Sunday, July 9, 2017

The State of the Canton Cemetery 1868

Here's an interesting article I copied from the Canton (Illinois) Weekly register while looking for obituaries. I have a few ancestors who died in Fulton County, Illinois in the mid 1800's. I've never been able to find out exactly where they are buried. If the Canton cemetery was in this bad of shape in 1868, this may explain why. With "many graves" sunk or caved in at this point in time, it's no wonder they can't be found today. My relatives may not have been buried in this cemetery, but maybe other cemeteries in the area were not well-kept either.

Canton Weekly Register, April 24, 1868
"We took a stroll on Sunday last through the Canton Cemetery. Its appearance is a disgrace to our city. Where there appears to have been once more care and taste displayed in the adornment of graves, all appears now neglected, dilapidated and in miserable disorder. Fences which have been erected around family lots are broken down, and pieces lie scattered about. Trees have been cut down, and some have blown down, and brush and logs lie about promiscuously.
A few tombstones are broken and lie upon the ground, while many more are leaning and almost ready to fall. Many graves are sunk even caved in, presenting a very sad and neglected appearance. Bank weeds have been permitted to grow up and [? down briers?], bushes and noxious shrubbery are growing in rich profusion in different parts of the cemetery. The fence surrounding the cemetery is in keeping with the general neglect.
There is need of immediate and earnest attention to the matter of cleaning up and beautifying our cemetery. It should no longer remain as it is now, a disgrace and a reproach to the city. There are but few families in this city and vicinity but what have an interest in this resting place of the dead. Let all unite in doing something to give it an appearance worthy the memory of the departed. The trustees of the cemetery should be more active in their duties. There are many really beautiful monuments and tombstones in the cemetery, but an almost total lack of cultivated flowers, shrubbery, & [?]. A walk through a cemetery, where care and taste is displayed in tokens of love and regard for the memory of the departed, cannot but have a pure and holy influence upon the living, but when only noxious weeds and tangled brush and briers grow over the graves of those who have "gone before", we can only be impressed with the proneness of mortals to forget the virtues of the dead, and all those sacred lies which once bound them to the departed, and to be only absorbed in the vanities and virtues(?) or the pleasures and the profits of the present life."


  1. Parker Cemetery in Coles Co., Illinois is another cemetery where it's gone to weeds. And better yet, the farmer who owns the land around it, plowed up the driveway going to it, so you can't even drive to it. Shame because our relatives are buried there and you have to walk through tall weeds and grass a ways to get to it. Shame again.

    1. I always hate to hear that. But you know they are there, hopefully in the future something will change.