Imágenes de páginas

more were purchased as an addition to the cemetery. At the same time-May 14, 1856—an ordinance was passed by the city council prohibiting interments in the old town grave yard, and forbidding the enlargement of any cemetery within half a mile of the city limits, which latter provision could only apply to Hutchinson Cemetery. An additional ordinance was passed at the same time, setting apart the twenty-eight and a half acres as a place of burial for the dead, under the name given it by mayor Cook. The cemetery was enclosed with a substantial fence at the expense of the city, and for two or three years it was used as a place of burial for the poor only. There being no sexton, parties dug graves wherever they pleased, of which there was no record preserved.

On the eighteenth of April, 1858, and from that time, a register has been kept of all the interments. The grounds began to present a more orderly appearance, but it required a great amount of labor to remove the under-brush. Up to this time the ground was directly under the control of the city authorities, but it was thought desirable to identify lot owners more closely with it, and make them, to some extent, responsible for its management. In 1859 the Legislature was applied to for some charter amendments, which were granted, authorizing the city council to elect annually a board of five managers, each one of whom should be a lot owner, and whose duty it should be to take charge of all the funds set apart for the use of the cemetery, and direct all the improvements in the grounds.

On the nineteenth of March, 1860, the first selection of managers took place, and on the ninth of April the board organized and entered upon the discharge of the duties assigned them. On the twenty-sixth of that month, the board resolved to set apart the twenty-fourth of May for the purpose of consecrating and dedicating the grounds of Oak Ridge Cemetery for the exclusive purpose of a burial place for the dead. The eighth

day of May, a meeting was held, consisting of the managers, a committee of the city council and the clergymen of the city, to make arrangements for the ceremonies. On the twenty-fourth, a procession was formed and marched to the cemetery, where the exercises took place. They consisted of singing, prayer, instrumental music, an oration by the Hon. J. C. Conkling, and the formal dedication by the Hon. G. A. Sutton, mayor of the city.

Upon the recommendations of the board of managers, the city continued to make additions to the grounds, so that in 1865 the cemetery consisted of seventy-six and a half acres. Soon after the remains of President Lincoln were deposited in the public vault, May 4, 1865, the city donated six acres of land, or so much of it as might be thought desirable to occupy, to the National Lincoln Monument Association, and it is upon this ground that the Association has erected the monument. By referring to the map, the form and extent of the grounds may be distinguished by the dark lines a short distance from the monument. It is well to remark here that, although the cemetery contains but seventy-six and a half acres, there are about ninety-seven acres included in the boundaries given on the map, but it is understood that the additions can be made whenever it is thought to be desirable.

For several years the city council appropriated one thousand dollars annually to be used in improving the grounds, but in 1866 the revenue from the sale of lots was such that it was not thought to be necessary to continue the appropriations. In order to create a permanent fund to bring in revenue sufficient to keep up the improvements, the board of managers recommended and the city council set apart two thousand dollars, saved from the sale of lots, as a sinking fund, or rather as an endowment fund, and invested it in bonds bearing ten per cent. interest. In 1867, another thousand dollars was added, and additions have since been made,

so that the cemetery fund now amounts to about four thousand dollars.

The four acre plat occupied by the old grave yard, donated by Elijah Iles, reverted to him when it ceased to be used as a place of burial. Mr. Iles then deeded it to Springfield in trust for the benefit of Oak Ridge Cemetery. The land is to be divided into lots and sold in the year 1883, and the proceeds of the sales kept as a fund forever, the interest to be used in embellishing the grounds of Oak Ridge Cemetery. There is a proviso in the deed favorable to the city purchasing the land in a body to be used as a public park, if it should be thought desirable to do so.


