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Pioneer Cemeteries


The Nelson Cemetery above is unusual for what is often called a Pioneer Cemetery in that it is still occasionally used for burial.  In the days before good roads and motor transportation people didn’t go far to bury their dead.  So every few miles there appears to have been some type of cemetery.  Most of these early cemeteries have not been used in decades and many are in poor condition.  Most were used by just a few families in the immediate area.  The Nelson Cemetery is located between Pesotum and Tuscola Illinois.


Another pioneer cemetery is the Jeese Cemetery pictured above.  This small cemetery holds mostly the graves of the Jeese and Congleton families.  I seem to remember that the latest date that I saw on the graves was from the 1930’s.  Even through I have spent many years in the vicinity of this cemetery I don’t know much about it.  There was a Mrs Congleton who once lived near the cemetery and who worked at the library where I went to grade school, however she was gone before I developed an interest in local history.  My guess is that this cemetery was used by the protestants in the area who later used the larger cemetery in Villa Grove when transportation became better.

Some day I have thought that I may do some research on the people who are buried in one of these old cemeteries.  I wonder how much I could find out.  The idea that these small plots hold the remains of the people who once formed a vibrant community hold some fascination for me.

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