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BERRY CEMETERY

Near Oakland, Illinois
The oldest burial place in Eastern Illinois
By Judge Lyman T. Yeargin [c. 1920's]

Information contributed by Deanna Wolff and Caroline Coon

No sooner had we uploaded this nifty piece by Judge Yeargin from the 1920's when Caroline Coon sent a whole slew of info on this cemetery which was printed in the Coles newspapers of the time. I have added them onto the Judge's compilation. After the transcription are the newspaper articles dealing with the cleanup of Berry Cemetery and some more historical information. Many thanks to Caroline for this info and to Deanna Wolff for giving the info to Caroline!


Judge Yeargin's work:

The oldest cemetery in this section of Illinois is the Berry Cemetery one and a half miles north and east of Oakland. Oakland was settled in 1830 by Samuel ASHMORE. History tells us that he was the first person to locate in Oakland, then almost a forest of trees. However, Mr. Ashmore came to this part of Illinois a year or two previous to 1830, for he lived in the Brushy Fork neighborhood in 1828-29. When the Berry graveyard was laid out, Mr. ASHMORE and Samuel BLACK and a few other neighbors living in the Brushy fork neighborhood built a log church and services were held in this church nearly a year before the first burial, which according to known records was in 1832, that of a Mrs. Eliza MORRISON, who came from the state of Virginia the previous year. However, we must take exceptions to this statement, for a short time ago we found a gravestone marked 1814, but all other marks had been completely obliterated by the ravages of time. Two other very ancient tombstones were found by Mr. Roy Mitchell and Major Matthew Miller. There was no lettering on these tombstones, for age had obliterated them. No other tombstones of a like character had ever been seen before by any of the party who visited the Berry cemetery at this time which was in September 1917. Mr. Wilbur HACKETT, a son of the late George HACKETT, who came to Illinois sometime between 1830 and 1840 says that he has not the least doubt but that the French and the Kickapoo Indians used this cemetery to bury their dead in before the 18th century. Mr. HACKETT says that he has heard his father tell of the French and Indians who were here when he first came to this country.

This cemetery is in a most deplorable condition. In all probability there has not been an interment in it for the last 25 years. There are no roads leading to it. It is surrounded on three sides by corn fields and on one side by a large pasture. Sumac nearly as tall as a horse was found growing abundantly. The barbed wire fence which surrounded the cemetery is all down. In fact it presents a most desolate looking appearance. Most of the tombstones have fallen either flat on the ground, in front of the graves or to one side. Indeed, a grave could not be found but that was flat. There are no rounded mounds. In going to this cemetery Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Miller and this writer missed finding it by a half mile or more although in earlier days Roy Mitchell had visited this cemetery many times. There used to be a public road leading to it, a cut off to the East after you crossed Hoag's Branch bridge, but this road has been closed up for over 20 years. In going, the trio climbed several fences, went through several valleys and once went through a corn field, crossing Hoag's Branch three times in their wanderings. In the Berry graveyard lie the remains of a great many of the old pioneers. These were the early settlers. They were buried there because there was no other cemetery within thirty or forty miles. The grandfather and grandmother of the former State Senator Stanton C. PEMBERTON, sleep their long last sleep in this graveyard. Here also lies the body of Samuel ASHMORE, the first settler of Oakland. Also Samuel H. ASHMORE, C. C. ASHMORE's grandfather. Three or four of the old pioneer KIRKPATRICK's, three or four of the HAMILs, three CAMPBELL's, Uncle Mose LUCE, Daniel STITES and his wife, Thomas MOODY, Josiah BLACK and his wife, Samuel and Daniel B. POWERS and wife.

