History: York Center Cemetery, York Twp.,
Clark Co, WI
Contact: Loyal Public Library
Pictured above: Fern and Horace VendeBerg, Viola and Earl Lawrence.
----Source: Excerpt from "The Centennial History of the York Center United Methodist Church, 1880 - 1980..
YORK CENTER CEMETERY HISTORY
The York Center Cemetery came into being in 1879 at the same time that the Fox River Land and Lumber Co. granted the community a six-acre tract to be used for a church and cemetery.
The first grave in the cemetery is dated 1881 and is the grave of Ida Mae Lawrence Turner, who was accidentally shot and killed when a young lady of twenty years.
From the time the cemetery was started until the 1940's. there was no organized care of graves there and it was a grassy, brushy tract In 1944, under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Horace VandeBerg and other interested people, a Cemetery Association was formed and a financial plan set up to pay for maintaining the cemetery. Nyle Benedict was president and Horace VandeBerg secretary-treasurer and sexton during the first years.
The Nyle Benedict family, assisted by Mrs. Rollie Benedict, were caretakers from 1954-1977 and still help some with the trimming and lighter work, while Wrs. George Bixby does most of the grass cutting.
The present officers are President, Alvin Dahl; 3ecretary-treasurer and Sexton, Nyle Benedict; Directors, Ray Hetzel, Milford Rowe and George Bixby. An annual meeting is held in March at the church.
A Tribute to Horace and Fern VandeBerg
The York Center Cemetery was established in 1879, but from the early years to 1942, this was a sorry sight behold. It was allowed to grow up to a bramble of weeds, alders and rosebushes. People laid their loved es to re st here and those who lived nearby would ne a few times a year with lawnmowers, sickle and ,the and clean up their own lots but the lots which re owned by people who lived a distance away were ally smothered in grass and weeds. Usually once a ir the men and ladies of the community would come I how, a "bee" and do as much as could be done in one day.
In 1942 a great change took place when Mr. and Mrs. Horace VandeBerg decided something just had to be done about the condition of the cemetery and at a meeting of only a few very interested people the present Cemetery Association was organized and a system of raising funds by charging a fee for lot care was put into use to raise money to do the custodial work on a regular basis. The whole neighborhood was invited to come and help to get the worst of the bramble cleaned up, and from that time it has been neatly kept.
Horace and Fern spent many hours working at and planning this work so it all would be a continuing thing and while perhaps Horace did more of the actual labor, he never ceased to give Fern credit for having this idea and putting it into being.
Back in the 1940's and early 1950's when all the mowing was done with old hand mowers, it was always Horace or Fern who were called upon to make a quick trip to town to get a repair or have some welding done on a mower, and when no one was handy to mow or do hand-trimming, they did it themselves.
As money came in, new fences were built, new gates purchased, and roads gravelled. Because of the VandeBerg's enthusiasm, many more people became interested and involved. We all should pay tribute to the memory of Horace and Fern for having the courage to start what seemed like an impossible dream and starting the work which brought the cemetery from the brambles to the neat grassy plot it is now. What a wonderful heritage they have left for their family and friends.
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