CARLISLE CEMETERY is located in the southwest quarter and the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 10 of Allen Township. It is one-half mile south of the town of Carlisle.
The first settlers began to farm and improve their claims several years before land sales were held, and they had no legal claim to their land until they could purchase it. When the land sales were held, the settlers banded together to protect one another's claims and to prevent speculators from buying claims which settlers had already improved. In most cases, only the person who was actually settled on the land was allowed to bid for the land. Speculators soon learned it was safest to only bid on unimproved land.
Nicholas Beezley was the first to enter land in Allen Township and he did so on October 30, 1848. On the same day Simpson Hargis, Hiram Niday and Owen E. Osborne entered Allen Township land.
Richard Hadley, Jacob Disney and Jacob's brother, Mordecai came to the Summerset-Carlisle, Iowa, area in the spring of 1846, from Knox County, Ohio. The only settlement in the area was around the sawmill which Captain Allen had built to saw the lumber to build Fort Des Moines. The mill was purchase by John D. Parmalee, and when it was converted to a grist mill in 1847, Mordecai Disney, who was a blacksmith, forged some of the iron work needed. Later Mordecai worked for Parmalee as a miller, operating the mill until he left for California to dig for gold.
Carlisle Cemetery was started with the death of Richard Hadley. One summer Sunday, Richard Hadley and Jacob Disney were standing on a knoll on Jacob's claim. Hadley said, "Jake, when I die, I want you to bury me right here on this knoll." Disney supposedly replied he would not do so, since that would spoil his best field. However, in a day or so, Richard Hadley became ill with cholera and died on Thursday. Jacob Disney buried him just where he had been asked to be buried. Jacob, who had nursed his sick friend, then got sick and died on the next Thursday from cholera. He was buried next to his friend.
Rachel Watts made the shrouds for the two men to be buried in. She said that the bend in the road as it goes to Carlisle Cemetery is there because in that place the road follows the path that went between the huts in which Hadley and Disney, had erected their claims. Mrs. W.G. Stumbo was responsible for placing the memorial stone to the first burial, Richard Hadley. In 1846 Mrs. Stumbo died and was buried in Carlisle Cemetery.
After Jacob Disney died, his claim lapsed. Eliza and Joseph Petre, relatives of Disney, finished out the claim and deeded the cemetery to the county in 1860. Eliza and Joseph's son, Albert Petre, was the first child born in that area.
The third burial in Carlisle Cemetery was that of a little girl, Cordelia Orme, who had been born in Knox County, Ohio. Her grave is unmarked. Cordelia was the daughter of Jesse and Nancy Disney Orme, married Jan 27, 1850 in Knox County, Ohio. Nancy was a sister of Jacob Disney's so Cordelia was buried beside her uncle. The little girl had died while the family was migrating to Nodaway in Page County, Iowa.
The next grave in the first row is that of Harriet Anderson. Legend says she was the sweetheart of Richard Hadley and came to Iowa intending to be married to him. Possibly she came from Ohio with her sister and brother-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. George Disney, or with her brothers, Charles Luther Anderson and Leonard Anderson. They all came to Iowa about 1850. Harriet was the daughter of Leonard and Nancy Penn Anderson, and she died in Iowa in 1851 at the age of 20 years, 4 months and 16 days.
The next stone marks the grave of Alice A. Disney, daughter of G.I. and A.E. Disney, who died June 11, 1852 at the age of 2 years, 4 months. Next is Martin Luther Disney who was 8 years, 8 months and 21 days when he died in 1855. Beside him is the grave of George Disney who died August 8, 1855 at the age of 39 years, 8 months and 15 days. His wife, Anne Elizabeth Anderson Disney is beside him. She died March 14, 1856 at the age of 31 years, 5 months and 7 days.
The next grave is that of infant William Lavelle Brown. The stone only says "Willie, 1885." He was the son of Amelia Jane Disney Brown and Benjamin Franklin Brown. They are both buried beside their son. Amelia had lived in the home of Dr. Dashiell at Hartford. Dr. Dashiell operated a station of the underground railway for slaves. Later Amelia worked for Abe and Sophie Shoemaker.
These are the stones that mark the first burials in Carlisle Cemetery. Today they are marked as ROW 26.
On May 23, 1860 Joseph and Eliza Ann Petre, for the consideration of one dollor, conveyed unto the trustees of Allen Township, Warren County, State of Iowa, and to their successors forever hereafter the area of Carlisle Cemetery.
Carlisle had been laid out in 1851 by Jeremiah Church and Daniel Monroe. Mr. Church had named the town Carlisle after a town in Pennsylvania. Carlisle, Iowa, was incorporated in 1870.
Jeremiah Church had been born in Jericho, New York [now called Bainbridge] in September, 1796. He laid out the town of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. In 1845 he came to Des Moines and in 1846 he laid out the town, Dudley, Iowa. It was about two miles east of present-day Carlisle. He laid out Carlisle in 1851 and moved Dudley to it. He then left Iowa and laid out Franklin, Kansas, which failed. In later life, he returned to Carlisle. He is buried in the Carlisle Cemetery in ROW 25.
Cemetery and Death Records of Warren County, Iowa, Warren County Genealogical Society, Walsworth Publishing Company, Marceline, Missouri: 1980.
View records submitted to the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project for Carlisle Cemetery.