Another grave in the Berry graveyard is that of Thomas AFFLECK, who died in 1852. Thomas AFFLECK was in life one of the most noted men in the community. He was born in Scotland but located here in 1832. He was a fine violinist and took great pleasure in playing for the "Hoe Downs" as they were called in those days. He was a model farmer, frugal and thrifty. It is said that he wore a No. 9 hat and by actual measurement his head measured 24 inches in circumference. He was also a great hunter, and when he wanted game he would "harness" up a yoke of cattle to his sled and strike out for the hunting grounds, where, turning his cattle loose to feed he would sit and wait and watch for his game, and would rarely miss a single shot in bringing down a deer. The one great fault Mr. AFFLECK had was he drank too much. This was especially so after he lost his wife who lies buried beside him. Finally he went with his son, Rev. A. O. AFFLECK to Terre Haute, where he died. Before leaving Oakland he secured a promise from Dr. RUTHERFORD and Mr. MOSELY that they would see that he was buried in the Berry graveyard. Hearing of his death Dr. RUTHERFORD and Mr. MOSELY sent Aleck MITCHELL over to Terre Haute after the remains and they were interred as stated previously by the side of his wife. Another noted character who helped to erect the log church near the Berry graveyard was Wm. SHADD, who was a blacksmith. The people called him "Old Shadd" for a nickname. He came here from along about the White River in Indiana in 1831. He had quite a large family, all of whom were thrifty and they soon owned a large farm. "Old Shadd" was a great talker and was always telling improbable stories. One time he exhibited to Dr. RUTHERFORD his "spring lancet" and his "pullikin," the latter for extracting teeth, and estimated the number of teeth drawn with them, or it, at several barrels, and the blood shed by the "lancet" at the hogshead measure. Poor "Old Shadd." He was gathered to his fathers long ago in the fullness of time and a good old age. Another old pioneer who helped to lay out the Berry graveyard and build the log cabin church was William NOKES. He used to tell that he was a great heart smasher among the ladies and had been compelled at a single term of court in Louisville, Ky., to answer to a dozen breach of promise suits. He went by the name of "Old Bag of Shot," a name given him in honor of one of his stories in which he claimed that he once carried a bag containing a bushel of shot along the streets of Louisville and as the frost had just come out of the ground he sank to his knees every step while the bricks of the pavement piled around his feet. The story grew by repetition until the shot became two bushels and the displaced brick reached to his waist. Another story told of him is that he went to old Squire ASHMORE and made a complaint against a young man of 18 years for assault and battery. Though he was at that time somewhat feeble, the Squire persuaded him that it would not look well for a man who had carried two bushels of shot to prosecute a stripling of eighteen years, and so in his good nature, Mr. NOKES withdrew his complaint. We might go on, and still on, and relate early history of these old pioneers, who helped build the log cabin church and lay out Berry graveyard, but will not this time.

Silently do these old pioneers slumber. Nothing disturbs them. They lived in an age of honesty, of frugality, of neighborly kindness and God fearing manliness. Some have been dead over sixty years. Many of their children are dead. Only now and then do we find any of them. Grandchildren there are in plenty in our community. These boys and girls are getting along in years. They have families of their own, aye, many have grandchildren. To them has been left a blessed heritance and names to keep untarnished.

In looking over the slabs, or tombstones, the following names, dates of locations and deaths were found inscribed:

Name

Born

Died

Age at Death

Spouse

Parents

Loc.

Sources

Thomas AFFLECK

Dundrie Scotland 1785

June 4 1852,

67 yrs.

 

 

1836

exact DOD date & age from src 2

Mary Hannay AFFLECK

Scotland 1784

March 12, 1840

50 yrs.

Thomas

 

1836

exact DOD date & age src 2

Sarah Kirkpatrick ANNIN

 

March 12, 1852

34 yrs

Joseph W

 

 

2

Sarah ANNIN

 

October 24, 1851

6 yrs.

only dau of Joseph & Sarah

 

2

Ben APPLEGATE

1864

1938

 

Last burial in this Cemetery

2

Lula APPLEGATE

1886

1919

 

 

Ben.

 

2

Ethal L. APPLEGATE

1912

1919

 

 

Ben & Lula

 

2

Lucinda APPLEGATE

November 4, 1833

March 10, 1909

 

 

 

 

2

Jacob APPLEGATE

 

May 2, 1874

64 yrs, 3 mos.

 

 

 

2

Hettie APPLEGATE

 

1874

1 yr. 10 mos.

 

 

 

2

Joed APPLEGATE

 

January 2, 1873

16 yrs.

 

J.Y. & L.

 

2

E. ARCHER

 

November 9, 1856

26 yrs

 

 

 

2

George ARCHER

 

March 1855

8 mos

 

E. & S.J.

 

2

L. E. ARCHER

Vermont 1783

September 27 1866

83 yrs. 7 mo

 

 

1835

exact DOD & age src 2

Mary F. ARCHER

 

October 18, 1851

2 mos.

