Setting aside certain land for burial was one of the first concerns in a populated area. In the early years, families often buried relatives on their own land. Mary (Brecheisen) Rodewald wrote in her Eudora Community Heritage biography of one such burial near her parents’ early Eudora farm: “A cemetery was established to the northwest of the buildings. Not much remains. One man buried there requested that an apple tree be planted on his grave. The tree grew to be a large, shapely tree that bore much fruit. I never liked the fruit. Some Kretsingers graves were removed.”
Luise Amalie (Schulze) Rhetz (later spelled Reetz) from Neu Langsow, Prussia, also was buried in a family plot north of Fall Leaf in 1877 at age 49. She died while trying to cross the Kansas River to Eudora after a horse accidentally backed her buggy into the river. Also buried on the Luckan farm was her second husband, August Luckan from Kossenblat, Germany, who died at age 79 in 1904. Frederick Simon Reetz remembered his funeral, saying that several men held the reins from a team of horses to lower the pine box into the grave. Peter Reusch, robbed and killed, was buried, too, on family land; in his case, a mile and a half west off Hiway 1061 on the Vinland road during the 1860s.
About funerals, Olive (Everley) Nuttal wrote November 9, 1978:
“When someone died in a family many years ago, the undertaker would be called to the home. Soon a large dark wreath would be put up on the door of the house and it would remain there until after the funeral.
“The deceased was usually taken to the undertaker’s place where he was embalmed and a casket picked out by relatives. Later he would be brought back to the home or church for the funeral.
“I can remember Dad going to ‘sit up’ all night with a family if the deceased one was held overnight in a home. . . My dad used to tell this story about a colored friend, Al Harvey, and his experience ‘sitting up’ with a dead friend. Seems the man was presumed dead but had not been embalmed and was “laid out” on a cot. During the night he raised up—looked around—and said, “Give me a drink of water, Al.” The two men near the door left in a hurry. Al [who was in the room] gave the man a drink and he lived for several more years.”
The Eudora chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic also had the custom of marching from Main Street to the city cemetery to honor the dead on Memorial Day, which was called “Decoration Day” previously. Wrote the Eudora Weekly News in 1888:
“Early in the day, teams began to arrive, and by 9 o’clock a large crowd had gathered to witness the ceremonies and to participate in the same. The G.A.R. and the I.O.O.F. marched in uniform, followed by a large procession to the cemetery where the usual ceremonies were gone through with. After dinner the crowd re-gathered at the Pavillion, where they were addressed by Rev. Norris, chaplain of the Grand Lodge of the G.A.R. of the state of Kansas.”
In 1894, from the Odd Fellows hall, the GAR led a process headed by a drum corps, flower girls, Sunday School students, local Minerva Rebekah Lodgemembers, secret organizations, town citizens on foot, followed by people driving buggies and wagons. Prayer, music, and speeches capped the ceremonies. Town businesses were asked to close from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in honor of the event. In more recent years, the local Boy Scout troop puts flags on veterans’ graves, a practice that started with Glen Jackson’s Eagle Scout project.
Today the city cemeteries are overseen by the city superintendent, city clerk, and a sexton who takes care of the grounds. Adult graves have to be at least five feet deep; children’s graves must be at least four feet deep. Some Eudora residents have been buried in Lawrence cemeteries for various reasons. For example, Sophia Westerhouse and husband, Amos Westerhouse Sr., are buried in Lawrence, because in the mid-nineteenth century they didn’t think the Eudora Cemetery or Deay Cemetery where other relatives were buried had adequate upkeep, according to one of their relatives.
Some of those involved in Eudora’s death trade were Peter Hartig, a cabinetmaker, who also was a coffin dealer, around 1880. Anton Getker, a carpenter from Hanover, Germany, was the town undertaker, and listed in 1884 directories, and Joseph Herz, a furniture maker, in the 1886 Polk’s Directory. In 1890, Herz went to work for Getker who did the bulk of the trade until Johann William Schubert took over in 1903 when Getker retired.
