Genealogy Trails

Jackson County, Illinois

Boon Cemetery

Donated by Jeana Gallagher

Fountain Bluff Twp

Boon Cemetery-originally researched & written by J. Gallagher 1980, donated to this site 2007.  (This data was part of a bigger research project she worked on in college.)

This is the only way I know how to explain how to locate this cemetery. From Murphysboro you take Rt. 13 to Rt. 3 and turn left. Going South on Rt. 3 you come to the Gorham turnoff... As you are approaching the turn off you will see Big Hill on the right.. Just as you pass the Gorham turn off there is a short area of a concrete emergency land pull your car on to this till you reach the end and stop. Stand at the end of the concrete looking due south then turn 30 degree's to the right. You will be looking at the trees at the bottom of the bluff, walk in this direction to the trees. There is a very worn dirt path that goes up the side of the bluff. There is nothing there that will show you were the path is you have to look for it in the trees. It is very hard to find even if you know where it is, but this has protected the cemetery. The best time to find it is in the late fall (Nov). At this time if you know what you are looking for you can see the top of the monument. Also note if you do go this cemetery is about 300 feet up the side of the bluff and it is not an easy climb.

For a bit of history of the area. The Mississippi River once flowed on the east side of the bluff. On the north side of the bluff was once the town of Fountain Bluff, all that remains is part of the dam used to make a pool above the water fall. The town of Big Hill was located about 1 mile south of the cemetery. Accordingly this is where Benningsen Boon lived about 1850 and opened a post office in 1855. The site is thought to be across Rt 3 from the two story white house. According to death certificates at Jackson County Court House, the cemetery is named Boon Cemetery but on one it was listed as Big Hill Cemetery. I found as much info as I could on the people buried there and I am including for your use.

The cemetery can be divided in to three sections. The middle section is where the Boon family is buried. Benningsen is said to have camped there while building the stone wall. In the lower section are 10 brown sandstones without names or dates. There are so two small white stones with lambs on them but they are not readable, possible children graves. The upper level is newer graves

William dropped the "e" from the family name. William came to Kaskaskia, IL from KY, finally settling in Jackson Co. in 1805. William was an IL Ranger in the War of 1812. He died in 1836 near Grand Tower, his burial site is unknown. William had 5 children by his first wife, Elizabeth (Cline) and in 1814 he married Catherine Bradshaw, they had 4 children.


There is a monument in the center of the Boon family section. It reads as follows:

Benningsen Boon first white child born in Jackson Co Son of Capt Wm Boon, first permanent settler of Jackson Co was also Capt of ILL riflemen in Battle of New Orleans. Elizabeth H, his wife was a daughter of Conrad Will founder of Brownsville first State Senator member First Constitutional assembly.

Boon, Benningsen 06 May 1807 1879 3rd C/o Wm & Elizabeth

   Benningsen was the first white child born in Jackson Co. In 1809 he lived in Sand Ridge. His mother died in 1814 of the cold plague. In 1826 he moved back to Big Hill. About 1830 he married Elizabeth Will the d/o Conrad Will. Ben was a veteran of the Black Hawk War of 1832. In 1836 he became JP for 16 years. He founded the town of Big Hill and was made PM by President Pierce in 1855. He and his wife had 9 children. After her death he married Elizabeth (Burns) Leo on 28 Jun 1857. They had no children. Some time in Dec 1867 Ben went to Oregon with part of his family, returning in 1872. Upon his return he stayed with his half sister Rachel (Boon) Henson in Carbondale, where he died according to his stone in 1879 but his death certificate lists 21 Mar 1881

Boon, Elizabeth 12 Jun 1812 PA 14 Feb 1855 W/o Benningsen

Elizabeth's father, Conrad Will, was a doctor and salt mine owner, He founded the town of Brownsville. He came to IL from PA in 1814 and died 11 Jun 1934.


Whitson, Sarah (Boon) 15 Dec 1832 03 Feb 1854 D/o Benningsen & Elizabeth
Whitson, William B 1826 1911  

Sarah married William on 27 Jan 1849. They lived in Sec 6 of Grand Tower Twp. In 1850 they have a one year old son named BF.

Donalds, Julia Ann (Boon) 20 Nov 1834 10 Jan 1860 D/o Benningsen & Elizabeth
Donalds, James W 09 Jan 1860 21 Jan 1860  

A marriage date could not be found. Julia died not long after childbirth.

Boon, Rachel

21 Dec 1836

11 Feb 1855

D/o Benningsen & Elizabeth

Boon, William

06 Oct 1843

05 Jul 1864

S/o Benningsen & Elizabeth

Boon, Atticus


24 Jan 1855

S/o Benningsen & Elizabeth

Boon, Benningsen, Jr.

06 Feb 1852

30 Oct 1854

S/o Benningsen & Elizabeth

William was a Capt in Co A 80th Reg of ILL Volunter Infantry. He died of wounds he received.

Benningson's children not buried in the cemetery are:

Daniel Will b 08 Nov 1830. He left Jackson Co in 1850 and never married. He died in Montana about 1900.

Mary 1841-1860. She married William Heirs on 19 Jan 1859. William died in 1865 of wounds he received in the Civil War.

Cyrus Conrad 1846-1940

Other's buried in the Cemetery

Bradshaw, John

08 Oct 1847 IN

05 Jan 1917

S/o Benjamin & Mary A

Bradshaw, Matilda



W/o John

John's father was a wood chopper from TN. John owned several tracts of land in Sand Ridge Twp. He died in Jacob, IL of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Bradshaw, Ben Nov 1845 IL 07 May 1905 B/o John

Ben had a son, RAB who erected his stone.

Whipkey, Mary 02 Nov 1843 Evansville, IN 08 Oct 1929 S/o John Bradshaw

She married Herman Whipkey. He was a farmer, who owned land in Fountain Bluff Twp. Mary died in Gorham of Nephritis.

Bradshaw, Ben E Apr 1866 03 Sep 1872 poss S/o Ben
Bradshaw, Daniel 1883 1920  
Bradshaw, Margaret   27 Feb 1890 34y (possibly Ben's wife)


Bilderback, William T 10 Dec 1852 26 Feb 1829 S/o F & E
Bilderback, Ella C 08 Nov 1832 12 Nov 1860 (nee Henson) w/o E
Henson, Sophia C 21 Jul 1811 07 Feb 1852 w/o BF
Mead(e), Dolores Joyce 15 Jan 1933 25 Apr 1936 D/o Edith & Oliver

The "e" was left Dolores Meade's marker. Her parents lived in Gorham, her mother's maiden name was Cheatham. Dolores died from a heart valve failure. On her death certificate her birth date as listed as 01 Jan 1933.

South, Dora 1891 1899  
Morgan, Anna 03 Sep 1907 07 Oct 1929 (nee Graves) W/o Wallace
Fisher, Hester Ann 1861 12 Mar 1887  
-------, Sarah 28 Feb 1806 in TN 20 Apr 1870 W/o William, 13children
Mansker, Sophia C   05 Jan 1857  
Akin, Mitchell No dates   Co B 13th IL Cav

There are also two white markers which are only 4 inches wide so they are more than likely footstones. One has SSB and the other SB. There was a SS Boon in Jackson Co. in 1856 as a student.


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