 

E. & S.J.

 

2

Sarah J. ARCHER

July 12, 1828

April 6, 1896

 

 

 

 

2

Andrew J. ASHMORE

 

March 6, 184(?)

19 yrs.

 

J. & Sarah

 

2

Elizabeth E. ASHMORE

 

August 13, 1832

1 yr

 

S.C. & S.

 

2

John V. ASHMORE

 

Aug 25. 1835

1 yr, 6 mos

 

S.C. & S.

 

2

Rachel E. ASHMORE

 

October 12, 1851

3 yrs.

 

S.C. & S.A

 

2

Ruth ASHMORE

Georgia 1792

1855

 

 

 

1829

1

Ruth Cowan ASHMORE

 

June 21, 1855

62 yrs, 10 mos, 12 dys

Samuel

 

 

2

Samuel T. ASHMORE

 

Nov. 23, 1847

25 yrs

 

J. & Sarah

 

2

Samuel C. ASHMORE

Georgia 1806

April 12 1855

48 yrs, 11 mos

 

 

1831

exact DOD & age src 2

Samuel ASHMORE

Georgia 1795

October 28, 1836

60 yrs. 10 mos, 4 days

 

 

1829

exact DOD & age src 2

Sarah ASHMORE

 

December 6, 1898

87 yrs, 9 mos

Samuel

 

 

2

Susannah R. ASHMORE

 

Aug 7, 1832

3 yrs

 

S.C. & S.

 

2

Letitia K. BAKE

 

May 28, 1856

26 yrs, 6 mos

John D.

 

 

2

Filmore BANDY

June 15, 1851

March 2, 1876

 

 

 

 

2

Lulie M. BANDY

Nov. 25, 1871

March 2, 1873

 

 

F. & A.

 

2

Lucy J. BARBER

 

October 5, 1851

6 mos

 

J. & L.

 

2

Orcelia E. BARBER

 

Sept. 2, 1848

6 yrs, 6 mos

 

J. & L.

 

2

Catherine E. BARBER

 

May 18, 1847

9 mos

 

J. & L.

 

2

John L. BARBER

 

October 21, 1846

3 mos

 

J. & L.

 

2

Camilla BATES

 

April 12, 1862

23 yrs, 9 mos

J.J.

 

 

2

Sarah E. BELL

 

August 12, 1852,

10 mos, 11 days

 

R. & S.M.

 

2

Infant BELL

 

 

 

 

dau of R. & S.M.

 

2

Infant BELL

 

 

 

 

dau of R. & S.M.

 

2

Infant BELL

 

 

 

 

son of R. & S.M

 

2

Infant BELL

 

 

 

 

son of R. & S.M

 

2

Isabella Jane BLACK

 

Dec 20, 1854

10 mos

 

J.O. & M.A.

 

2

Josiah BLACK

Kentucky 1793

April 22 1839

46 yrs, 7 mos

 

 

1831

exact DOD & age src 2

Susanah R. BLACK

Kentucky 1798

July 9, 1862

64 yrs, 3 mos

Josiah

 

1831

exact DOD & age src 2

James BLACK

Kentucky 1798

April 12, 1874

76 yrs, 7 mos

 

 

1828

exact DOD & age src 2

Elizabeth BLACK

Kentucky 1797

April 12, 1869 {or 1889}

72 yrs, 8 mos, 21 dys

James

 

1828

exact DOD & age src 2

George BOWDRE

Ohio 1820

1862

 

 

 

1848

1

George W. BOWDRE

 

December 27, 1854

34 yr, 8 mos

 

 

 

2

Sarah J. BOWDRE

 

Oct. 9, 1851

2 yrs, 9 mos

 

George W. & M.B.

 

2

Mary E. BURT

 

February 22, 1853

1 yr, 16 d.

 

M. & A.

 

2

Laura J. BURT

 

October 19, 1858

1 yr. 5 d.

 

M. & A.

 

2

John M. BURT

 

October 23, 1859

1 m. 27 d.

 

M. & A.,

 

2

Alaison BURT

 

November 28, 1854

9 mos

 

M. & A.

 

2

Hannah BURT

 

November 29, 1859

66 yrs. 3 mos

Munsell

 

 

2

Munsell BURT

 

March 8, 1860

11 mos.

