Here is a cemetery where those buried there deserve better. This is the story of Bachelors Grove, most mentioned for its ghost stories and desecration. However this blog will focus on its history. It is has also been known as: Everdon’s Cemetery, Smith’s Cemetery, Schmidt’s Cemetery, Bachelder’s Grove, Batchelor Grove, Batchelder, Bachlor, Bachellor, and Batchel. It is believed, and I concur, that the “Batchelor Grove” variation is the most historically correct and is the version found on the cemetery plat map in the collections of the Tinley Park Historical Society and the original plat for the Village of Bremen from 1853.
Halloween is upon us. I am not at all a fan of ghosts, especially the hitchhiker stories that come up every year at this time. In the Chicago area, most of us know “Resurrection Mary” from Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. But as the television commercial goes: “but wait, there’s more! There is “Melody Millie” who supposedly visits Forest Home/Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park and the “Flapper Girl” supposedly around Jewish Waldheim and the Phantom girl at Woodlawn Cemetery. It turns out that the hitchhiker story repeats itself all over the country, in cemeteries from coast to coast.
But bowing to the season, I will breathe life into these ghosts for just one solitary blog, and then I will put them all to bed while I write about the more factual cemetery stories. Maybe this topic will inspire people to take a more serious interest in real cemetery issues. I prefer to concentrate on the history and preservation of cemeteries, the genealogical benefits, and the moral value of honoring those who have come before us. I say many times that cemeteries tell us who we were.
The hitchhiking ghost has been a staple of American folklore for many generations. Usually the hitchhiker is female and quite beautiful and her destination is invariably the cemetery. So which one is the real hitchhiker? Well, take your pick. Here are just a few on my dance card.
Grandpa and Grandma can be buried in the same exact cemetery plot and in the same cemetery and yet be in two different Illinois counties.
Impossible you say. Ask any ten people in the area where the St Mary’s Catholic Church (Buffalo Grove) cemetery is located and they will tell you “The church and cemetery is in Lake County of course, north of Lake-Cook Road on Buffalo Grove Road in Lake County” And they will boldly emphasize “Lake-Cook Road” as their proof positive. Well, they are only half right. The Cook County-Lake county boundary line actually (and rudely) cuts right through the cemetery, east to west. Half the cemetery is in Vernon Township-Lake County and the other half of the cemetery is in Wheeling Township-Cook County. How can this be you ask, when the cemetery is clearly NORTH of Lake-Cook Road, named after the dividing line between the two counties.
As much as I would like to concentrate on the larger and popular cemeteries in the Chicago area, there are so many wonderful and smaller burial grounds within Chicago and Cook county that deserve to be celebrated. Some are the cemeteries of our early settlers, who worked hard to farm the land and milk the cows, go to church, and quietly raise family. These cemeteries may not have unusual or headline grabbing stories, but they are so important to the fabric of our local history. So this blog describes the quiet Immanuel United Church Cemetery better known back in the day as Hoosier’s Grove Immanuel Cemetery, now within Streamwood. Continue reading “Hoosier Grove Immanuel Cemetery – Early hardworking farming families”
There is much discussion as to how (or if) a cemetery can be used for other than burials. Some consider it sacred ground and say that nothing other than visitation is appropriate. Others take a wider view, saying that a cemetery is a place where history can be celebrated with cemetery tours and reenactments of historical figures.
Graceland hosts many popular tours. And still others, including some Chicago area cemeteries, encourage the above to be shared actively by the living. Lets look at the wide range of ideas: Continue reading “Can a Cemetery co-exist with the living?”
“If we get separated while walking through the cemetery, meet me at Highland Avenue and Main Avenue”.
Yes, streets, roads, and avenues actually have names in some cemeteries. I would guess that this topic may not have been often mentioned before. I was fascinated by seeing actual street signs in Jewish Waldheim. I am not sure how many of the larger cemeteries name their streets, but I would like to know more. The two Chicago area cemeteries are Graceland on Chicago’s north side and Jewish Waldheim in Forest Park.
If you are into giving trivia questions, one or more of these street names are sure to be tough to guess. As a side note, St. Adalbert’s Catholic Cemetery has a city street (Newark) bisecting it. And All Saint’s Catholic Cemetery has two sections, on both sides of River Road.
In order to be politically correct, I have omitted signs like “Dead End” or “One Way- Do not Enter”’ Addition and comments welcome! Continue reading “Cemetery Street Names”
Cemeteries command little respect when the “powers that be” want to build or expand an airport. Our departed ancestors are simply “in the way” when we focus on aeronautical progress. The classic and most recent case was the destruction of St. Johannes Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery on the west end of O’Hare International Airport, until a few years ago, at the foot of runway 9-R. There, some 1,400 people and five acres of cemetery of the St. John United Church of Christ in Bensenville, were dug up to expand the “the world’s busiest airport.” Another nearby cemetery, Resthaven, clings to existence.
But this story is about a third, least known cemetery over there by runway 32-R, on the far eastern edge of the airport. It was the first to be removed in the name of progress. Lets look at Wilmer’s Old Settler Cemetery also known as the cemetery for the Evangelical Zions Society of Leyden Township. Continue reading “The third and least known cemetery in O’Hare Airport”