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Cemeteries are an integral part of any community. The name of Cemetery was applied by the early Christians to the places set apart for the burial of their dead. They were generally extramural and not connected with churches, interment in churchyards being unknown in the first century of the Christian era. Since modem times Cemeteries are known as private, public and church enterprises.

Church cemeteries in some rural areas are near the churches and are managed by the board of church trustees and the pastor of the church. In larger places a special cemetery board is elected or appointed to that position. Other private cemeteries are incorporated and stock sold to the members. The public cemetery is open to all and the expenses for its maintenance are paid by taxes. Platte County has established cemeteries representative of each of the above classifications.

The burial customs in use today had their beginnings in antiquity. The early pagan nations, as illustrated in the pre-Christian era, burned the bodies of their dead. Although the Greeks used this primitive method of cremation, exceptions to the custom were found in the nation of Egypt and China, and among the Hebrews.

On the advent of Christianity, cremation was discontinued both out of respect for the body, and on account of the Doctrine of Resurrection. In modern times it has been used to some extent.

The ancient Egyptians; who believed in an after life, buried their great personages with special ceremonies for the preparation of the grave and the burial services.

As death marked the last great event in a man's life and all of the other great events were duly celebrated, it was considered a time for feasting among his friends. Both the wake, which has gone out of vogue in most of the mid-western communities, today, on account of modern transportation facilities, and the formal calls at the home of the deceased, were outgrowths of this custom.

The markings of the graves and the ornamental sculpturing of tombstones and monuments were also of Greek origin. The making of wreaths from paper or real flowers, and the presenting of them to the churches as a memorial of honor to the dead, was the beginning of the modern custom of sending bouquets and sprays of flowers on the occasion of the death of a friend or relative.

Cemeteries all over the world have been made famous by the burial within their grounds of noted personages, among whom were poets, musicians, clergymen, statesmen and soldiers. Platte County men who died while in the service of their country have been buried both in the European and Pacific areas. These honored dead served in the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II.

The first person who died in Columbus was John Morris Becker, known as "Fred," the brother of John Peter Becker, one of the founders of the town-. "Fred" joined his brother, John Peter, in October, 1856, and died here on May 31, 1857. The two brothers were working west of Columbus when "Fred" suddenly became ill. He was unconscious by the time they reached town. Doctor C. B. Stillman was summoned at once, but "Fred" died before the doctor arrived.

John Peter fashioned a casket for him from a wagon box, and the little group of settlers buried him at the foot of the bluffs north of Columbus. As soon as the Columbus Cemetery was laid out, his body was removed to the Becker lot.

The following are excerpts concerning cemeteries in Columbus and Platte County:

Excerpt from an old paper, dated June 8, 1870: A lonely grave marked Adam Denck, November 30, 1860, was found on the bleak prairie near the Old Emigrant Trail to California.

On further observation the reporter noted twenty-one graves in all. This Burial Ground was a quarter of a mile southeast of the residence of George N. Brown.



From the History of the State of Nebraska, 1882, Andreas

"The Columbus Cemetery Association was organized and incorporated on February 2, 1865. The charter members were: John Rickly, Jacob Ernst, Michael Weaver, Vincent Kummer, F. G. Becher, J. C. Wolfel, Doctor C. B. Stillman, H. J. Hudson, John Browner, C. A. Speice, John P. Becker, and G. W. Stevens. The association bought eight acres east of the town and arranged their grounds. After that time, they made additions until their grounds in 1882 covered fifteen acres. The cemetery was fenced and kept in a constant state of repair, by men specifically employed for that purpose. The 1882 officers were: John Rickly, president; Charles A. Speice, secretary; John Stauffer, treasurer; H. J. Hudson and James E. North, Executive Committee." -

There were several meetings prior to the actual date of incorporation of the Columbus Cemetery Association, but the incorporation papers were filed on the second,


of February, in 1865. There are records of meetings in December of 1864, (the first was on December 8) but these were merely the beginnings of the incorporation of the association.