 

James M. & X

 

2

Letitia Ann BUSBY

 

May 1, 1856

31 yrs, 2 mos

William D.

 

 

2

James CALDWELL

(Aka: Cauldwell src 3)

 

Feb. 25, 1850

6 mos

 

John & Mary

 

2

James B. CALDWELL (Aka: Cauldwell src 3)

 

May 19, 1860

 

 

John & Mary

 

2

Margaret CALDWELL (Aka: Cauldwell 3 )

 

1862

20 yrs

John

 

 

alt. death date src #3: 23 Apr 1860

Nancy G. [or B. 3] (Aka: Cauldwell 3)

 

June 17, 1895

80 yrs, 5 mos

 

 

 

2

Hester CAMPBELL

 

October 8, 1841

5 yrs. 8 mos

 

D. & A.C.

 

2

Hester E. CAMPBELL

 

October 11, 1841

 

 

Sam

 

2

Abraham T. CAMPBELL

 

March 11, 1840

(or 11 Nov 1840
3)

5 yrs. 9 mos

 

D. & A.C.

 

2

Elizabeth CAMPBELL

 

November 27, 1839

11 yrs. 3 mos

 

D. & A.C.

 

2

Moses L. CAMPBELL

 

June 2, 1852

19 yrs, 28 days

 

J. & D.

 

2

Annie M. CAMPBELL

 

Dec. 23, 1862

3 mos

 

J.P. & S.M.

 

2

C. Manuel CAMPBELL

 

Nov 21, 1839

28 yrs, 2 mos

 

 

 

2

Charlotte J. CHAPMAN

 

March 6, 1830

 

 

S.E.

 

2

Samuel E. CHAPMAN

May 3, 1821

January 20, 1896

 

 

 

 

2

Rachel W. CHAPMAN

Nov. 13, 1823

Sept. 2, 1906

(or Sept 12, 19063)

 

Henry

 

 

2

Henry W. CHAPMAN

 

September 27, 1858

39 yrs

 

 

 

2

William F. CHAPMAN

 

Oct. 12, 1855

1 yr. 9 mos

Henry & Rachel

 

 

2

Napolean B. COMBS

 

May 9, 1844

29 yrs., 3 m.

 

 

 

2

John CUTLER

 

May 18, 1847

57 yrs.

 

 

 

2

Letitia E. DRAKE

 

Nov 28, 1856

 

John Drake

   

3

Aaron A. HAMMIL

November 14, 1823

July 14, 1896

       

2

Andrew S. HAMMIL

 

6 Mar 18??

   

J.A. & A.

   

Catherine M. HAMMIL

June 18, 1833

October 22, 1869

 

Aaron A.

   

2

Elizabeth HAMMIL

Tennessee 1802

Nov. 17 1889

87 yrs, 11 mos

James H.

 

1829

exact DOD & age src 2

Frank HAMMIL

 

April 23, 1899 (18983)

27 yrs, 7 mos

     

2

Harriet J. HAMMIL

 

Feb 19, 1872

30 yrs, 10 mos

S.B.A.

   

2

Iantha A. E. HAMMIL (aka Jantha 3)

Jan. 18, 1857

Nov. 5, 1897

   

A.A. & C.M.

 

2

James H. HAMMIL

Tennessee 1799

Sept 27 1856

57 yrs, 10 mos

 

 

1829

exact DOD & age src 2

Jeremiah L. HUNTER

 

14 Sep 1858

   

H & E Hunter

 

3

Jonathan R. HAMMIL

 

May 23, 1850

15 yrs, 3 mos

 

J.H & E.

 

2

Mary A. HAMMIL

 

Mar 27, 1870

(22 Jul 18693)

16 yrs

 

A.A. & C.M

 

2

Roella M. HAMMIL

 

July 20, 1869

1 yr, 2 mos

 

A.A. & C.M.

 

2

Rosa D.J. HAMMIL

 Sept. 14, 1859

Sept. 17, 1910

 

 

 

 

2

Sarah J. HAMMIL

1832

1914

 

 

 

 

2

Sarah M. E. HAMMIL

 

July 20, 1872

21 yrs, 8 mos

 

A.A. & C.M.

 

2

Unknown HAMMIL

 

24 Aug 1869

   

dau of James H. & E.

