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Pioneers In Peaceful Rest, Bachelor's Grove, One Of The First Cemeteries; Lies Serene, Undisturbed

Pioneers In Peaceful Rest, Bachelor's Grove, One Of The First Cemeteries; Lies Serene, Undisturbed
Blue Island Sun-Standard
August 16, 1935

The natural elements during a century of Cook county history have nearly erased forever the names on some of the tombstones at Bachelor's Grove, one of the first pioneer cemeteries, located 7 miles southwest of Blue Island on the Midlothian turnpike, yet this little burial ground is in the main well preserved. Change within its small confines has been little compared with the vast influx around about which has resulted in the disappearance of many of the original pioneer farms in the midst of which the little grove was laid out.

On the brilliant Friday morning in August when the Sun-Standard reporter explored the cemetery with Joseph Fulton, 2451 Burr Oak avenue, who was born in Bremen township 83 years ago, it seemed surely that the trees, the grass and the wild flowers so much in profusion in that out of the way location must be the same today as 50 or 75 years ago.

On the way out the quiet little lane Mr. Fulton with a wave of his hand here and a wave there had pointed out the original homesteads of many an early settler so that at the cemetery finding the names of those he mentioned on the tombstones made one feel as though he were meeting some people he had just heard favorably mentioned. Many of those names on the stones were those of the real pioneers of the great farming region southwest of Blue Island whom Fulton knew as a boy.

As the early Blue Island Germans would remark, that region was largely settled by "Yankee farmers" several family names of which are now entirely gone from this region while descendants of others such as the Gilsons, and Fultons, and Hardys and Crandalls, Fullertons, remain well known in this territory.

One of the earliest stones in the cemetery is that of Alva Crandall, who dies on July 20, 1843 at the age of 39. It is a shaft about three feet tall, oblong in shape and well preserved in comparison to some of the others. Several Crandalls were prominent in the early history of Breman, Thornton and Worth townships and even today Dan Crandall of Worth is township road commissioner. It was a startling co-incidence that Dan Crandall should have been the "boss" on the relief project at 135th and Wood lawn the other day when that skeleton with the 25 cent piece with the 1838 date was found. The quarter is more than an ordinary souvenir for Dan Crandall a descendant of the Crandalls who settled in the country a year before that quarter was minted.

The earliest date noticed in the cemetery was that on the tombstone of William B. Nobles who died in 1838 at the age of 36. Mr. Fulton says that many of the tombstones were not erected until years after some of the people had died but the nobles stone is undoubtedly old but probably not as old as the death.

Hamilton Fulton and his wife, Mary--the parents of Joseph Fulton are buried there but their monument is comparatively recent. Hamilton died in 1876 at the age of 54 and his wife in 1896. These Fultons had settled on an 80 acre farm in Bremen township in 1847.

Near the entrance to the cemetery are the older monuments of John Fulton and descendants. John was a brother of Hamilton. There carved on a large white obelisk is the name "Joseph Fulton, died Oct. 15, 1852 at the age of 80": John Fulton died at 70 years in 1883 and his wife, Jane, at 82 in 1897.

Samuel Fulton, his son, died in 1916. His wife's people, Robert and Jane McMurray are buried close by.

Rippet is another family name in the cemetery. The Rippets owned a farm in the neighborhood but the name has since disappeared. The Fullerton lot on the west end of the cemetery is well cared for.

William Rick's monument shows that he died in 1926 and Mary Rick in 1899.

The Weber monument shows that Martha, wife of Leopold Weber died in 1856 and Catherine, her daughter, the same year. Elizabeth wife of L.M. Scott died in 1843, a whitened stone reads.

The Patrick monument is broken off. The Patricks owned a large farm near there. Walter Pattrick died in 1887 at the age of 67. Ann, the wife of Alexander Patrick, died in 1855.

James and Delaney McKee are buried side by side. One died in 1911 and the other in 1920.

One of the older monuments reveals that Alphonso Carley, age 89, lies buried there. He died in 1861. Another is the resting place of Rosa C. Kallman who died in 1866.

Robert Anton's stone reads "1861" and Elizabeth McCune's 1872. Fred Bormann was killed by an Illinois Central train, Mr. Fulton says. He was buried in 1886.

Barely decipherable are the names of Louis Buch who died in 1883 and evidently was born in 1837. A huge willow tree since cut down had disrupted this stone enclosed lot where is also buried Johanna Buch.

Hidden in a bush is the little white slab reading as near as it could be deciphered "Emmeline Dykeman" died Aug. 5, 1860, age 4 months. Nels Hermansen died in 1869.

The Hulett family graves are there including Whittemore Hulett, 1862: David Hulett 1862 and others. Large letters proclaim the resting place of Albion Smith, 1856.

One of the older tombstones is that of "Phebe, wife of George Newman died in 1864.

George, son of C. and M. Tiley who died in 1892 is one of the Tileys buried there. Lurera, wife of Henry W. Randsdell died in 1873 at the age of 72. Libby May Humphrey, daughter of J.A. Humphrey died in 1865 at the age of 11 months.

Stokes is another old family name in the cemetery.

Modern monuments sit over the last resting place of many. One of these is the Hardy monument. Another modern monument is that of the Shields family--William H. and his wife; they were the parents of Mrs. C. Hanley.

The Hamilton family are buried in the northwest portion of the cemetery including John Hamilton and William Hamilton and relatives. The Hageman's are buried near the entrance and there is one large modern monument as well as some older ones. Louis Hageman, father of Ward Hageman, well known Blue Islander, was buried in 1929. On one of the older monuments the inscription shows that Caroline Hageman, wife of John Hageman died in 1867 at the age of 52. Charles hageman died in 1925. The Warren family are buried in this cemetery including Ezra who died in 1883 at the age of 76 and his wife Susan who died in 1880 at 68. Two of the Warrens were Civil War soldiers. Stephen served in Co. C 39th Ill. Inf. Another soldier is August Aschenbach, Co. H. 24th Illinois Infantry.

No attempt has been made to make this list complete and several graves were undoubtedly missed in the visit. These are only a few of the stones on which the names are nearly gone. A record should be compiled of those before it is too late.

Leaving the little cemetery Mr. Fulton and the reporter passed Bremen township's famous old stone school house then drove up Crawford avenue to watch the huge dragline remove the stone and rock from the canal banks in construction of the passing slips for an improved water traffic--a development of 1936 near the scene of the early struggle to make farms out of the virgin land nearly a century previously.