The incorporation of the Columbus Cemetery Association provided for the procurement of land (about eight or ten acres) for the burial of the dead. The sale of the lots was left to the discretion of the board of directors. The signers of the incorporation papers were:

John Rickly, who came to Columbus in 1856; John Browner, 1856; John P. Becker, 1856; Vincent Kummer, 1856; J. C. Wolfel, 1856; Michael Weaver, 1857; Jacob Ernst, 1857; F. G. Becher, 1857; Doctor C. B. Stiliman, 1857; G. W. Stevens, the late 1850's; C. A. Speice, 1858; and H. J. Hudson, who came to Columbus in 1863. He had previously lived at Genoa from 1857.

J. M. Becker, an uncle of A. D. Becker, of Columbus, was the first burial there. He died in May, 1857.

Excerpts from The Columbus Journal

April 18, 1877

"Judge Higgins donated two hundred ash trees to the Cemetery Association; Jacob Ernst furnished a load of cedars; teams were sent out yesterday for two hundred box-elders. The outside is to be alternate ash and cottonwood, the inside ash and box-elder, kept low; for the lots, cedar and weeping trees."

April 25, 1877:

"The drives and walks in the Columbus Cemetery have been bordered by planting out shade and ornamental trees. Within the past year, the grounds have been greatly improved and beautified. The managers of the cemetery and citizens deserve great credit for their efforts in putting out trees."

January 23, 1880:

"Last Friday, the Columbus Cemetery Association elected the following officers: President, John Rickly; Secretary, Charles A. Speice; Treasurer, John Stauffer; Sexton, Charles Brindley."


In the early 1930's, the Pioneer Columbus Cemetery was taken over by the City of Columbus. During the time that James L. Rich was City Clerk, the cemetery records were installed in the clerk's office. Since then, all business concerning the cemetery is handled by the City Clerk.

The city spent several thousand dollars around 1939

in remodeling and beautifying the Columbus Cemetery.


An excerpt from The Columbus Telegram

September 26, 1930:

Reverend Father Eugene in an attempt to compile information concerning cemeteries in Columbus, came to the conclusion that the first Columbus cemetery was on a hill several miles northeast of town. A number of California travelers, as well as early settlers of this community, were said to have been laid to rest there.

The Columbus cemetery was opened about 1864. The Reverend Father Eugene believed that Joseph McFadden was the first person interred there.


Avenue of Trees, St. Bonaventure's Cemetery.

He concluded that other Catholics must have been buried there, too, until Father Ryan acquired ten acres for a parish cemetery, by a donation from Michael Welsh, in 1874. At the end of the 1870's, there were a number of graves near where the St. Mary's Hospital is located. Father Ryan's cemetery was located just north of the Loup River, several miles west of Columbus, the deed showing it to have been the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 2, township 17, range 1 west.

The present Catholic cemetery was established around 1877, and the bodies in Father Ryan's cemetery were moved there in 1925, when Father Charles Schleuther arranged for their transfer and sold the ten-acre tract.

The list of names of persons whose remains were removed from Father Ryan's cemetery to St. Bonaventure's, or elsewhere, together with the dates of their death, as given in St. Bonaventure's parish records, included the following: Adam Smith, August 17, 1864; Peter Smith, 1867; Michael Kelly, 1875; Thomas Welch, 1876; Rudolph and Mary Kornbrink, 1876; William and Mary Lamb, 1876; James Haney, 1876; John Welch, 1880; and John Regan, 1881.


St. Bonaventure's Catholic Cemetery is located in Columbus, Nebraska, on Twelfth Avenue, south of Fifteenth Street. It was founded in 1877 by the Franciscan Monks for the burial of the Catholics of the community.

In the early days, it was the custom of the lot owners to care for their graves. In later years, the cemetery sexton dug the graves and cared for the lots. He was paid for his services by the lot owners, consequently only certain of the graves were given care.

Sixty years after the cemetery was established, it was


The History of Platte County Nebraska

completely reconstructed and landscaped and an endowment plan set up. This work was made possible through the generous gifts of Mrs. Albert H. Gehner, which totaled eight thousand dollars and covered the entire cost of the work on the original cemetery as well as landscaping and installation of the water system in the new section of the grounds.


From the files of the Platte County Court House.