Known as “William” or “Will,” Schubert, appeared in the 1880 U.S. Census as “John W. Shuberth” a laborer from Bavaria. He wasn’t a laborer for long, because he opened a furniture store, barber shop, and undertaking establishment in Eudora in operation for decades. Schubert first had his establishment on the southwest corner of Eighth Street and Main Street. Schubert moved his furniture and undertaking business to 715 Main Street and built onto the building. He had furniture on the south, a barber shop on the front, and undertaking in the brick addition. In 1905, he moved his family to an apartment above the business. His sons operated the business after his death in 1920. Son Carl moved the mortuary business to Lawrence in 1927, which through time became the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
The Schuberts kept a record of burials from December 11, 1904 to October 14, 1924 that can be found at the Eudora Public Library and in the OSMA room of the Lawrence Public Library under the title Schubert Mortuary Records (volumes I and II). Omitting the few records from Vinland and Linwood, but including those from Fall Leaf, Clearfield, Hesper, Prairie Center, and Weaver as well of the city of Eudora, individuals and their day of death can be found in these Schubert death records listed alphabetically.
Delaware Cemetery. A country lane runs on the north side of the Delaware Cemetery, an Indian burying ground located on an acre of land a half mile north of the Kansas River on the east side of Leavenworth County Route 1. The Retsingers deeded the land for the cemetery in the 1870s so Delaware Indians who lived in this area from 1829 to 1866-67 would have a burial place. Louie Koerner said the Indians were buried in the northeast quarter of the cemetery but did not have headstones put on their graves. A cemetery plaque at the site traces a bit of the Delaware history. It says, "We will have peace as long as the moon will rise and set on the Kaw" and:
"We honor the early settlers who came here to build homes, schools and churches and respect the government of our country. This plot of land was set aside for a burial plot and some settlers were buried in the northeast corner without a record of their names. A few Indians intermarried with the German settlers and most of the names listed here are part Delaware Indian."
Sometimes referred to in old records as the “Ziegler Cemetery,” the acre holds the graves of: Abbott, Francis; Abbott Geo. W. (1857–1933), Francis (1916-1944); Abbott, Polly (1833); Adair, Joseph; Adair, Permelia (Orender) (1843-); Bagsby, Leroy; Bagnell, Baby; Colored man, name unknown; Dulen, Rosa (1886-1925); Hicks, Amos (1821-); Koerner, Arthur L. (Mar. 1, 1895 - Feb. 13, 1967); Koerner, August; Koerner, Carl “the Chief” (Oct. 28, 1900 - Aug. 11, 1975); Koerner, Christina; Koerner, Ernest; Koerner, Henry (1866-1925); Koerner, Homer A. (Apr. 18, 1897- July 10, 1929); Koerner, Mary Sophia (Jan. 26, 1873 - Oct. 1, 1923), Henry O. (Nov. 22, 1866 - Apr. 11, 1925), Father – Mother; Mathews, Jonathan; Mathews, Martha (Adair); Mathews, Mary Ellen (Adair) (Oct. 19, 1877 – 1943); Retsinger, Clara; Retsinger, Anna (who gave the land for this Indian burying place); Retsinger, Ellen (Ziegler) (1837 – 1911); Snapp, Byron; Swisher, Henry; Swisher, Jack who could be the same as “John” W, Swisher (1859 – 1943); Swisher, Mary Ellen (infant); (Ziegler); Swisher, Samuel (1829-1869); Swisher, Tuden; Tabor, Lase; Tabor, Doc; Tornedon, Baby (son of Bertha Koerner and Adolph Tornedon); Turner, Cecil; Zeigler, Arthur James (1915); Zeigler, Barbara (1856-1866); Zeigler, Betsy (Taylor) (1812-1867); Zeigler, Charlie (1867-1945); Zeigler, Cora Ellen (1889-1902); Ziegler, Philip; and Zeigler, Logan (April 3, 1826 - Dec. 19, 1895), a blacksmith and son of a German and full-blooded Delaware woman. He had a farm across from the cemetery and is buried by his wife, Sophia (Schultz) Ziegler, (1833-1925) originally from Neu Langsow, East Prussia. The website at http://cfhahn.freeyellow.com/lenapemirror/cemeteries_containing lenape.htm listed these names and other information on the cemetery until its link became inactive in 2004. A sign at the cemetery lists only names of people thought to be buried in this cemetery.