 

3

Catharine HODGE

 

Sept 8, 1851

17 yrs, 5 mos

Thomas

 

 

2

Infant HOGE

 

June 29, 1836

 

 

son of S. & LF.

 

2

Infant HOGE

 

17 Sep 1836

   

dau of S. & L.F.

 

3

Elizabeth A. HOGE

 

Aug 18, 1845

18 yrs, 10 mos

 

S. & LF.

 

2

Letitia R. HOGE

 

Sept 17, 1836

1 yr

 

S. & LF.

 

2

Thomas J. HOGE

 

August 3, 1846

7 yrs.

 

S. & LF.

 

2

Nathan S. HOOSER

 

July 5, 1845

1 yr, 3 m.

 

J.D. & M.C.

 

2

Flora HUNTER

 

April 6, 1852

11 mos

 

 J.S. Hunter

 

2 - exact DOD from src 3

Jeremiah L. HUNTER

 

Sept 14, 1858

1 yr

 

M. & ?

 

2

John H. HUNTER

 

October ? 1855

1 yr

 

M. & ?

 

2

Joseph HUNTER

 

Mar 9, 1889

   

J.S. Hunter

 

3

Sarah HUNTER

 

1839

9 mos

     

2

L.C. KINCAID

 

October 3, 1872

59 yrs

 

 

 

2

Martha KIRKPATRIC(K)

 

18 August 1865

 

 

J.P. & E.

 

2 & 3 (date 18th)

Isaiah KIRKPATRIC(K)

 

May 26, 1856

 

 

J.P. & E.A.

 

2

Louburda A. KITE

 

September 6, 1872

1 yr. 5 m.

 

B. & E. A.

 

2

Calvin A. LLOYD

 

Feb 27, 1867

(18613)

11 yrs

 

J.E. & C.E.

 

2

Catharine E. LLOYD

 

June 23, 1850

23 yrs, 6 mos

James E.

 

 

2

H. A. Lloyd

 

1824

       

3

Harve L. LOYD

1847

1924

 

 

 

 

2

Moses LUCE

1785 Virginia

1838

 

 

 

1837

1

Catherine LUCE

1780 Georgia

1844 Indiana

 

Moses

 

1837,

1

Laura MCDANIELS

 

August 26, 1875

(May 26, 18793)

22 yrs, 25 d.

H.H.

 

 

2

Rosa MCDANIELS

 

Sept. 5, 1875

17 days

 

H.H. & Laura

 

2

Michael L. McGUIRE

 

2 Oct 18453

8 yrs

     

2

Thomas McGUIRE

Tennessee 1792

Dec 21 1844

52 yrs, 10 mos

 

 

1840

2

MILHOLLAND

 

1855

30 yrs.

 

 

 

2

Allison MILHOLLAND

 

1 Apr 18?

       

3

Dorcasan MILHOLLAND

 

1855

(24 Oct 18513)

1 yr. 7 m.

 

dau of A.J. & M. A.

 

2

Thomas MOODY

Ohio 1799

December 23, 1862

63 yrs, 10 m.

 

 

1839

exact DOD & age src 2

Sarah MOODY



Ohio 1806

April 24, 1857

49 yrs

Thomas

 

1839

exact DOD & age src 2

Eliza A. MORRISON

Virginia 1812

August 10 18322

29 yrs, 2 mos.

 C. Morrison3

 

1831

The first person buried in this graveyard.

Elizabeth E. MORRISON

 

1837

2 yrs.

 

Eliza

 

2

Infant girl MORRISON

 

April 31, 1841

 

 

Eliza?

 

2

Alexander NEWMAN

Tennessee 1793

September 29, 1851

58 yrs.

 

 

1829

exact DOD date from src 2

Margaret M.C. NEWMAN

Tennessee 1789

August 24, 1866

77 yrs. 3m

Alexander

 

1829

exact deat date from src 2

Johnthan M. NEWMAN

 

August 8, 1863

32 yrs, 10 m.

 

 

 

2

Hezekiah B. NEWMAN

 

December 22, 1844

25 yrs.

 

 

 

2

Sarah E. NEWMAN

 

1859

(25 Mar 18513)

23 yrs

J.M.

 

 

2

Elizabeth PEMBERTON

 

April 1844

   

infant dau of J.C. & C.