"The name of the corporation shall be Roselawn Memorial Park, Incorporated," and the principal place of business shall be Columbus, Nebraska.

The general nature of the business shall be the operation, ownership, and maintenance of cemeteries.


St. Bonaventure's Cemetery.

The Columbus Daily Telegram, in April, 1937, read in part:

"Plans for the improvement of St. Bonaventure's Cemetery were discussed at a meeting of the cemetery lot owners with the cemetery board and the Reverend Athanase Steck, pastor of St. Bonaventure's Church. The cost was covered by a sizable gift."

The work of beautifying and landscaping the original cemetery was done under the supervision of Henry P. McCarthy, of the McCarthy Monument Company of St. Louis, Missouri, a specialist in landscape work, noted for his rejuvenation of old cemeteries.

In the reconstruction work the eastern half of the cemetery was built up with hundreds of truckloads of soil. A great many monuments were straightened and new foundations put under them. A new water system was installed together with new hose to reach to all parts of the cemetery. At that time, cemetery equipment and the best lawnmowers obtainable were purchased for the use of the sexton. The cemetery was landscaped and trees and shrubbery were planted throughout the grounds while the walks were completely graveled.

Because of their quality, a great many of the crumbling copings were removed and other improvements included the installation of new, painted fences and cleaning of memorial stones.

The north section of the cemetery was opened about 1940. The surveying and landscaping on this new part was done under the supervision of William H. Neumarker, landscape engineer.


Up until 1935, the Columbus Cemetery was the principal city cemetery, with the exception of the individual church cemeteries. In April, 1935, the Roselawn Memorial Park was organized.


St. Bonaventure's Cemetery.

The capital stock of the corporation shall be twenty-five thousand dollars, divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.

The term of the corporation shall be for a period of nine hundred and ninety-nine years, beginning with the filing date of the incorporation papers. Dated: April 15, 1935

Filed for record: April 18, 1935.

SpacerGeorge S. Reeder
H. G. Hunter
Frances Besch



"The name of this association is the Roselawn and Perpetual Care Association, and the principal place of business shall be in Columbus, Nebraska.

The nature of the business provided perpetual care for the Roselawn Memorial Park." Dated: October 22, 1943. Signed:

Filed for record: October 29, 1943

J. H. Moeller
George A. Doll
G. H. Gray
W. J. Casey
E. J. Jelden



In need of a suitable burial ground in their vicinity, the following men were trustees for the Calvary Cemetery Association. This was filed and recorded the third of December, 1870.

John Held
Carl Reinke
Henry Lusche



Due to a debt of $56.85, lots were sold and the following of the association agreed to the resolution:

Henry Lusche, president G. Loseke
John Held, secretary J. H. Groteluschen
Carl Reinke, treasurer John Brock
John Wurdeman Henry Rickert
Henry Loseke, Sr. Michael Erb
Hermann Loseke John D. Dicke
Hermann Wilken William Wetterer
John Groteluschen August Runge
B. Ahrens Josephine Lannin
William Schreiber John H. Loseke
H. Schutte H. Johannes

The Calvary Cemetery was organized by the Missouri Lutheran Synod.

The following are cemeteries organized and located at other districts in Platte County:



A meeting was held in the post office at Jackson Station on October 20, 1875, to form the Jackson Cemetery Association. A board of trustees was elected. Those of the hoard were: R. A. Taylor, Peter J. Marty, John Straper, Christ Meedel, Louis E. Huehne, and R. G. Carter. The Association was to procure a suitable tract of land, approximately ten acres, to be used as a burial place.

Filed for record November 12, 1875.



A meeting of residents of Monroe Precinct and vicinity was held at the home of George S. Truman to form a Cemetery Association. A suitable tract of land, not more than twenty acres and not less than fifteen acres, was to be purchased by the trustees of this association.

The meeting was held February 17, 18 Those signing the articles of association were: Joseph Webster, George S. Truman, William B. Coffin, Albert Rose, Leonard J. Meyer, Mils Miller, Jacob Z. Shotwell, Jonas Meadman, Peter Ceder, Lafayette Anderson, Barclay Jones, S. Heson, Frederick Peterson, and Mercy K. Hooper.

Filed for record March 23, 1877.


