One of my favorite genealogy websites, has a set of prompts that genealogy bloggers can use to put an article together for their blogs when inspiration is lagging. Some are fun, some serious, but some I like well enough to make them a regular fixture on this website. So here we go!
Tales the Tombstones Tell
The Fancy Creek cemetery was featured in this article in the Richland County Observer. Part II was dated “Thursday, January 10, 1957.”
The Fancy Creek Cemetery
This article telling of the Fancy Creek cemetery will, owing to the length, be in two chapters so to speak. This cemetery is an old one; it adjoins the Fancy Creek Church, I the town of Marshall.
According to the county history the Fancy Creek cemetery, which is connected with the Presbyterian church that stands in the burying ground, was laid out during the Civil War by Rev. J.H. Mathers and the first burial therein was in 1862, when a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Smith was laid to rest. Burials have continued from that day and will continue on through the years that are ahead. The cemetery is one of the well-kept ones in the county. James Clarson, Richland Center, is the present caretaker and he keeps the 94 year old graveyard trim and neat.
Many of the early settlers of Fancy Creek and that area have found rest and peace in the shadow of the church house. In fact, some of the earliest settlers are there surrounded by their sons, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
This graveyard has many, many, old monuments and also many, many of the newer ones. A number of the older people to be buried there were natives of Scotland, sailed the ocean, took up their homes in Ohio, Columbiana county being a favorite, and from there came west to Richland County, Wisconsin, where they spent the remainder of their days and now are counted as inhabitants of the city of the dead, far, far away from their native land.
One of the earliest settlers of what is now the town of Marshall, was Joseph Marshall, from whom the township took its name. He was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, March 25, 1820. In April, 1851, he was married to Margaret McCannon and the next day they started west to seek a home and their journey ended on Fancy Creek, where they took up a claim and settled down. Mr. Marshall served in the Civil War. Mrs. Marshall died in the fall of 1865, leaving five children. His second wife was Nettie Starett, to whom he was married in 1867.
Another of the early settlers was George L. Marshall, also a native of Columbiana County, Ohio, where he was born October 28, 1839. At the age of 13, he came west with his mother Maria Marshall, then a widow, and they took up with their home in Marshall township. With her was another son, Simon, who died July 17, 1855, his death being the first or one of the first to take place in the township. Mrs. Marshall and her son Simon are buried in the Copenhefer Cemetery on Section 9 in Marshall. Mrs. Marshall, mother of George L., died on December 25, 1855 at the age of 55. In a write up of the Copenhefer cemetery, printed in this paper some time ago, more is told of her and her son, Simon.
A double marker for William and Elizabeth Calhoon, is near the west fence of the cemetery. It contains nothing else but the two names.
A stone for Mary Blazer has this upon it:
“In sure and certain hope to rise,
And claim her mansion in the skies.
A Christian here, her flesh laid down,
The Cross, exchanged it for a crown
Upon the monuments there appear the names of the pioneers such as Truesdale, Robbins, Stayton, Coulter, Patch, Repsummer, Deckert, Berkshire, Armstrong, Johnston, Austin, Ferguson, Herrington, Brown, Doudna, Clark, Warren, Schoonover and many others.
Winnie Armstrong, whose death took place in August, 1896, when she was 19 years old, has this upon her tombstone:
“At the crystal water’s brink
We shall find each broken link,
Some sweet day by and by
Then the star that faded here,
Left our home and hearts so dear,
Some sweet day by and by.”
John and Jane Fogo, who came from Ohio in 1853, bringing with them a large family of young children settled on Fancy Creek. They were the writer’s grandparents. Both of these pioneers were born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. John on September 20, 1799. His death took place on Friday, September 1, 1876. He was a very religious man, a straight-laced Presbyterian of the old school who would not allow his children to whistle, whittle, let alone work on the Sabbath. No cooking was done in the home on a Sunday; meals being prepared the day previous, and eaten cold. On his tombstone it says:
“The habitation of Thy house, Lord; I have loved Thee well; Yea in that place I delight, where doth Thee now dwell.”
His good wife, Jane or Jean, as my father called her, lived on the old home farm until her death on August 7, 1881. The farm is now owned by Mrs. Etta Austin, a granddaughter of this pioneer couple. John and Jane Fogo were buried in the Fancy Creek cemetery.
Tales the Tombstones Tell
The Fancy Creek Cemetery
Charles and Nancy Stuart are two early settlers buried here. He was born in 1820 and died in 1877, his wife was born in 1826, and passed on in 1904. It says upon their monument that they were natives of Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
A haunting verse of sadness is reflected upon the monument for Emma and Florence Ewing, children of Mr. And Mrs. W.F. Ewing. Florence was one year of age and Emma was three. Their deaths came in 1882 just a few days apart; Florence passing away on July 29th, and Emma on August 7th. The verse upon their gravestone reads:
“Two pilgrims to the Holy land
Have left our lonely door
Two sinless angels hand in hand Have reached the promised shore.”
Joseph Benton Sr. and his wife, whose maiden name was Janet Davidson, were natives of Scotland. He was born April 20, 1803, and his wife in 1806. Coming to America in 1834 they settled in Ohio where they remained until 1854, when they came to Richland county where he died July 14, 1880, and his wife passed on December 14, 1888, at the age of 83. On her monument it says: “From the Resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
A son Joseph Benton Jr. was born in Elgenshire, Scotland, in November 1826; coming to America with his parents when he was eight years old. He first came to Richland County in 1852, but returned to Ohio where he married Jane Russell. They came to Marshall Township in 1855. The closing days of their life were spent in Richland Center.
