Cemetery History

The first records are signed by Fr. Heller, so what we know about prior deaths comes from the tombstones. The oldest tombstone is for Eliz O’Shaughnessy, buried 1870 at the age of 2, with Elizabeth O’Connell, buried in 1872 at the age of 17. We also have three priests buried here, Fr. D. F. O’Keefe, who was baptized in this parish and ordained November 5, 1885. He died December 4, 1886. He has a beautiful large headstone on the northern (or the Irish) side of the old part of the cemetery (that is closest to the church). Also Frs. Duhr and Ortner are buried in the southeastern side of the old part of the cemetery (as befitting their German ancestry). The local joke is that the Germans made the Irish be buried on the northern, or “cold” side of the cemetery. Walking along the eastern border of the cemetery tells much about the early settlers, the names Gerlach, Kieffer, Shaffer, Ruhr, Saam, O’Shaughnessy, Wiederhold, King, Kimmes, Fox, Illa, Lorentz, Eckart, Miesch, O’Keefe, O’Rourke, Brennan, Nilan all occur over and over. Many of these early settlers have descendents still in this parish; other descendents live elsewhere, but still think of this as their ancestral home parish. As is evident, this parish has always been a mixture of German and Irish, as it still is, with an occasional Scandinavian, usually a convert allowed in