 

3

Martha PEMBERTON

 

August 25, 1851

39 yrs., 1 m

A.D.

 

 

2

Sally PEMBERTON

Virginia 1782

May 25 1850

68 yrs. 6 m.

Stanton

 

1831

exact DOD date & age src 2

Stanton PEMBERTON

Virginia 1778

May 30 1838

60 yrs, 3m

 

 

1831

exact DOD date & age src 2

Daniel B. POWERS

Ohio 1807

August 29, 1892

85 yrs, 1 mo

 

 

1838

#1 & exact DOD date & age from src 2

David POWERS

 

1847

10 mos

 

 

 

2

Eliza POWERS

 

Jan. 24, 1842

1 yr

(10 yrs, 9 mos3)

 

 

 

2

George POWERS

 

Mar. 23, 1847

3 yrs

 

 

 

2

Ira POWERS

 

Mar 31, 1847

8 mos

 

 

 

2 - 3(exact DOD)

John M. POWERS

 

Mar 1, 1862

   

D.B & M.

 

3

Maria POWERS

Ohio 1808

April 17, 1861

53 yrs

Daniel B. & M.

 

1838

#1 & exact DOD date & age from src 2

Sarah Ellen POWERS

 

Mar 3, 1858

 

 

D. & J.M

 

2, 3(exact DOD)

William F. POWERS

 

Oct. 3, 1845

6 yrs, 6 mos

 

 

 

2

Catherine RAINS

 

March 27, 1853

13 yrs., 5 mos

 

S.E. & L

 

2

Henry RAINS

 

(Jan3 ) or Feb. 10, 1839

9 mos

 

R. & E

 

2 & 3

John RAINS

 

July 30, 1853

1 yr. 5 mos

 

R. & E

 

2

Lydia A. RAINS

 

Feb. 12, 1854

1 y.o.

 

R. & E.

 

2

Richard RAINS

 

March 20, 1853

27 yrs, 11 mos

 

 

 

2

Samuel L. RAINS

 

October 21, 1846

3 mos

 

J. & L.

 

2

Samuel (E.3 ) RAINS

Ohio 1785

April 253 1853

 

 

R. & E

 

1 & 3

William S. RAINS

 

March 3, 1853

1 yr. 5 mos

 

 

 

2

B.F. SMITH

 

May 13, 1880

6 mos.

 

T.A. & C

 

2

Catherine SMITH

 

Dec. 5, 1879

26 yrs.

 

 

 

2

Nancy SPURGON

 

Oct 16, 1851

32 yrs.

James

 

 

2

Daniel STITES, Sr.

Ohio 1795

Feb. 24 1855

60 yrs

 

 

1840

#1 & exact DOD date & age from src 2

Christiannah STITES

Ohio 1800

May 24 1855

55 yrs

Daniel

 

1840

#1 & exact DOD date & age from src 2

Thomas STITES

 

April 9, 1845

20 yrs, 3 mos

 

D. & C.

 

2

Abner TRUAX

 

July 27, 1877

56 yrs.

 

 

 

2

Arvil V. TRUAX

 

Dec 4, 1870

1 mo. 12 days

 

D.M. & R.J.

 

2

Stillman G. TRUAX

       

D.M. & R.J.

 

3

Manda E. WELLS

 

July 11, 1878 (July 14, 18783)

47 yrs, 4 m

I.S. or D.S.

 

 

2

Infants ZIMMERMAN

 

Nov 12, 1863

 

son and daughter of W.B. & L.J.

 

2

Infant ZIMMERMAN

 

December 20, 1862

 

 

dau of W.B. & L.J.

 

2

John T. ZIMMERMAN

March 1855

October 14, 1857

 

 

W.B. & L.J.,

 

2

James M. ZIMMERMAN

 

August 26, 1852

1 yr. 11 mos

 

W.B. & L.J.

 

2

Elizabeth P. ZIMMERMAN

 

September 26, 1854

2 yrs 10 mos

 

W.B. & L.J.