The Genoa Monthly Meetings of Friends was formed on May 26, 1877, as a branch of the Prairie Grove Quarterly Meetings. The widely scattered members were at too great of distance from one another.

This was signed by George S. Truman, J. Z. Shotwell, William B. Coffin, Barclay Jones, Mercy K. Hooper, Susan Y. L. Truman, Nettie K. Truman, Joseph L. Truman.

Filed for record May 31, 1877.


At a meeting held October 30, 1915, of the Genoa Cemetery Association, Article I was amended to read as follows:

ARTICLE I. "The name of this association shall be "Friends Cemetery Association," of Platte County, Nebraska.

Those present were: John Kelly, William J; Welsh, Reynold Widdle, Isaiah Lightner, and Esther L. Matson.

Filed for record November 2, 1915.


At a meeting held at School District 38, on February 15, 1881, the Granville Cemetery Association was formed. It was to be situated in a suitable tract of land consisting of one acre situated in the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 28, in township 20, range 2, west of the sixth principal meridian.

Members of incorporation were: Z. McAlpine, S. B. Morgan, J. W. Young, P. L. Baker, L. C. Wiry, J. W. Sloan, W. N. Cosby, T. M. Oliver, A. N. Potter, W. L. Sibley, and F. W. Tait.

Filed for record May 5, 1881.



At a meeting held on January 14, 1882, at the Monroe Congregational Church, the New Hope Cemetery

Association was formed. A tract of land containing two acres situated in the southwest corner of the east half of the southwest quarter of section ten in township 18, north of range 3, west of the sixth principal meridian in Platte County was to be laid out in burial lots.

Signers were: Ezra Fellers, J. C. Hurley, James Murray, Robert B. Wiley, Herbert M. Thurston, and E. B. Hall.

Filed for record January 20, 1882.


From the Platte County Court House files of incorporation.

The nature of the business was to provide and maintain a burial place. Business was to be transacted in the school house, of District 19, Platte County. Incorporators were: A. N. Morgan, Henry Van Blaricom, Y. Van Blaricom, Robert Harper, and C. O. Moore.

Filed for record October 15, 1884.

by: George S. Truman, J. Z. Shot-


The object of this association was to acquire land for cemetery purposes, not to exceed six acres, and to lay

The History of Platte County Nebraska

off this land in burial lots, and to fence and ornament the same.

This was signed by:

C. J. Snyder George Larkee
William J. Wynand Robert Holding
Thomas Holding E. M. Squire
John Lymath Edward Lymath
Levi Freeman William Mencise
J. W. Primmer James Martin
George A. Whitaker William T. Searles

Filed for record October 31, 1889.



From the files of incorporation of Platte County Court House.

A meeting was held in the Palestine School House on April 9, 1891, for the purpose of incorporating a public cemetery. W. F. Hanchett, John Berlin, and P. J. Jones were present. The cemetery consisted of two and a half acres in square form in the northwest corner of the southeast quarter of section 30, range 3, west in Joliet Township.

Filed for record April 15, 1891.


At a meeting of the Union Cemetery Association held June 17, 1904, John James, Albert Stenzel, and Charles N. B. Anderson were elected trustees. John Cherry was elected treasurer, and Nels C. Nelson was elected clerk.

Filed for record August 25, 1904.


A meeting was held in the office of R. P. Drake on January 27, 5898, to form this association. The following were elected to the board of trustees: G. W. Clark, W. H. Illian, and John Bunker. R. P. Drake was clerk.

The following persons were organizers: E. A. Stockslager, K. E. Bay, W. H. Illian, C. A. Schroeder, John Bunker, G. W. Clark, R. P. Drake, James Meyers, and T. D. Robison.

Filed for record February 8, 1898.


The following persons met at Lost Creek, Nebraska, to form the Greenwood Cemetery Association: P. Gertsch, L. Enzmenger, M. Bloedorn, G. H. Johannes, A. Peterson, C. Peterson, W. Arndt, Charles Mortens, P. T. Ketelson, W. Weber, A. Smith, F. Tessendorf, Cohs Glens, Herman Schark, Morris Fiedler, and Jacob Waldman.