Although the cemetery has come close to being destroyed by floods several times ― the 1951 flood washed away a few headstones from the cemetery and the surrounding fence ― it has been preserved, restored, and maintained through the efforts of Louis Koerner and his wife, Wilma (Longacre). In 1976, the Haskell Indian Institute helped the Koerners with the restoration of the cemetery, which included the hanging of a sign reading "Delaware Cemetery" over the entrance. Leavenworth County later took over responsibility of the cemetery. Additional sources: Reetz and Luckan Family History, (by Randal Reetz, November 1995); Ziegler Family History (by Virginia Ziegler, 3737 Standish Court, Indianapolis, IN 46221)
Cemeteries in Eudora
Eudora Cemetery. The first Eudora Cemetery was a half block of 10 lots in block No. 5 of Eudora at the southwest corner of the city, at Fifteenth Street and Cedar Street. Superintendents kept the cemetery records, which began in 1858, in German. These early records do not include lot numbers that began appearing in 1867.
A translation of the Eudora cemetery records shows the cemetery, also referred to as the “churchyard,” was organized in 1858. Graves for individuals over age 12 cost $3; children’s graves cost $2. The family of Paschal Fish was to be buried at no charge. All graves had to be dug five feet deep.
The first record burial in this translation was Georg Buttner buried May 28, 1858. Others buried that year were Henrich Muller (June 16); Posin Clinden (June 20); ? Burmann (September 16); Julius Bartusch (September 26); Anna Hoppenau (September 9), a child; and Amma Ramm, a child, with no burial day recorded.
The next year burials included: George Herbold (January 3), Frau Wenzikel (March 8), Frau Kormek (May 28), Christian Achning (September 4), Jane Meek (October 6), Gmies Hern, (October 7), Torsy Morse (October 9), and two Kohn children. On November 27, W. Wenzikel was buried in his mother’s grave at no charge. When the present Eudora Cemetery, which is located east of town on Seventh Street, was purchased from William Partridge on April 25, 1867 for $120, the original cemetery became a burial ground for Eudora’s black population. After the transition, records refer to the original cemetery as the “Colored Cemetery” or “Southside Cemetery.” Other names include “South” and “West” At the request of the Eudora Flower Club, Golden Agers Club and Eudora Area Historical Society, the city council changed the name of this cemetery to the Southwest City Cemetery on August 27, 1984. Buried there is James Monroe (1842-1930); Louise Monroe (died June 4, 1931, age 57 years); Carrie White (1870-1930); Allie King (died December 11, 1907, age 32 years); E.B. Lewis (1853-1930); Lulu (1882-1937); William Lee (died March 29, 1940, age 69 years); Maggie Lee (1896-1937); Callie Steele Walker (died. November 22, 1932, age 48 years); Mattie Tidwell (died Feb. 15, 1940, age 73 years); Grace Ewing (1894-1920); Bruce Ewing (1892-1918); Etta White (1888-1916); Williams Rennels (died December 11, 1938, age 64 years); Frankie Lavo (1861); Harrison Wilburn (1881-1926); Anna Davis (1851-1919); Charlene Cesles Hockworth (1918-1939); and Pleasant Hockworth (1835-1926). This information is from Margaret (Spitzli) Gabriel who copied the names from an inactive cemeteries listing in Kansas publication of the Latter Day Saints Library in Salt Lake City.
