Madison County, Illinois
THE WEST CEMETERY
A History by Don Hastings Sr.
We went in search of the cemetery just before Christmas. It was located near the intersections of Route 4 and route 140, between Hamel and Alhambra, Illinois. From owning land across Silver Creek , from the approximate location, I knew about where it was but not exactly. I am not even sure if the name is correct or not.
My son Douglas and I walked into the trees and the first large monument we came to appeared to be of a more modern type. It was marble and stood perhaps 30 inches high and was about a foot wide. The inscription indicated it was for a William Williams who was born on March 7, l844 and died September 17, l907. His wife Susan Caroline Williams was born on October 12, 1830 and died on December 22, l912. The relative newness of the monument suggests that it may have been placed there in more recent years, or at least fairly long after the burial. A separate marker indicated that William Williams has served in Company G of the 12th Kansas Infantry. Being 17 at the start of the Civil War and 21 at the end, we could only assume the marker indicated his service in that conflict.
Then we found an old native stone marker for William Hinch who was born on October 9, l794 and died on July 26, l886. Then a second marker also for a William Hinch indicating a date of October 15, l785. This second marker also said Mr. Hinch was the first settler in Alhambra township and had a second date of November 15, 1817.
This is somewhat confusing for one would not think there were two brothers or related people with same names and the one was too young in 1794 to have had the second as a son. Then there was a broken monument with some pieces missing that indicated an Anna Hinch, wife of William Hinch, but with no dates on the pieces we found.
While the other William Hinch stones carried no middle name there was a separate marker that indicated a William C. Hinch was in Company D of the 59th Illinois Infantry. This is confusing to us as well, for one William would have been 67 years of age and the other would have been 76 at the beginning of the Civil War. We wondered if it might have been a son that was a Civil War veteran or if the service was in a different conflict.
The only West we found was a Jesse West who apparently was born on September 22, l848 and died on August 22, 1878. Almost 30 years of age. In the 1880 map of Alhambra township there is a forty acre tract that appears to be close or encompassing this cemetery that simply says it was owned by a West. I wondered if this was a son.
The next two tombstones were also of the thinner native stone type for a Martha Hulett born on March 28, l833 and died on February 15, l921. The other was perhaps a son, but was not so indicated. It was for William Hulett who died January 30, 1877 saying he was 13 years of age. That would make his birth in 1863 or 1864.
Next was an Emeline Berry, wife of J. C. Berry. She was born May 3, 1810 and died May 10, l863. There was no monument for J. C. Berry, her husband.
Then John Harrington who was born on January 8, l811 and died May 21, l880 and Matilda Harrington (who we assume was his wife) born September 21, l814 and died May 30, l898. This has a ring of familiarity to it as I remember hearing an elderly relative in Alhambra talk of a John Harrington many years ago.
Lastly a Casper Heuser born February 6, l839 and while it was almost indistinct perhaps died March 31, l839. We assume just a baby and the years were difficult to tell if it was 1837 or 1839.
There are other stones strewn about the area, but with no names on them. A few are placed in the ground to possibly indicate a grave but without inscription. The entire cemetery is in bad shape with fallen limbs, weeds and no distinct boundary. I am sure there are other graves that are simply unmarked. Most all the stones are broken or in bad shape except the Williams stone.
With the importance of William Hinch as one of the first settlers, it is sad that the cemetery is in such ruins.
We understood that a Boy Scout troop from Alhambra once came and cleaned up the area, but nature has taken it back over. It would be nice if some effort could be made to retain the memory of one of our earliest burial spots.
I thought that this information might be of interest to any one who was doing genealogy work or any families that might have been related to the people whose stones are still readable.
After getting permission from the adjacent landowners, we had went back toward Silver Creek in search of this old and somewhat forgotten cemetery. We paralleled the creek on the high ground and on a point sticking out over an old slough of the creek, we finally saw a large tombstone sitting back in the trees away from the cultivated field. Appropriately (I thought), I saw some movement in the trees around the tombstones and four or five large bronze backs scurried off toward the creek. Wild turkeys were visiting the cemetery just as they probably did at the time the first people were interred there during and after the Civil War.
Some Of The Original Burials Are:
WEST THOMAS S JAN 27, 1813 DEC 30, 1888 OWNER OF LAND WEST MARY HINCH DEC 21, 1812 AUG 17, 1904 WIFE OF THOMAS WEST JOHN C. AUG 28, 1843 AUG 4, 1844 SON OF T & M WEST LETTIE A. NOV 4, 1844 JUL 28, 1845 DAU OF T & M WEST JESSE SEP 22, 1848 AUG 22, 1878 SON OF T & M WEST WILLIAM P. FEB 11, 1851 NOV 27, 1859 SON OF T & M WEST ALFRED A. MAY 20, 1846 DEC 6, 1859 SON OF T & M LARKIN LUCINDA A. WEST JAN 1857 DAU OF T & M HINCH WILLIAM OCT 15, 1785 JAN 5, 1845 SEE NOTE HINCH ANNA GOODWIN OCT 9, 1794 JUL 26, 1886 SEE NOTE HINCH WILLIAM C. (SON) 1830 CO D 59TH ILL INF HINCH LINCOLN SON OF W & A HARRINGTON JOHN JAN 8, 1811 APR 24, 1880 HARRINGTON MATILDA E HINCH SEP 21, 1814 APR 20, 1898 HULETT WILLIAM OCT 29, 1829 JAN 30, 1877 HULETT MARTHA A MAR 28, 1833 FEB 15, 1921 WIFE OF WILLIAM BERRY EMELINE MAY 3, 1840 MAY 10, 1863 WIFE OF J C BERRY ELMER E JUN 19, 1862 MAR 27. 1864 SON OF J C & E. HEUSER CASPER FEB 6, 1839 MAR 31, 1877 LYNCH NATHAN WILLIAMS WILLIAM J MAR 7, 1844 SEP 17. 1907 CO G 12TH KANSAS INF WILLIAMS SUSAN CAROLINE HINCH OCT 12, 1830 DEC 12, 1912
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