 

2

Two Infants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

1: Judge Lyman T. Yeargin [c. 1920's]

2: Deanna Wolff and Caroline Coon (sources #44 & 45)

3: Various Oakland Newspaper articles (The Ledger, the Messenger, the Ledger-Messenger)


Newspaper Articles dealing with Berry Cemetery

WILL CLEAN UP BERRY CEMETERY

Last Resting Place of Many Oakland Pioneers to Be Taken Care of

"Ledger", February 1919

Our friend and former schoolmate Elmer TRUAX, has circulated a subscription paper and received enough funds to place the Berry cemetery in a respectable looking condition. The Berry cemetery is the oldest cemetery in all Eastern Illinois and in its sacred grounds rest a great many of our old pioneers whose children and granchildren yet reside among us, an honor to their parents and their grandparents. Neighbor TRUAX, in his efforts to place this sacred spot in good condition, is to be commended and we are glad to say that not a man, woman or child who was asked for a mite to carry on the good work refused to contribute something. When it comes to doing our duty as a community, no better people on earth can be found than "We, Us & Co."


FIRST INTERMENT IN TEN YEARS

Was Made Tuesday in the Old Berry Graveyard Near This City

"Ledger", 1919

The interment of Mrs. Ben APPLEGATE and daughter in the Berry graveyard last Tuesday was the first since 1909, ten years ago. It will be remembered that The Ledger a year or so ago published an extended account of this, the oldest burial grounds in all Eastern Illinois. The condition of this graveyard at that time was deplorable but since a number of good people have joined together and placed the sacred spot in a decent looking condition. The Berry graveyard is over 100 years old and even at the present time no road leads to it, the funeral procession having to go via private ground. Mur SUDDUTH the undertaker had to use horses to his hearses instead of his automobile hearse on account of the difficulty experienced in getting to the graveyard.


DANIEL B. POWERS FAMILY AT BERRY

Unknown Newspaper, unknown Date

We have several sources of information concerning a church at the old Berry Cemetery. The Coles County history states, "The first church was organized by the Old School Presbyterians in the year 1831. They built a small log church on the site of the upper grave yard which afterward was turned into a school house..."

In an old Presbyterian history, it says that "The Bethel Church was organized on July 17, 1831, by the Rev. Stephen BLISS. Samuel ASHMORE, Samuel BLACK and a few neighbors living in the Brushy Fork neighborhood built this first church house 20 feet by 22 feet of hewed logs on the site of the upper grave yard, the old Berry Cemetery. According to the customer of the times, the logs were contributed by Congress. This church building was dedicated by the Rev. Isaac Bennett with the following members:

W.W. Morrison, Mary MORRISON, Robert BROOKS, Mary BROOKS, Alexander LAUGHLIN, John LAUGHLIN, Stanton PEMBERTON, Sarah PEMBERTON, Ruth ASHMORE, Hezekiah ASHMORE, Elizabeth ASHMORE, James BLACK, Elizabeth BLACK, John KING, Elizabeth KING, James BOVELL, Jane BOVELL, and Lavina LAUGHLIN. Mr. Logan PEMBERTON, in his history of the church, omits Ruth ASHMORE, Elizabeth ASHMORE and Elizabeth BLACK from the list and adds Gideon ASHMORE, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel C. ASHMORE, Samuel and Letitia HOGUE and Mr. and Mrs. Eli MORRISON.

This church building was afterward used as a school house and finally sold and moved out on the prairie" (Possibly to the site of the Berry School that is remembered by so many folks.) Many of these persons listed as church members are buried in the old church yard.

When the Berry cemetery was surveyed last year, it was found that a small lot on the west side of the grave yard was included in the plot. No doubt, this is the site of the early log church.

Some folks have mentioned the fact that perhaps sometime, the Berry Cemetery Association could rebuild this old church, maybe of logs and with a shaker roof and puncheon seats. This building could be used by townsfolks for sunrise services, breakfast meetings or community out door sings. If there is enough interest we're sure that the folks here in Oakland could and would do it. If anyone thinks this would be a good idea, why not write the Ledger-Messenger a letter?


--- Ashmore Buried at Berry

We do have a lot of information on many of these old settlers. A lot was written about Samuel ASHMORE, the first settler, and fortunately, we have access to these facts. Samuel and his second wife, Ruth, are buried int he old church yard, as well as many of his sons and daughters and their families.

From a letter, written in 1896, by his son Carol Omar by his wife, Ruth, we have fascinating information. (Samuel's first family, wife Letitia GUTHRIE and ten children born from 1796, 1798, 1799, 1802, 1804, 1806, 1808, 1810, 1812, to 1815. Letitia must have died around 1816, for his second family, wife Ruth COWEN, was started with children born in 1818, 1819, 1824, 1826, 1828, 1829 and 1832.

