Monday, April 18, 2016
A few years ago a student claimed that there were Civil War vets buried near his home in a small cemetery. I quickly forgot about it, thinking he was mistaken. However, after this young man brought it up on another occasion, my interest piqued. A good friend of mine, Fred Liljegren, went to the site one day after school and, sure enough, it was exactly what my student had mentioned. Six Civil War vets were buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, formerly known as Scriven.
This began the Parker Prairie History Club's interest in the abandoned cemetery. The group talked to the township to get approval to clean up and maintain the cemetery. For the past two years, the group has done just that. On top of the maintenance, the group has investigated the history of this interesting spot.
Using dowsing rods (an admittedly unscientific method) it appears that there are far more people buried at this site than the number of markers that are there. While some of this is due to the fact that not everyone had a markers placed at their burial site during the time period when this cemetery was active. However, oral histories indicate that there used to be over one hundred markers. So where did they go? Well that is the mystery. This area may have been used at one point as a pasture. This may have led to damage. It is clear in looking at the landscape that there are unmarked graves. The ground has settled in spots that indicate a burial location. Furthermore, blue flag blossoms- a flower commonly used to mark burial sites- blossom each year.
The cemetery is on donated land that residents could use for burial plots if they grubbed out the tress. It was an active cemetery from the 1870s until the 1930s. Six Civil War vets, including Thomas Costello and Benjamin Rice are interned here. Hanna Foote, the Scriven postmaster, is buried there. According to Spruce Hill Remembered, there was a diptheria epidemic in 1896 and there are at least three documented cases of children who passed who do not have a death certificate on file or a grave marker. Furthermore, Spruce Hill township had a population of nearly seven hundred around 1900. Those who passed away needed a place for a proper burial and Oak Hill fit the bill.
So, how will the History Club find out how many are buried there? Well, we may not be able to. We have attempted to enlist Ground Penetrating Radar, but it is expensive and our attempt to procure a grant has been painfully slow moving. The mystery remains...
More on the Oak Hill Cemetery will be posted in the future.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Kelly Mesker stopped by my classroom the other day and dropped off some items of interest. The attached photo of the 1903 Elevator being knocked down was of particular interest to some of my students (they are always interested in the destructive events in this town's history). According to 100 Years of Community, the Parkers Prairie Centennial book, G.H. Schoutz owned and operated the first Elevator in town. It changed hands a few times before it was demolished, but Mr. Shoutz remains an interesting, somewhat elusive case and the PPHS History Club is going to make an effort to track down his personal history. Some online searching turned up little, save for some interesting notes in google books. More info on this gentleman to come. As always, if anyone reading this has information, please share! Until then, click here for some images of the elevator's fall.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Monday, April 4, 2016
In 1988, Phil Revering started a fishing league in Parkers Prairie. There were 11 teams the first year which turned into 16 teams during the second. This is when they decided to limit the amount of teams each year to 16 because interest had generated, but public access was limited. The league fished on different lakes around the area including Adely, Carlos, Clitheral, Big Chippeawa, and many more. The attachment (click on the image above) shows names of teams, details on fish caught from each lake, and other things the league needed like rules and a tentative schedule.