Beginning in 1869, cemetery records from 1869 to 1921 were kept in English and listed race, nationality, age, death cause, and death date, in addition to burial date and lot number. The only death recorded for 1869 in these records was for Bessie Maud Saunders who died September 10. Her body was removed from Blue Jacket Ford and buried July 5, 1870 in Lot 463. Other graves relocated included Robert Ironsides, a four-month child from Blue Mound and Catherine Pilla, a child from the original city cemetery.
Young children comprised the majority of the early burials. Listed death causes included flux, fever, brain inflammation, bowel inflammation, lung fever, croup, summer complaint, typhoid fever, and cramps. Adults typically died from a variety of causes with “old age” often cited. At times, the type of death listed, such as “softening of the brain” in Henry Grosheider’s 1893 obituary, has no modern counterpart. The most common accidental death was drowning. For example, Albert Durr, 28, drowned April 3, 1873; Mike Merz, 40, drowned July 15, 1881; and brothers Charles Hobbs, 20, and Frank Hobbs, 18, drowned Aug. 19, 1888 in the Kansas River while swimming. A trip to the river would continue to result in drownings, such as in 1966, when Jean Hadl, 15, drowned during a wading party with friends near the Eudora bridge.
Three Eudora burials in the first 40 years were attributed to murder. William Adams, shot and killed December 30, 1872, had his murderer’s name (Thomas Clark) listed. In 1896, Joseph Lamborn, 84, and Annie Williams, 12, too, were murdered.
The Eudora Cemetery on Seventh Street was originally four and one half acres. Charles Robinson, 8, was the first burial. He died May 19, 1867.Apparently, the site once had many oak trees, because in 1907, lot owners were told to remove any oak trees from their lot by the cemetery committee. The city bought three more acres in May 1956. In May 2005, The Lions Club dedicated a directory listing 1,750 names. At the northeast corner of the cemetery, the directory includes a map of the cemetery and identified military veterans.
Holy Family Catholic Cemetery. The first, or among the first, to be buried in this cemetery were Henry Seiwald, 8, and Anton Seiwald, 9, the sons of Joseph and Theckla Seiwald. They had drowned in the Kansas River by the mouth of the Wakarusa River in 1864 and were buried in a pasture west of a farm home owned by Fred Eder. After land was donated for the cemetery, their bodies were placed in graves near the entrance on the west side. Their brother, Joseph, who died that same year at age 12 also has a grave near. He had wanted to play marbles with his brothers and a black child. Because they excluded him, Joseph kicked the marbles. The black child threw a wood chip at Joseph's right temple, causing Joseph to get tetanus and die later of lockjaw, according to a history of the Seiwald family.
However, wrote Father John Bauer in Holy Family Parish, Eudora , KS (1935): The ground for the cemetery, an acre or more, was presented to the parish by Peter Hartig. It is situated two blocks east of the church. It has no Crucifixion group, merely a cross of correct proportion set in a cement base. According to interment records, the first burial in this cemetery was that of Stephan Vitt, in 1867. The location is very convenient, but two blocks from the church, and just out of town. Since 1933 the cemetery is well kept, after the Pastor succeeded to arouse the pride of the parishioners in this respect. Old timers tell me that the cemetery never did look as pretty as the past two years.” The cemetery expanded in 1961 with a purchase of Rothberger land. Additional Rothberger property on the west and their home (later demolished with other buildings except the smokehouse) at the northeast corner of Ninth Street and Birch Street was traded for another house.
Barbara Seiwald wrote March 2, 2008 : “I think it's possible that Stephan D Vitt who died 6/10/1867 could have been the first recorded death. The two Seiwald boys died in 1864, and the cemetery was not yet in existence. I think because 1864 is on the Seiwald stone, whoever compiled the history took that date literally and made the call. I don't find a written record in the church records of the Seiwald boys. I think the family just moved them from the Eder pasture at some point in time after the cemetery was donated.”