Mr. C.O. ASHMORE, at 76, wrote that his father and his family landed at Oakland in 1829. "There were no settlers within 14 miles. We lived on the LAUGHLIN place. Our first cook house was built by putting forked poles in the ground and covering with clapboards; our sleeping quarters was a covered wagon and father's carriage, which was the only carriage in the country.

We broke out 20 acres and planted to corn before we built our house. In breaking the prairie we used six yoke of cattle and one team of horses on the lead, with me riding the lead horses. We planted our corn by cutting into the sod with an ax and dropping the corn in the hole thus made and pressed the sod together with our feet and corn went 75 bushels to the acre. After our corn was planted, we built our house. The house was 24 by 16, built of white oak logs. We lived in the house until cold weather without any door or sash in the windows and there was no chimney. This was the first house in the locality.

Our nearest neighbors were about 700 Kickapoo Indians' their encampment was on the Brushy Fork about 7 miles from our place. There were no white neighbors to come and see us and we were glad when some of our Indian friends came to call. (There are six or seven Indian graves at Berry). Our first visitors were my brother, Clayton (Letitia's child born in 1806) and his wife, who came 40 miles on horseback. I can tell you we were glad to see them come riding in. The first white woman my mother saw was a Mrs. MODELL who came from St. Omar when my brother General Jackson was born in 1829.

We had to endure a great deal of hardship and privations in those early days. We had to go 35 miles to a mill to get our corn ground to make bread. There were no roads and quite often we would get stuck in the mud and we would have to unload our wagons and carry the loads great distances and we would have to hallow and thrash our oxen for all we were worth to get our empty wagons out of the mud. A big piece of home made corn bread tasted pretty good after so much hard work to make it possible. Often the men would be away from hone and mother and the three little children often had to stay several nights alone at a time."

Samuel's stone is in good shape at Berry as well as Ruth's, his son Samuel C., his sons-in-law, James BLACK, Josiah BLACK and Samuel HOGE. And of course, many members of their families..........

There are many things of interest at Berry. Oakland's first settler, Samuel ASHMORE who settled here in 1829 and died in 1838 is buried here. He was born in 1776 and was a Captain in Gen. Jackson's army. His stone is in fine shape and standing proudly. His two son-in-laws and their families, Samuel HOGE and James BLACK are in the family group...Thomas AFFLECK, a native of Scotland, lies in this cemetery. He was called a fool in his own country because of his mechanical inventions. He came to American and settled in Oakland because of the ridicule piled on him in his native land. later his inventions were considered wonderful and were used. After his wife died and was buried here, his only wish was that he be laid by her side at Berry. His friends carried out his wishes...There are lots of mysteries here. On the Margaret CALDWELL stone, small letters (ser.) appear after her name. We have reliable information that an abstract of adjoining land bore the instruction that their family servant be buried at Berry. Could Mrs. Caldwell have been that colored servant? We are researching this story. Indian graves bear only symbols of snakes and suns and trees and several stones have the old fashioned anchor and Holy Bible in relief. One whole family, the RAINS, died int he same year, 1853. Can anyone tell us why? Am epidemic perhaps....Twin babies are in the ZIMMERMAN plot and there are two stones for at least two old settlers, and old one and a newer one....HAMMIL is the most prevalent name there, although many families have several members there...According to the old records, in July 1831, Samuel ASHMORE, Samuel BLACK and Rev. Stephen BLISS organized and built the first church house, 20 by 22 feet of hewed logs on the site of the Berry graveyard. According to the custom of the times, the logs were contributed by Congress. This --- building was afterwards used as a school house and was finally sold and moved out on the prairie, north and east of the cemetery. There are many old tales about the cemetery. One concerns a death by suicide. Folks felt it was not proper to bury him inside the churchyard. He was buried outside the cemetery to the north in the woods. Can anyone verify this story? And can anyone tell us anymore about the Indian burials? We would appreciate any information about these pioneer ancestors. Please send us any that you might have. And remember that the Berry cemetery is your cemetery and one of the most historic spots in the whole county or even in this part of the state. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to anyone who has helped with this restoration.




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