in the Clinton Herald Saturday, June 18, 1955

Oakland, St. Boniface Cemeteries Oldest of Seven in Clinton

Oakland cemetery was begun in 1856 when Shuball Coy had the area platted.  It's the oldest of Clinton's seven cemeteries.

All of them have interesting histories, but some of the improvements their boards of trustees have said they'll make in the next few years were far beyond those the founders could have imagined.

Coy didn't file a plat of the cemetery for record until June of 1869 though and the original area contained 20 acres.  It was called the Lyons city cemetery when it first began.

On May 24, 1895, a non-profit corporation, the Oakland Cemetery association, was formed and took over the cemetery.  It increased the area by about 10 acres in March of 1896 by adding what is known as the Joyce addition which was granted by W. T. Joyce.  In 1906, he also built a chapel on the grounds in memory of his parents.

Current officers are: H. B. Hagge, president; Ernest H. Struve, vice president; K. F. Booth, tresurer and C. A. Buchner, secretary.  Members of the board of directors are H. A. Sino, B. C. Peters, Edward Horst, A. A. Stumbaugh and Frank Schneider. Benjamin Lake actually was issued the first deed in June of 1857.  Before the cemetery was begun, bodies were buried near the site where Our Lady of Angels academy now stands.  By 1910, the cemetery had grown so that there were 1,025 lot owners.

St. Boniface Catholic cemetery is second oldest.  It was begun in 1861 the same year the parish was formed.  The original tract was five acres in size, but over the years additions were made until it now totals about nine and a half acres.

It's located just across the road from Oakland cemetery in the vicinity of Eagle Point park.  The cemetery boasts a mortuary chapel and has a crucifixion group.

The cemetery was reorganized in 1945 and a modern plan placed into operation.  All lots were marked with permanent markers and such services as perpetual care inaugurated.

It's operated under a parish corporation plan as are Calvary and St. Mary's Catholic cemeteries.  The board under this plan is composed of three members of the clergy, including the pastor, and two lay men.

At St. Boniface, Rev. L. A. Rohret, the pastor, and two parish members, B. W. Determann and Joseph Brick, meet with two dioceasan officials to make decisions. Diocesan officials, who are also on the board of Calvary cemetery are Bishop Ralph Hayes, and Monsignor Martin Cone, both of Davenport.

In 1868, Clinton's largest cemetery, Springdale, was begun.  It contains more than 30 acres.  The Cemetery Association of Clinton had the area plotted and surveyed in July of 1868.

Altogether, three additions were annexed.  The first was platted by John C. Weston and Caroline F. Weston his wife, in March of 1892.  Then the Springdale Cemetery association came into being and in March of 1896 the second addition was added with P. S. Towle, president of the association, filing the plat.  W. H. Seaman was secretary.

The third addition added in 1909 by the association.  The oldest known tombstone bears the date of 1858.  This was 10 years before the cemetery was platted.  A receiving vault extends 95 feet into one of the cemetery's bluffs.

One of the cemetery's highlights is a monument erected by the General N. B. Baker post of the Grand Army of the Republic.  It is a granite column and bears the figure of a soldier on its summit.  With-in the shadows are the graves of 40 men who fought and died for the blue.

St. Mary's Catholic cemetery began Feb. 1, 1869 with the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land on 2nd Ave. Rd. west of Clintonby five parishioners.

They were James King, Patrick Murphy, John Doyle, John Sheppard and John Coleman.  The deed said the cemetery was "for the Catholic parishioners of the city of Clinton."

In 1906, some of the original founders and other men in the parish formed the St. Mary's Cemetery association.  This organization currently directs cemetery affairs.

Charles Marcucci is the president now and Louis H. Doyle is secretary-treasurer.  Marcucci represents St. Mary's church on the board while Paul F. Kamler is Sarcred Heart's trustee.  A. C. Nielsen and Irene Williams, represent St. Patrick's church.

A unique perpetual care trust was begun in 1940.  Under the plan, the district court appoints a trustee to handle the funds and make investments.  Atty. John T. McCarthy is the current trustee.

Investments must be approved by the court and in case of death, the court appoints a new trustee.  The cemetery grounds were improved last year and more extensive ones have been planned.

Every Memorial Day an annual field day mass is recited in the cemetery by a priest.  The mass has become traditional with the cemetery and a large crouwd usually attends.

Calvary Catholic cemetery, owned by St. Irenaeus parish, was begun in 1870 with a five-acre tract.  From its humble beginning, the area has been built up and during the past two years some $40,000 has been spent on improvements.  Directors expect to spend almost that much more during the next few years completing the job.

An addition to the five-acres was added in 1918 and in 1947 an 18 acre tract was annexed.  This raised the total are to 26 acres.  It will be increased more with the addition of 200 more lots this year.

A new receiving vault, which will hold up to 40 bodies, will be completed this summer.  It will eliminate winter burial at Calvary.

Work is also expected to begin this year on constructing 4,000 feet of curbing and gutter.  As part of this project, 36-foot roads through-out the area will be built.  The stone surfaced thoroughfares will receive a blacktop coat after another year or two.  When the project is complete, the cemetery will boast three entrances.

Evergreen trees and shrubbery will also be planted this summer.  They will replace 125 large trees cut down last year.  The new trees will be planted only along roads and planting on lots has been prohibited as part of the renovation.  Chains will replace old gates.

Rev. E. F. Jackson, pastor of St. Irenaeus, and two of his parishioners, Henry Manemann and Fay Campbell, compose the board of trustees along with Bishop Hayes and Msgr. Cone.

Pine Grove cemetery was started with the purchase of five acres of land by the Swedish Lutheran church June 4, 1887.  The church paid Edward Van Tassel $575 for the acreage located at the end of 2nd Ave. Road near St. Mary's cemetery.

From its founding until June of 1925, it was called Swedish cemetery.  That year, Immanuel Lutheran church, transferred the property to the Pine Grove cemetery association for $1 and other considerations.

Currently, a six-member board of trustees elected by the membership of Immanual Lutheran church conducts the affairs of the cemetery.

Trustees are: Paul Larsen, vice president; John N. Shanks, secretary-treasurer; Adrian Lundeen, Earl Swanson, Clifford Swanson and Edgar Jorgensen.  A president will be elected at the board's next meeting.

Clinton Memorial Park cemetery began in 1935, is the city's newest. It began as a 10-acre tract, but almost annual additions have boosted it to 30 acres.

The cemetery was incorporated during its first years and stockholders are principally Clintonians.  It is typical of the modern cemetery that has developed in the U. S. during the past 20 to 30 years, a spokesman said.

One of the most modern masoleums in the U. S. has been erected on its grounds.  This structure will hold 320 bodies.  It contains a columbarium.  The cemetery also has a receiving vault with a capacity for 18 bodies.

One of the cemetery's highlights is "Swan Lake."  A male and female swan swim in this pond during spring and summer months.