Blechel, Eder, Greiner, Grosdidier, Gufler, Hadle, Kasberger, Madle, Koch, Moll, Neustifter, Rothberger, Schehrer, Sommer, Vitt, and Zillner are but a few of the other families buried here. Barbara (Reid) Seiwald, a cemetery overseer and author of Holy Family Cemetery, Deaths 1864-2002, said church records do not list early, unbaptized, or single lot graves.
On the southwest edge of the cemetery stands a small building with a statue of St. Joseph inside. Mark Grosdidier, Brian Winkler, John Becker, Mike Becker, and Al Colman restored this former smokehouse used by the John Rothberger family for smoking hogs and converted it into a place of prayer. The structure dates to the late 1800s, according to Bill Edwards Sr., a Rothberger grandson. In the cemetery’s center area also stands a monument on the grave of George Eder, who died in 1918 while training for World War I duty.
To commemorate the grave of Louis Pfeiffer, Franz Blechel built a monument for him near the cemetery gate. Cut from a huge rock and polished by hand, the monument on its four-foot high base has a cross at the top. However the Pfeiffers left Eudora around 1870 and moved to San Francisco. Holy Family histories report he died there in 1916 and never used the grave site.
A six-foot memorial of the Holy Family commemorates Merle and Clara (Seiwald) Hartwick. The four-foot base of granite from South Dakota weighs 2,200 pounds and its statue weighs 3,900 pounds. Clara Hartwick donated the wrought iron fence in memory of her husband and self.
In 1987, Barbara Seiwald, Jay Grosdidier, Don Grosdidier, Eugene Born, and Paul Sommer started a committee to upgrade the cemetery. They used rock from the original fence for the main entry and put in a wrought-iron gate and new fencing donated by Lee Zimmerman in memory of his parents, William and Adelia, in 1990. The year before, vandals did $15,000 of damage to headstones.
Cemeteries in the Eudora area
Adams Cemetery. While in Johnson County, the Adams Cemetery may be considered in the Eudora area because it is at 14800 Evening Star Lane on the east side of woods that border Captain Creek and on a hill. The History of Captain's Creek Community by Joy Lefmann Scheunemann, writes that some Adams family members died during a smallpox epidemic, and the James Finley family gave the family permission to bury their dead on the Finley land. Now, all that remains here is a wooden fence and four stones that were stored and recently placed back. A description of the stones is as follows:
- Adams, John; d. 27 Nov 187?, Small stone J A, Date illegible on larger stone, small
- Marble stone with Weeping Willow and initials
- Adams, Joseph; d. 27 Nov 187?, Small stone Joseph A, Date illegible on large stone;
- Small marble stone with hand holding flag
Additional source: Linda Lewis posted Adams Cemetery information on the KSGENWEB Internet Genealogical Society site in 2006.
Beni-Israel Cemetery. Beni-Israel Cemetery. On September 26, 1859, Eudora City Council records state that, "since there is a Jewish community here and since this community does not have a Cemetery of their own, and since, furthermore, the Jewish religion does not allow to bury Jewish People within the fence in which Christians are interred, it is moved that the City give the Jewish Community one of the ten lots destined to be used as a cemetery." For some reason, these lots were not used for a Jewish cemetery. Ten years later, the City purchased two acres of land from Isidore Bernstein in 1869 for use as a Jewish cemetery overseen by Charles Levy, David Urbansky, and Samuel Frischman. In the fenced plot one mile west and one mile south of Eudora at E. 2100 and N. 1300 Road, the first grave (1858) is apparently that of Isaac Cohn, the son of Asher Cohn, who came to Eudora in 1854 in a covered wagon and his wife, Sarah, who came by steamboat from St. Louis with a baby. Rachel (Cohn) Passon made a list of graves in the cemetery and also maintained her brother, Isaac [Yitzhak], was the first burial. However, a 1940 handwritten list at Spencer Library also says Emma Levy, infant daughter of