27 July 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Pioneer Cemetery

Pioneer Cemetery is the original cemetery for the Fremont area. The stone memorial in the background of the sign reads:
Pioneer Memorial Cemetery
For nineteen years, from 1860 to 1879, this sacred acre, the only cemetery in the Fremont region, formed the burial place of many of the pioneers of the area--those who hewed out homes from the wilderness and laid the foundation for the beautiful and fruitful neighborhood of today. "Priceless the heritage they gave, and we these many years, indifferent to our forbears' graves, now bring our tardy tears."
This monument, dedicated in 1960 as a permanent memorial to these pioneers both known and unknown, by Harry L. Spooner, son and grandson of pioneers.
The quote in the middle of the plaque was well deserved. After the "new" cemetery of Maple Grove was established, this cemetery which was then called the east cemetery was abandoned. Many were moved from here to Maple Grove.
When local historian Harry Spooner began his quest to restore the cemetery, he found old stones piled up in the back of the cemetery. A old fence was found amidst the ruins.
Harry did much research, contacting people far and near to learn the names of relatives buried here and to see if the remains had been transferred. A township officer went through the old records for Harry and found records of dates when Sheridan township had authorized the money for building the fence.
Finally in 1960, after having the grounds restored, this stone memorial was dedicated, thanks to Harry's diligent efforts.
Lately, one of our local citizens and lover of cemeteries, Terry Wantz, has again made the effort to keep Pioneer Cemetery beautiful. Before this past Memorial Day, Terry pushed the city to make sure it was mowed. Then he, with some family members made bunches of flowers and laid on the forgotten graves of these early citizens.
Stones have been reset. Terry watches to make sure the grass stays a respectable length.
Once again these early pioneers are honored.

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