With a view to extinguishing Hutchinson Cemetery, the city, in 1866, commenced giving lots in Oak Ridge in exchange for lots of equal size in Hutchinson Cemetery, the lot owners there transferring their lots by deed and receiving deeds in Oak Ridge in return. this way the city has already received the title to more than half of Hutchinson Čemetery, and the time is not far distant when it will receive it all, and then it will be sold and added to the endowment fund of Oak Ridge. The land in these two old cemeteries amounts to about eight acres, and both are near the new State House, where land is rapidly rising in value. By the time they are to be sold, they will bring such prices as to swell the endowment fund of Oak Ridge to such an amount that the grounds can be ornamented in the very highest style and preserved in that condition.

The Lincoln Monument grounds being a part of Oak Ridge Cemetery, it is proper to state in this place that, in September, 1871, a citizen of Bloomington contributed $500, to be used in grading the grounds around the monument. Another contribution for the same purpose was made under the following circumstances:

The Illinois State Sanitary Commission, organized during the war for the suppression of the rebellion, was composed of John P. Reynolds, President; Col.

John Williams, Treasurer; Col. Woods, Robert Irwin, Esq., E. B. Hawley, Esq., and Hon. Wm. Butler. They were all citizens of Springfield at the time, but Mr. Reynolds has removed to Chicago, Col. Woods to Winchester, and Mr. Irwin is deceased.

In addition to the sanitary work, the commission attended to the collection of the claims of soldiers against the government. At the close of the war, the services of the commission being no longer necessary in the field, it turned over the claim business in its hands to Col. Woods and Edward J. Eno, now of St. Louis, with the understanding that a certain per cent. of their fees should be paid into the treasury of the commission. By this arrangement the commission was enabled to relieve the wants of many widows and families of soldiers, and about the close of the war, it donated $5000 to the Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Springfield, before the State commenced providing for that class of sufferers.

More funds accumulated, which remained in the treasury until January 1, 1872. At that time it amounted to $2459.83. By a resolution of the commission, the whole amount was placed in the treasury of the National Lincoln Monument Association, to be expended in embellishing the grouuds. The resolution contains a proviso that not less than $500 were to be used in erecting a slab or shaft on the monument grounds, which is to contain the names of the Union soldiers buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. This leaves $1959.83 for ornamenting the grounds. This work is under the superintendence of Mr. Samuel Hood, the warden of the cemetery, who is an experienced landscape gardener. Mr. Hood became sexton or warden of the cemetery in the spring of 1867. His books show the total number of interments from the beginning of the register, in 1858, to the first of January, 1872, to be 2134, removals from Hutchinson Cemetery 319, and removals from other places 133, making a total of

2586. The remains of Governor Ninian Edwards, the first territorial governor of Illinois, were removed from Hutchinson to Oak Ridge, October 30, 1866. Governor William H. Bissell, who died in office in 1860, was buried in Hutchinson Cemetery. A very fine monument, at a cost of $5000 to the State of Illinois, was erected to his memory in Oak Ridge, under the supervision of Hon. Jesse K. Dubois and Hon. O. M. Hatch, who filled the offices of Secretary and Auditor of State while he was Governor. The remains of the Governor and his wife were removed to Oak Ridge, with imposing demonstrations and an oration by Governor Palmer, May 30, 1871. A fine marble shaft stands in a conspicuous place over the remains of General Isham N. Haynie, who died while he was Adjutant General of Illinois. Twenty-one other Union soldiers are buried in different parts of the grounds.

Oak Ridge Cemetery is situated near the northwest corner of the city of Springfield, and is one and a half miles due north of the new State House. A deep ravine runs from east to west through the cemetery, dividing it into almost equal parts. The original cemetery was altogether north of this ravine, and for that reason the oldest and best improvements are in that part of the grounds. The entrance to the original cemetery is at the east side, from the northern extension of Third street, the gate being just north of the ravine. By consulting the map, the reader will observe that the entrance is by a wide avenue that branches off in various directions so as to extend over all the northern part of the cemetery. The map also shows that the south entrance is nearer the city than that on the east. Funerals, and parties visiting the cemetery in carriages, usually enter at the south gate, while those who wish to visit the monument and other parts of the cemetery on foot go out Fifth street on the City railway, to the railway park, which is seen on the east side of the map.

« AnteriorContinuar »