Some of these histories of cemeteries of Madison County were originally published in the Winterset Madisonian newspaper on August 26, 1953, July 1956 and July 18, 1958. They have been transcribed and posted with the permission of Ted Gorman, owner of the Winterset Madisonian newspaper.

All cemetery names are linked to their Madison County address.


Brush Ridge Cemetery


This cemetery is located in Crawford Township, Madison County, in Section 34, in the very southeastern corner of the section. Slightly northeast of the present buildings of Robert Kaldenberg. This cemetery is directly north of the Blair Chapel and Cemetery about 1   miles. It is located on a narrow knoll running in and east to north direction at the end of a finger that slopes sharply on three sides. The bottom ground is 500 to 600 feet away and about 1/2 mile south of the present Middle River. The cemetery is about 60 feet by 100 feet. It is currently fenced with woven wire and is in good condition. There are young white oak trees outside and around the cemetery, with one larger white oak tree inside about one-third of the way down from the southwest entrance gate. The undergrowth has been kept down.

This cemetery has also been known as the Old Brush Ridge Cemetery and some people have said that there has been a small church or chapel just north of the cemetery at one time.

The cemetery was about 2/3 full at one time. A number of graves have been moved over the years. The bulk of the graves are in the north half of the cemetery with two markers now in the south part of the gate. The last recorded burial was on December 27, 1878.

This is another description of the Brush Ridge Cemetery done by Herman A. Mueller and taken from the June 15th, 1931 edition of the Madisonian newspaper with permission of the owner of the paper.

The first settlers came to Madison county in the spring and summer of 1846. Of course, there were no established cemeteries. The first death in the neighborhood would call for a burial and a place to bury. Quite often then a burial would be made somewhere near the home of the deceased, or in some suitable location and then this would be the beginning of a neighborhood burying ground. At times, the family would have a “family burial plot” on the farm. Later, when churches were built and the county more settled, then cemeteries were established which became permanent. No doubt there are many of these family burial plots, or some cemetery started and then left off in the field, until now they have ceased to be used as a burial place.

South township has six cemeteries, but only four of them are now being used as such. These are kept up and cared for by the township trustees.

The writer knows of a few family plots which have been neglected and even the markers taken away and the land farmed.

There is one early burial place of which I want to write at this time, has been woefully neglected, yet in it lay some of the early pioneers and many of their children. You only need to read the tombstones and you know that infant mortality was large in the early days of our settling Madison county. This neglected cemetery is located in the SE º Section 34 Crawford township, and about one-half mile north of the Blair Chapel church which is in Section 3 in South township. I find this cemetery is known to many in the Blair Chapel neighborhood, but it is not of easy access. Unless you have a guide, you would even get lost in the woods that surround it.

Some years ago, I had been informed that Mr. John Grissom fenced the plot with a two wire fence, fastening the wire to the trees that grow about the spot. The trees within the cemetery had been cut, but have grown up so that the trees and brush hide the tombstone that remain standing. Many of the markers have fallen down or have been broken and moved from their resting place.

I find that the first burial was made in 1850 and the last in 1878. Mr. Wolf tells me that some burials were made a few years later, and then afterwards moved to Blair Chapel cemetery which was started about 1870 when the church was built. The families that are most represented here are the Cason’s, Bells, Smith’s and John’s, with several families with only one or two graves.

We note that David and James Smith have three or four children buried there. Madison County history tells us that David S. Smith and Jane Cason were the first couple to be married in Madison county, which occurred April 19, 1849. According to the reading on the tombstone, they had the first to be laid away in this cemetery on February, 14, 1850. The child’s name was Permelia.

Thomas Cason, who died December 27, 1855, at the age of 62 years and his widow, Amelia, who died December 23, 1878, at the age of 76, were very early settlers in the east part of Madison county. They came in July 1847, and bought the claim of Hiram Hurst who was the first settler in Madison county. This claim was in Section 36 of the present Crawford township. The land is now owned by Frank Trumbauer.

They were the parents of William T. Cason and T. T. Cason, well known families fifty years ago. Mrs. Georgia Way is a daughter of William T. Cason. Barbara Cason of T.T. Cason.

A. and M. J. Bell, have a daughter, Hannah, who died September 1853, and a son Walter dying April 19, 1854, and a son Ernest in 1871.

This A. Bell is probably Abner Bell who lived many years in Patterson. He was an early settler and helped build the mill known as the Huglin Mill on Middle River, not far from the cemetery.

One Civil war veteran lies buried here, John J. Cason who died on August 22, 1863. He has a child buried here which died September 5, 1854.

The Johns were early settlers living on land now owned by Chris Wolf. J. M. and A. Johns were the parents of Andy, Sanford and Elvira Johns. Elvira, a girl nearly eighteen years of age was crossing a foot log over Middle River, near the Huglin mill, and fell into the water and was drowned on May 16, 1861. She lies in this cemetery. Mary A., the wife of A. B. Johns, died in 1862 at the age of 32 years. Susannah, daughter of Sanford and Rebecca Johns and a sister of Mrs. Elizabeth Haynes of Hanley, is buried here.
Sophrona, daughter of D. and E. Worley died June 16, 1852, age 6 years. Mr. Worley lived where Carlon Stannard lived many years in South township, west of Blair Chapel. Mr. Worley was a local preacher and I understand is related to the Worleys of Scott township, Malinda, a daughter of M. M. and P. Smith died May 9, 1855. John R., son of T. T. and L. E. Cason, died May 9, 1855.

Peter A., son of O. M. and M. Moser, died September 5, 1860. Mr. Moser lived in Section 4, South township and was elected County Recorder in 1864, 1866 and 1868, thus served three terms as County Recorder. Lettie R., daughter of Cyrus and M. J. Crossley, died in 1869. John C. Burkhead died in 1864, at the ate of 38 years. Rachel E., daughter of J. w. and M. E. Scott, died March 3, 1868. The Scott’s were from Kentucky and have many representatives now living in the county. Miles B., son of G. and A. L. Bell, died December 8, 1868.

These are some of the burials here. No doubt others lie here unmarked. A study of these names is a study of early history of this community and this county. Why not preserve these neglected and forsaken burial places of early day?

Much more could be written about these burial places in Madison county. The manner and custom of early burials has been well told by A.J. Hosington, in the Madison county history. Mr. Cal Ogburn in his articles in the Madisonian has told about how the early funeral services were conducted, and how preparation was made for the burial.

The writer will be glad to receive information of similar burying places in Madison county, with the object in view that these places be preserved and taken care of in honor of the early settles of Madison county.
H. A. Mueller 
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