Charles Levy, was buried there in 1870. After A. Rafflelock, a child, was buried here in 1928, the cemetery didn't have any burials until 1980. The B'nai B'rith organization restored the Beni Israel, Hebrew for "Cemetery of the Children of Israel," in 1952, and the Lawrence Jewish Community Center has been the legal owner since 1978. In 1979, Carroll Gerstenberger, whose land the cemetery is next to, agreed to give the Lawrence Jewish Community Center an additional 1 ½ acres that were part of the original plot. In a Lawrence Journal World June 17, 1979 article, David Katzman, a history professor at Kansas University, said: "I'm rather puzzled that it was so far out of town. That was a rather long trip." Readable stones, some in Hebrew, include: Walter Herzfeld (1895-1980), Emmy Herzfeld (1899-1983), Ludwig Fischbein (1896-1981), Aaron Edwards (1904-1906), Aaron Urbansky (1839-1904), Ben Urbansky (1866-1926), Jennie Urbansky (1866-1926), David Urbansky (1814-1874), Emma Urbansky (1844-1887), Sarah Urbansky (died 1888 at 87 years), August Stiefel (1844-1887), Mitchel Frishman (1865-1915), Abraham Leib (died 1866), Fritz Stiefel (1874-1875), Isaac Cohn (died 1858), William Cohn (1862-1915), Asher Cohen (1828-1890), Sarah Cohen (1832-1912), Elmer Matzenstein (1866-1867), Emma Levy (1870-1870), Cohen Katzenstein (1838-1867), and Samuel Frischman (1838-1872). Some recent graves in the cemetery are of residents from Lawrence such as David Paretsky, a microbiologist, and his wife, Mary, a Lawrence librarian. Some markers have been replaced and several feature Hebrew lettering. Forty trees were planted in the cemetery in 1898. In 2005, the Lawrence Jewish Community Center raised more than $40,000 for improvements such as such as running water for native prairie grass and new trees. Water will allow the planting of native Kansas trees. The water also is for a pump near the entrance for ritual hand-washing when leaving the cemetery. A driveway that forms a circular square also was added. In the cemetery's southeast section also is genizah, a storage area for worn Jewish publications. Sources: Heart of America Jewish Historical Society (9648 Walmer Lane, Overland Park, KS); American Jewish Archives (3101 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45220); January 21, 2000 Oread (Paretsky burials); "Jewish Heritage Council Seeks to Identify Extant Synagogues and Cemeteries" (Kansas Preservation, pgs. 4,5); Eudora News (April, 1898), Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County Kansas; and Old Jewish Cemetery in Eudora Gets Attention (Associated Press, May 31, 2010).
Clearfield Cemetery. Clearfield Cemetery east across the street from the Clearfield Church is eight miles south of Eudora. Originally on the southwest corner of the Rodewald farm, the land was deeded to the Evangelical Association and its successors in 1880 with the provision that each member of the church could have a plot free of charge.
Before the official designation of this land for a cemetery, the George Meeder family had two young sons, 8 and 10 years old, who died of diphtheria in 1871. A Rodewald built their coffins, and they were buried on the southwest corner of his farm where the cemetery would later be. The next internment was Ludwig Schendel, followed by Peter Brecheisen, and Moses Dissinger, a minister of the Evangelical Church. Mrs. Walter Rodewald sold the cemetery another half acre in the 1960s. Source: Mary Rodewald 1976 interview by Lauretta Trabant; Clearfield History, 1859-1976 and its 1980 and 1998 updates; and Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County Kansas
Deay Cemetery. Francis Deay in 1859 deeded the land for Deay Cemetery six miles south and one mile east of Eudora on the southwest corner. Catherine (Mock) Deay (born March 24, 1809 in Bourbon County, Kentucky and died Christmas Eve in 1859), the wife of George Reuben Deay, was the first to be buried here. In the 1960s, one-half acre more was added as the cemetery was full. Many families such as the Vitts, Reuschs, Joys, and Edlers, in addition to the Deays, have been buried here.
