Pioneer Cemeteries

Step into the past as you explore three different pioneer cemeteries within one square mile. Examine the headstones and take a peek into the lives of those settlers who came before us. Dates, engraved pictures and epitaphs help to paint a picture that may otherwise be lost from the land.

Prairie History

Friend, neighbor or traveler – in early settlement periods all were welcome within homes and often cemeteries too. Hospitality on the prairie was a welcome relief after traveling along amid a sea of waving grasses. Visitors brought news of the world to the homebound and often lonely residents. Settlers were willing to share what they had with those in need.

Pioneer cemeteries not only are a record of the people on the land, but also are a key to the land itself. Native prairie can often be seen unplowed amid the headstones.

Location Description

Each of the cemeteries has a different story to tell. The cemetery on B24 dates to approximately 1881 and includes many victims of a dipheria epidemic. Twenty six headstones have been recovered.

The small cemetery on Tanager Avenue is a family plot including Brinkert, Steuck and Buse families. Tucked within the prairie grasses is an elaborate fence around one of the plots. Many of the epitaphs are inscribed in German.

The cemetery on 370th St was originally the site of the first German Lutheran Church in O’Brien County in 1884. The headstones are arranged in a square around the former church. Many prairie flowers peek through the grasses.

Driving Directions and other Information

  • From the junction of M12 and B24 south of Hartley, head west two miles to the first cemetery plot. Continue west one mile and ½ mile south on Tanager to the second cemetery. The third cemetery is ½ mile further along Tanager and ½ mile east on 370th St
  • GPS Coordinants -
  • 1-2 acres each - Family and County owned
  • Prairie Plants, Cemeteries

Educational Activity:

  • Cemetery scavenger hunt

Visit Pioneer Cemeteries via Google Map by Clicking HERE!

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Take a short visit to some Pioneer cemeteries via the video below!

Wild Categories Photo Gallery