The meeting was held December 10, 1896.

Andreas Peterson was elected chairman and Paul Gertsch was elected secretary. A. Peterson, Lorenz Enzmenger, and Paul Gertsch were elected as trustees. Filed for record September 7, 1899


"Minutes of meetings held at Creston Pioneer Cemetery on February 18, 1918, for the purpose of forming a cemetery association, at which there were present more than five persons, residents of Platte County.

The Association is to be called The Creston Pioneer Cemetery Association of Creston, Nebraska.'

The purpose is to purchase a tract of land to be used for cemetery purposes. This association shall take over and accept a conveyance of the present cemetery property known as the Creston Cemetery, and each owner of a lot or part of a lot in said cemetery shall be a member and authorized to vote as such at any meeting of this association.

Herman Hillen was elected president of the association; James Larsen, vice-president; Niels Olson, clerk; and Albert Iverson, treasurer. The fifth person present was Fritz Hillen."

Filed for record February 25, 1918.



"A meeting of the Bethany Lutheran Church of Lindsay was held on January 8, 1934, for the purpose of organizing an association to have a cemetery in conjunction with the church. The meeting was held in the Bethany Lutheran Church at Lindsay.

The members present at the meeting were:

Mrs. Andrew Christensen Berndt Olson
J. E. Hauge Herman Christensen
Emanuel Rassmussen John Peterson
Nels Hansen Andrew Hansen
George Christensen Andrew Peterson
R. W. Christensen

They were all owners of lots or residents of Platte County.

Reverend Anderson was elected chairman and Emil Hauge was elected secretary. The trustees elected were: Marius Nelson and Berndt Olson, for one year; R. W. Christensen and Emil Hauge for two years; E. R. Rassmussen and Herman Christensen were elected for three years.

The signers were:

Emanuel Rassmussen, chairman
Berndt Olson, clerk."

Filed for record January 8, 1934.


St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery occupies ground in Shell Creek Township near the former site of the old St. Patrick's church.

The eight acres of land comprised in this plot were donated to the Catholic parish by P. Gleason and Mary Lynch Cleary. The deed for the land is recorded 1D Book "F" on page twenty-three, in the Registrar of Deeds office in the Platte County Court House.



The Holy Family Catholic Cemetery is located near Lindsay, Nebraska.

The land for this cemetery was donated by George Hauck and Mrs. Mogan, each of whom donated one acre.

The first burial recorded in the cemetery was that of Mrs. Thresa Warth, on June 9, 1901.


St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Cemetery is located near St. Mary's Church, in Grand Prairie Township. Approximately one fifth of the ten acres of church land was fenced in for a cemetery.

It was divided crossways into one walk east and west and another walk north and south. In the middle of this plot of ground, a large eighteen-foot cross was erected.

Each of the four divisions of the cemetery was divided into sixty family burial lots. One section on the east side had single graves.

Before 1877, burials were made in the church yard. Those buried there included: L. T. Carney, Mrs. Schneider Mrs. Rollmann, Mrs. Weinberger, and a child of Stephen Van Doren.


St. Bernard Cemetery is located in St. Bernard Township and belongs to the St. Bernard Catholic Parish. It comprises twelve acres and was a gift of Bernard Schroeder. The deed for the land bears the date October 6, 188o.

The original road to the cemetery was one half mile in length and twenty feet wide. The deed for this land was dated September, 1901.

Later, a piece of land ten by nineteen hundred twenty-two feet in size was bought from M. Backus, and John and Frances Pinger, and added to the grounds.


St. Anthony's Catholic Cemetery is located in Burrows Township and belongs to St. Anthony's parish.

In the early days, before there were undertakers in the county, the bodies of the dead were wrapped in winding sheets and buried in crude coffins by the pioneers. This was true of St. Anthony's as well as other early cemeteries.


St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery is located near St. Michael's Church in Tarnov, Nebraska.

An object of great interest in this cemetery is the Crucifixion Group, by Kaletta Brothers, sculptors of St. Louis. It was erected as a memorial to John Jaworski.

All of the Catholic parishes in Platte County, both rural and town, and all of the Lutheran rural parishes maintain their own cemeteries.

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