Many Civil War veterans are buried in this cemetery. One of them, W.O. Allison, then a resident of Ohio, enlisted in 1861 at the first call for troops. When his time of service expired he re-enlisted and served until the close of the war, taking part in many battles. He was not sick a day; went through all the battles without a scratch and was mustered out in 1865. On his way home in a railway accident he received a broken leg which laid him up for several months.
He came to Richland County soon after the close of the Civil War. Others serving in the Civil War included George Marshall, W.M. Milner, Thomas Armstrong, Daniel Noble, J.L. Ferguson, Phillip Smith, Henry Campbell, Isaac Doudna, Thomas Doudna, John Gillingham, John Hunter, Sam Culley, James McNelly, John M. Doudna, Lyman Hart, Albert Hunter, Olney Hoskins, George Fogo, Wm. S. Noble. There are others, some 40, who sleep away the years in this cemetery.
There are monuments in this cemetery for boys in blue who never came back to home and loved ones. These were Ben S. Doudna, killed at the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, December 8, 1862; Ben Queen, died of disease at Mobile, Alabama, on September 2, 1865. Richard Caddell is another of the boys in blue to be killed in battle. On his tombstone in the Fancy Creek cemetery it gives the date of his death as April 8, 1865, and states that he was killed at Ft. Blakely, Alabama. He enlisted in 1861, served three years, re-enlisted and met his death as above stated. He was the father of Jess M. Caddell, longtime member and chairman of the county board.
Besides the Civil War veterans several World War soldiers are in this graveyard. Kenneth B. Austin is a World War II soldier; he died August 21, 1949; Earle Rinehart, World War I, passed away January 11, 1954; Vivian Gillingham Navy World War I, died on March 2, 1952; Donald Turnipseed, World War II, died October 30, 1952; another World War soldier is James T. Gillingham, who died in 1952. There may have been one or two others whom we missed as we checked over the markers.
So many of the stones are silent memorials for the early settlers; Doudna, Hart, Truesdale, Herrington, Noble, Janney, Allen, Minett, Poole, Withrow, Marks.
A monument for John and Alex Smith and one for Archibald Wanless and members of his family are there along with one for Angus Smith.
John Truesdale was one of the early comers to Marshall. He came in 1852 but did not remain for long but returned to Ohio. It was not until 1863 that he settled on his land. On the marker for Joseph Householder it says he was born in Virginia in August, 1820, and came to Wisconsin in 1854. Is wife who was Martha McElroy was born in Ohio in 1834 and died in 1911 at the age of 71 years. He died in 1905 at the age of 85.
Joseph Marshall is claimed by some to be the first settle in the town. He and his wife came in 1851 just after they were married, sort of a honeymoon so to speak. She died in 1865, leaving five children. Mr. Marshall died in 1866 at the age of 66. He was a Civil War veteran.
There is a marker, in fact two of them, on the same lot not far from the grave of Joseph Marshall. They are a bit weather beaten. One stone is in French and it is engraved as follows:
De Louis Mussaw
Le 27 August 1865
Agee De 34, 12 Tours”
Not being able to read French we had to have the inscription read by one who stated he knew a bit of French and translated it as follows. “Sophonie, beloved wife of Louis Mousaw, died 27 of August 1865, aged 34 years and 12 days.” There were some lines in French below the above but they were so weather worn they could not be translated.
The inscription on the other stone on the lot was mostly in English except a few lines at the bottom. Note the difference in the spelling of the last name of the person buried on the lot. The second stone read: “Delphine, daughter of L. and S. Mouso, died February 12, 1881, aged 15 years, 5 months and 26 days.”
Following that are the lines in French. Evidently the two buried there were members of the Catholic Church, a cross and the letter I.H.S. appear on the stone. We learn from the Richland county history that a French-Canadian family settled on Fancy Creek many years ago but moved away. The death of Delphine, the daughter took place in 1881, a span of 75 years ago.
Much more could and should be written about the sturdy pioneers, but space and time does not permit at present. A number of those buried in this cemetery were the first comers to the area, they organized the church which stands on the site and they took part in the building of the old log church, the first to stand upon the ground and were present in the home of Alanson Clark when the church society was organized back in 1859 on June 11. J.H. Mathers was the minister. Among the original members of the church who now rest in the cemetery which adjoins the edifice we noticed the names of Alanson Clark, Mrs. Elizabeth Clark, Angus Smith, Daniel Noble, Margaret Noble, Mrs. Jane Fogo, Mary Wanless, Mrs. Eliza Merrill, T.M. Ocheltree, Mary McDonald, Mrs. Ann Marshall and Mrs. Mary Caddell. Mrs. Caddell, her infant daughter Rachel, and son Sydney, were the first persons to be baptized after the formation of the church. All these now rest surrounded by relatives and friends of the far off days.
May they all serve as a shining example to future generations of lives well lived and tasks well done.
Location of Fancy creek cemetery
State Road 56, Gillingham, Wisconsin
Fancy Creek Cemetery is close to my heart. Near the Hart homestead on St Rd 56, and is a beautiful and quiet spot that begs the visitor to wander and remember. It holds the resting places of so many generations of so many branches of my family.
For July 4th, years back, PBS Radio requested listeners submit their stories about places that mean America to them. I didn't submit anything, but knew immediately where that place would be for me. Fancy Creek Cemetery is close to the home place, Harts Hollow, that has been in the family (originally homesteaded by John and Ellen Hart) for five generations. Relatives who have served in the Civil War, World War I and II, pioneers and immigrants following westward for better lives for their families. This is a place of remembrance, honor, family, and respect. It is a part of me.