A caretaker’s building was torn down in the mid 1970s, and in 1976, a marker installed in the northeast corner of the plat. Caretakers of the cemetery have included Clyde Deay, George Deay, Rollie Deay, James Day, Robert Gabriel, Alice Rockhold, Ed Milburn, and others. Source: My Deay and Mock Ancestors at http://members.aol.com/rwa5352802/deay; and Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County Kansas. (See a listing of people buried here in Deay Cemetery Tombstones.)
Hesper Friends Cemetery. Jonathan and Phebe Mendenhall donated six and one-half acres three miles south and one and one-half mile east of downtown Eudora for a cemetery. The earliest graves here, according to the Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County Kansas, are S.A.D. 1862, and those of Elonzo Toothman, Eliza Gurley, and Eliza Park in 1863. Annie (Rogers) Stanley, a grand-daughter of the Mendenhalls, in 1927, started a cemetery endowment fund for cemetery upkeep. Various contributions, including substantial gifts from Charles Hill, a former resident living in Chicago, Illinois, have kept up the cemetery now overseen by the Society of Friends. Source: “Hesper History: 1857-1976 (by Violet (Gerstenberger) Fleming). Also see James Coble's letter about the White family and Hesper Cemetery Tombstones.
Pleasant Valley Cemetery. This long-ago and almost forgotten (by many) burial plot located five miles south, three east, and one and one-half south on the east side of the road, extends into Johnson County and is near the former Pleasant Valley school house. At one time, it held an estimated 25 tombstones, including those belonging to the Westerhouse, Knabe and Lefmann families. Amos Westerhouse and his descendants have helped clean it. Source: Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County Kansas
Prairie Center Cemetery. From an essay on the World Family Tree in the Genealogy of Hugh and Marian (Yancy) Zorger probably written by Omar I. Oshel:“Originally called the Hale Cemetery after the Hale family who gave two acres, the Prairie Cemetery started in or before the 1860s, because one burial, according to one of the gravestones, was Joseph Hale in 1862. According to Omar Oshel, who wrote a family history in the early 1960s, the Hales, Joys, and Oshels all came from the same area in Ohio before 1863. James Oshel and Michael Hale married sisters; two of Michael Hale's sons, Thomas T. and Joseph H. married two of Wilson Oshel's daughters Sarah Ann and Harriette; Lillian Oshel, a daughter of Peter M. Oshel, two of Michael's nephews, Alfred Chalmer Hale and Willard Hale who were first cousins; and Frances E. Hale, a daughter of Michael married David Weisinger, a brother of Mary (Weisinger) Joy.
“The cemetery is not far over the line in the county east of Hesper community across Captain’s Creek about a half mile south on the right hand side of the road. At first, the cemetery had one entrance, which was at the southeast corner of the cemetery. An iron pipe through posts on the south side was a hitching post for horses. To the north was a fence with a small gate entrance.
“Early cemetery officials were Benton Scott, O.C. Camp and Charles Hoyt. Board members in 1976 were Lloyd Andrews, Leonard Finley, Chester Richardson, Glen Schulz, and Jim Neal.
“Benton Scott asked John and Hannah Garrett in 1911 to give another acre to extend the cemetery west. They did, said granddaughters Catherine Garrett Cox and Myrtle Garrett Howard.
“In the early 1930s, Prairie Center was made a benefit district with a mill levy for maintenance of Prairie Center and Lexington Cemetery. Before that the cemetery board would notify lot owners to clean and mow their lots.
“The first board members after the tax passed were Ray Paxton, Edwin L. Rice and Frank Finley. Bert Moon was hired to keep the cemetery clean and weeds mowed. A woven fence was installed to enclose the grounds. A center drive was opened to the road leading to the south and later a north road opened.
“When the Sunflower Ordnance Works bought the land around the area, including Prairie Center in 1942, the road to the south became part of the plant area and was abandoned.
Copyright 2017. Cindy Higgins. (2005). Where the Wakarusa Meets the Kaw: A History of Eudora, Kansas. Eudora, KS: Author.