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Collins Cemetery

Coles County, IL

Located in the woods east of Rardin Road
Section 21, Township 14N, Range 10E

This newspaper piece was contributed by Marji Turner, who says

"The "Hougland's" listed were my ancestors, though the name should have been "Hoagland". I suspect the spelling was due to the condition of the stones.
This article was sent to my mother, Evelyn Hoagland Dennis many years ago."

Thanks Marji for sharing it!
[Items unable to be read are noted with a question mark]

Charleston, Ill, Daily Courier 30 October 1952

From: Clerk of Coles County, ILL in 1952


Photos by Mrs. Clarence Beabout
[We do not have that portion]

A group of neighbors in the community three miles north of and some of their friends from other localities, have been having an interesting experience lately in reclaiming a really old cemetery which had almost been given up for lost in the local woods. Not much is known about it. Its whereabouts was only known to hunters and a few old-timers who occasionally talked of it. It was hard to find since no road was close to it and the only way to reach the place was to walk about a quarter of a mile toward the Embarras river through within the Bunien or Tinsman farms.

Signs are still prominent of an old wagon road which used to come to the place, possibly from across the river from the east. it is thought to have been called the Collins cemetery. Its last caretaker was
Cornelius East, who was the father of Mrs. Dora Tolan of Hindsboro. It has been more than fifty years since he last performed those duties. His interest in the place came from the fact that his wife's family, the Collins, had given the land to the community in the early eighteen hundreds.

The graves had become entirely hidden by scrap growth and trees a foot and more in diameter. Men used chain saws and axes to cut the timber while the women and children raked and carried the smaller growth. Several stones were uncovered and many graves were discovered without markers of any kind. A few are marked by large rocks and one at least has a beautiful hard maple planted at the head of a grave. Many older persons in the community remember playing there when they were children. One man in particular recalls carrying many bouquets of weeds and wild flowers to put on a grave, he imagined was an Indian girl's because her name was Vashati.
Vashati Wallace was really a young mother who died one hundred years ago on October 23rd 1852.

Only about twenty stones have been found and most of them have fallen during the years. All the burials took place during a period of thirty years between 1842 and 1872. To really appreciate the time these people lived and died, on must recall events in your country's history. One of [these?] people was born in 1780 and another in 1799, the years following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. George Washington was being urged to run for his third term in 1799, and died, himself in December of that year. Adams ended his term of the presidency in 1891 and Thomas Jefferson had spent eight years in the White House by 1809. He spent the following years building up his estate at Monticello where he died in 1826. And so on down through the years. The stormy career of Andrew Jackson was ended, with his death in 1845. The Lincoln era started about 1840 and continued through his years as president and his assassination in 1865. The Civil War had begun and ended a little later. One wonders about these people who lived and died in those years and were buried here in the wilds of Illinois. Of course we will never know what dates might be on the unmarked graves.

These names may be of interest to other Cole county persons.
Narcissa Combs Curtis, who died at the age of 36 in 1864; Mary Jane Beasley, aged 24, died in 1852; David, son of J. and [-?-] Beasley, died in 1855, aged ___ days; M. and Vashti Wallace, deceased in 1842 and 1852. Arod Hougland, died in 1850, aged 1 year; James Hougland, aged 14 died in 1846 and his mother, Margaret, died one month later at the age of 36; Amanda, eleven months ; John aged twelve, both died in 1846, and David, ten months, in 1860 were children of William and Evaline Mitchell, who themselves died in 1872 and 1862.

The following poem cut on the Curtis stone, might be a fitting epitaph for all these long ago forgotten people:

"Go home my friends and dry your tears. I will arise when Christ appears."

Two Saturdays were spent at this work and the time was considered well spent by the twenty-five or more persons who were there. Neighbors who had had no occasion to work together for some time, worked shoulder to shoulder, and enjoyed the few hours of good fellowship. Well-filled baskets at noons were soon emptied and future plans were made as the group rested for lunch. The work has not been finished due mainly to the extreme dry weather, marking the use of fire too dangerous to clean up all the debris at this time. The stones have been left in the condition in which they were found since there is no possibe way to repair them or reset them. Any information concerning this cemetery or its occupants would be appreciated by any of the following persons. Some of these who worked at the project were Mr. and Mrs.
O. E. Collins, Mrs. Floris Winkler, Mr. and Mrs. Fount Keighley, Mr. and Mrs. Pete Jordan and family, Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Parkes, W. L. Parkes, Mr. and Mrs. Eldon Childress, Mr. and Mrs. T. O. Petty; and children of Oa____; Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Miller of Arcola; Misses Marilyn Childress and Nancy Winkler, and Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Parrish of Charleston.
Many interested visitors were also present.

Listing of burials from the "Prairie Sleeps", Vol. IV:

Beasley, J.
Beasley (son of J.&S Beasley, age 4 dys) - died 1855
Beasley, Mary Jane - b. 1828; d. 4-14-1852
Curtis, Ira
Curtis, Narassa B. (Combs, wife of Ira, age 36) - b. 1828; d. 2-6-1864
Curtis, Phillip H. (son of Ira & N.B., infant 1 m) - d. 1849
Curtis, William B. (son of Ira & N.B. age 2) - b. 1851; d. 1863
Hoagland, Arod VR (son of A. & W.E., age 1)- b. 1849; d. 1850
Hoagland, James (son of A. & W.E., age 14) - b. 1832; d. 1846
Hoagland, Margaret (wife of Arod, mother of James, age 38) - b. 1808; d. 1846
Mitchell, Amanda (dau of W.P. &E, age 9) - b. 1838; d. 1847
Mitchell, David H. (Infant son of G.W. & L.A.) - d. 1860
Mitchell, Evaline (wife of W.P., age 59) - b. 1803; d. 1862
Mitchell, G.W.
Mitchell, John (son of W.P. & E., age 12) - b. 1835; d. 1847
Mitchell, L.A. (wife of G.W)
Mitchell, William P. (age 73) - b. 1799; d. 1872
Thomas, infant son of N. & M. - d. 1848
Wallace, Vashte (wife of William, age 53) - b. 1799; d. 10-23-1852
Wallace, William (age 62) - b. 1780; d. 1842

Earliest known burial 1842
Last burial 1872

Originally Read By: Mrs. Grace Ashmore and pub. by the Coles County Genealogical Society, 1997
Transcribed here by K. Torp


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