There will be a spring workday at Anderson Cemetery, located southwest of St. Jacob, on Saturday, April 11. We will need your shovels, post-hole diggers, flat spades and concrete shovels, as we will be setting the steel posts for the east and south fence lines, plus additional tombstones that have been repaired.
The work day will begin at 10 a.m to 3 p.m. Come any time. Sandwiches, chips, water and soda will be available at noon. We still do not have a permanent roadway. We will be going west on Beeler Lane, but don’t turn south on Beeler Lane. Instead, the Dunhams will let us park at their entrance area at 10233 Beeler Lane, at Dunham Lane, and we will carpool back through the Frutiger field to the cemetery. We will have additional works days on the second Saturday of each month, as long as weather permits.
Here is what went on this winter:
• On Nov. 19, 2014, Shirley Daiber, Randy Weiss, Russ Marti and I were at the cemetery. Shirley was dowsing in the northwest corner of the cemetery northwest of where Maj. James G. Anderson and his wife, Hannah McAdams Anderson, are buried and their large base is located.
Never miss a local story.
Shirley heard the “ding” of a tombstone in the ground. Russ and Randy found Mary M. Howard’s tombstone and base. The tombstone was face down, covered with three to five inches of dirt. Mary was the daughter of A. and M. Howard. This base definitely faces due east.
We then went to the northwest corner, found more graves and set metal posts at the head of each grave that were in the corner and out about 22 feet into the field. We placed either an “M” or “F” (male or female) in permanent ink on the steel painted posts. Shirley then continued on south along the fence and found additional graves extending west of the fence.
• Saturday, Dec. 20 was predicted to be a sunny afternoon and about 45 degrees, but it wasn’t. Shirley Daiber, Tim Korte and I arrived to help Shirley “witch” or dowse for additional graves, as we wanted to be ready to start resetting tombstones.
We have determined that most of the tombstones at Anderson do face due east, as they do in most cemeteries.
Anderson Cemetery was made into a diamond shape in 1983, with the top part of the diamond not facing true north. Originally, this was a rectangular cemetery.
The Old Goshen Road sloped southeast, as it passed on the north side of Anderson Cemetery and on the north side of Maj. Anderson’s home, which is still in use. This Goshen Road went from Alton to Shawneetown, Ill., on the Ohio River. This old Goshen Road was closed after 1872, when they started making straight roads in St. Jacob Township.
In our area, the township roads are east and west or north and south, instead in front of every farm home, as the original road had been built.
This Goshen Road that went on the north side of Anderson Cemetery is discontinued from just west of Troy, at Route 162, from down to near Mount Vernon.
We also reset Mary M. Howard’s tombstone, into her base, north of Maj. Anderson’s base.
Shirley Daiber was working her way southwest of the Maj. Anderson’s base and found a solid reading for a man. Shirley pushed the steel probe in the ground and heard that definite “ding” of when you hit a tombstone. It was under the ground six inches near the base and eight inches at the top.
Tim Korte and I started digging. It was a four-foot tombstone that had broken in half and fallen backward, almost due west, face up. It was a dirty brown. Then, we removed this stone, plus two others, and took them to my home to be cleaned so we could read all of the information. The stones were then epoxied and returned to Anderson Cemetery.
In this find was a veteran of the Civil War, Pvt. Andrew J. Hays of St. Jacob. He was in Company K of the 117th Illinois Infantry Regiment. Hays is listed in Edwin Gerling’s Civil War book. He died on Nov. 6, 1864 at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., from chronic dysentery.
(My great-great- grandfather Curtis Blakeman was the captain of this 117th Illinois Regiment and my great-grandfather, Capt. Alexander Johnston Gregg, followed Blakeman, his father-in-law.)
We also brought back the tombstones of George P. Waters, the son of George Waters, and Michael Atterberry, 1795-1844, the oldest tombstone that we have found to date, to be cleaned, epoxied and returned.
But where is Gilmore Anderson, the father of Maj. Anderson buried? We believe he may be somewhere in this Anderson farm or cemetery. Gilmore Anderson was born in 1768 and died after 1816, as that is when they came to Looking Glass Prairie, now called St. Jacob Township, and settled on this farm.
• Jan. 10 was our next workday. Shirley Daiber was witching, and I was setting the metal posts and marking the graves that she was finding.
Russ Marti, Marvin Sackett and Tim Korte started resetting tombstones and reset eight tombstones near the Anderson base. The last stone reset that day was Karl Uhde. It was put into its original base. The Uhde tombstone base also had “Uhde“ chiseled into the top.
• On Jan. 24, we had eight workers, Marvin Sackett, Russell Marti, Shirley Daiber, Sandy Nissen, Andy Jankowski, Tim Korte, myself and our newest worker, Danny Gross, who is a great-great-great-grandson of Maj. Anderson. Danny was a great addition. He was intrigued by the witching, and he is now a believer.
We were resetting more repaired tombstones and pieces of stones. I believe this Saturday count was 20 or more reset. We will check this at our next workday on April 11.
The teams of two — Marvin and Russ, Danny and Sandy, Andy and Tim — were resetting tombstones. Shirley Daiber was witching again, and I was setting the metal stakes and markers on the new graves that she was finding.
Then, Shirley heard that “ding” again. She found an infant female grave and tombstone. She was about 20 feet southwest of the large Anderson base and found Johanna Uhde’s tombstone, lying just north of her father’s tombstone. This smaller stone was only three to four inches under the ground. We had just put her father Karl Uhde’s tombstone back in its base on the 10th.
We brought back Johanna Uhde’s broken stone and that of George Waters, the father of George P. Waters, as we found the lower half of his stone.
We found the stone of Ida Mae Moore, an infant, in 2013, but we had never found the lower half. So we added a small base, as much of the information would have been covered by the pea gravel and dirt, without it.
• Our March 23 workday was a beautiful, 65-degree day, with Tim Korte returning the two lawn mowers to Anderson and giving the cemetery its first spring mowing.
Shirley Daiber was witching again, this time with the help of Marie Sackett. (It was Marie’s first time at the cemetery.) This time, Shirley found many additional graves, three foot stones and several pieces of old bases, but no tombstones.
Marvin Sackett and I were resetting the three repaired tombstones that Tim had brought along in his truck. Then Tim joined us after cutting the grass and weeds, and we reset several additional tombstones. Tim brought back three broken stones to be cleaned and repaired — Joseph Miller, Mrs. Francis Waters, the wife of George Waters, and Mrs. Spyca Trout, the wife of Daniel Trout.
We will only have these three and a few more tombstones, plus pieces of stones to reset, on April 11, so most of the work will be on the fence posts, putting them into concrete. We can certainly use your good help and need more volunteers.
(Some information from Joyce Meyer’s 1971 Anderson Cemetery inventory, Find A Grave report, Ed Gerling’s Civil War book and my files.)