Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Stories - Sutherland Cemeteries

Excerpts from the Sutherland Centennial, 1891 - 1991.

In December of 1894 a meeting was held to form an association to meet the city's need for a cemetery. The Association incorporated as the Sutherland Cemetery Association with the incorporators being Alex Nelson, WC Blackmore, JJ Hostetter, CB McKinstry and Wm M. Holtry. They purchase the site in East Sutherland by assessing themselves $5 apiece. The land was plowed, harrowed and fenced. The plots were divided into lots in the price of a lot was set at $5 a piece.

The original Sutherland Cemetery
The Sutherland Cemetery Association was active and responsible for the cemetery for 50 years. Additional person who have served on the Association H.E. Worrell, Chas Cockle, Frank Coates, Edward Coker, George C. White, E.C. Brown A.B. Cady, Eli Etchison, E.A. Crosby, F.A. Cox, L.C. Peyton, J.F. Humphrey, D.C. Wilson, O.P. Guffey, T. Harvey and Sam Thomas.

An early grave, dating from 1895.
The Sutherland Cemetery in the northeast part of town had been in use for 17 years when discussions began on creating a new site for a cemetery. In October of 1912 there were discussions in the paper about locating a new cemetery across the river south of town. In December of 1912 Colonel John Keith donated 6 acres of land along the main road south of town in the southeast corner of his tract adjoining Cal Fye’s on the north.

On May 29 1913 it was a meeting of a dozen people discussing possibilities of a new cemetery. The Secretary, Jim F. Humphrey, stated that only eight lots remained in the old cemetery and that funds on hand amounted to approximately 25 dollars. In addition the old cemetery had severe drainage problems because the nearby ditch would seep into it causing some caskets to float up. It was for this reason that the cemetery was referred to as a “disgrace to the town” in the newspaper articles.

A committee was formed to investigate the proposed location and some objections were raised in the meeting to the Keith Offer as the land being donated was too far from town and difficult to irrigate. In June of 1913 the committee decided that the best site for the new cemetery was the Gustav Dringman property just south of the channel and east of the section line road south of town. Mr. Dringman had indicated a willingness to sell a few acres for a cemetery and that a deal could be made with him. The committee felt this tract could easily be watered and beautified.

A tombstone with an engraving of gates, echoing the new cemetery gates.
A couple of months of discussion on trying to solve the cemetery problem followed and in August 1913 a motion was made and carried to purchase seven acres of ground from Gus Dringman for the location of the new cemetery to be called Riverview Cemetery. Once the decision was made progress was rapid and on August 16 1913 the deed to the property was signed over by Gus Dringman to the Sutherland Cemetery Association. It would appear that the deed was signed on a promise to pay because the Sutherland Freelance of Sept 11, 1913, notes that “…funds are being subscribed to pay for it.” The purchase price of the land was $420. The work on the cemetery begin shortly after the purchase and while it cannot be determined with absolute certainty, the first burial would appear to have been the infant child of Mrs. Fred Lewis who was buried in the new Cemetery on November 27 1913. The fences were still being installed at this time and other construction was still in progress.

The Sutherland Cemetery Association continued to operate and maintain the cemetery’s for the next 33 years. They funded the operation with the sale of lots, donations of time and money, and by holding barn dances and other fund-raisers. In May of 1942, L.C. Applegate donated 100 cedar trees to the Riverview Cemetery, which J.D. Goedert and three helpers planted.

A sad burial. Ransum Clifford Allen, Otis Allen, Alice Mae Allen, who died within two weeks of each other.
In early 1946 action was started to deed the Cemetery to the Village of Sutherland so a tax could be levied for regular care and maintenance. The drive for funds raised $4,062.36 to be used on a new well and to do leveling and improve the driveways. On March 14, 1946, this money along with a deed to the Cemetery, was turned over to the village, and the Sutherland Cemetery Association was officially disbanded and permanently adjourned.
A walkway was recently added on the west end of the Cemetery to provide a safe route to school for kids living in the Cherry Hills addition.

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