Wednesday, September 13, 2017
St. Bernadette’s Catholic School

“The History of Pioneer and Riverside Cemeteries”




Tom Sutter, Gwen Sargeant, Laura Leimer, Mark Moderson , John Marx, Brian Schneider, Christine Williams, Linda Muldoon, Jim Krueger and Diana Sandberg.

Upcoming Special Events

October 19 6 pm – Toast to Appleton History, AHS Wine, Beer and Cheese Event, Grand Meridian, Appleton

December 2 9-12:30 AHS History Fair ADI indoor farmers market, City Center

2017 Appleton History Speaker Series

January 11 Vulcan replica and early hydroelectricity – Tom Seidl
February 8 Appleton parades – Greg Otis
March 8 St. Joseph’s Church and School, 150 years – Jim Krueger
April12 NativeAmericans–PeterPeregrine
May 10 Appleton East High School – 50 years – Corey Otis
June14 LawrenceUniversity–ErinDix(CanceledPowerOutage)
July 12 Cloud Buick - Steve Cloud
August9 AtticTheater–BerrayBillington
September 13 Pioneer and Riverside Cemeteries – Gwen Sargeant
October11 Lawrence University-ErinDix
November8 TheAppletonPictureShow--Bringyourownphotosforshowandtell!


•AHS Officers:

A.President - Thomas Sutter
B.Vice President - Gwen Sargeant
C.Secretary – James Richter
D.Treasurer – Laura Leimer

•AHS Board of Directors:

A. Terms through November 2017:


1. Mark Moderson
2. John Marx
3. Laura Leimer
4. Diana Sandberg

B. Terms through November 2018:

1. Tom Sutter
2. Christine Williams
3. James Richter

C. Terms through November 2019:

1.Linda Muldoon
2.Jim Krueger
3.Gwen Sargeant
4.Brian Schneider

Fund Raising Committee:

A. James Richter, Chair
B. Gwen Sargeant, Vice Chair
C. Laura Leimer, Treasurer
D. Linda Muldoon
E. Brian Schneider
F. David Buss
G. Jack Voight

Fund Raising SubCommittee-Promotions:

A. Mark Moderson, Chair
B. Jim Krueger, Vice Chair
C. Karen Moderson

Building and Grounds Committee:

A. John Marx, Chair
B. Gwen Sargeant, Vice Chair
C. Laura Leimer, Treasurer
D. James Krueger
E. Brian Schneider

Archives and Artifacts Preservation Committee:

A. Diana Sandberg, Co-Chair
B. Brian Schneider, Co-Char
C. James Richter, Secretary
D. Tom Sutter
E. Laura Leimer
F. David Buss
G. Christine Williams
H. Gwen Sargeant
I. Dave Kalz

Additional Committee Chairs are as follows:

A. Mark and Karen Moderson, Principal Organizers
B. Brian Schneider, Technical Resources
C. David Buss and Diana Sandberg, Research Specialists
D. Gwen Sargeant, Public Relations and Web Page
E. Christine Williams, Monthly Programs
F. Gwen Sargeant, Publications


President Tom Sutter called the meeting to order, welcomed all in attendance, and thanked them for their being there and for their support for the organization. He also thanked Berray Billington for his “dramatic” presentation on the history of Attic Theater last month.

On a sad note, Sutter mentioned the passing of our member Cliff Siebers and also of long time Appleton businessman Les Behm,

Sutter reported that we had a very successful cemetery walk in August with about 125 folks in attendance.

Mark Moderson gave an update on the plans for the wine and cheese fund raiser on October 19 and the History Fair on December 2nd.

Sutter reminded folks that the next meeting presentation will be Erin Dix from Lawrence University which originally was planned for June but the tornado interfered. Sutter also noted that the November meeting will be our annual meeting with the election of 4 board members.

Sutter noted the Night the Lights Went On event at the Hearthstone historic home on September 16 and the October 21 Barnes & Noble book fair to benefit the Society. Sutter also noted some recent donations to the building fund by Gary Schierl, Nancy and Larry Rice and Renee and Tom Boldt and encouraged others to give and thanked those who had already contributed.

*Thanks were given to the Post Crescent and the Bargain Bulletin for their continuing publicity for the Society.
*Asked all to renew their annual membership if they haven’t yet done so.

NOTE: The door prize was won by Jean Johnson who chose a Spats discount certificate. Coincidentally, Joan is one of the daughters of Jesse Earl Ballard who was caretaker at Riverside Cemetery for many years.

Sutter then introduced the speaker, Gwen Sargeant.

Reports of Officers and Board Members:

*AHS Wine, Beer and Cheese Event Co-Chair Mark Moderson gave a report on the upcoming fund raising event:

A Toast to Appleton History

The Appleton Historical Society is hosting a fundraising event on October 19, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Grand Meridian to raise money to help fund Our New Appleton History Museum at 128 N. Durkee Street. We are asking community support for donations as well as an invitation to be part of this exciting event.

Our exciting event will feature Wine, Cheese and Beer tasting, along with delicious selections of Hors d’ oeuvres and tasty deserts for all that attend. A bucket raffle, door prizes, silent auction, and 50/50 raffle will be running throughout the evening. We hope you all will attend.

Tickets are $25.00 a person in advance, $30.00 at the door. Corporate tables with seating for eight are available for $250.00 and will feature your company name on the center of the table.

PROGRAM: “The History of Pioneer and Riverside Cemeteries ”
PRESENTER: Gwen Sargeant

Speaker Background:

Gwen Sargeant enjoys researching Appleton history. Gwen is the C.O.O. of Appleton Bicycle Shop, and has been working in the family bicycle business for 25 years. Gwen's Grandpa started Appleton Bicycle Shop in 1939. Gwen and her husband Joe have 3 children: Joey, a freshmen at West High School; Helen, 8th grade and Auggie, 6th grade who both attend Kaleidescope Academy at the Roosevelt Campus. She is also Vice President and a Board Member of the Appleton Historical Society, as well as serving on several committees.

The Program

“Tonight, I will be presenting the history of the Appleton Pioneer Cemetery and Riverside Cemetery Appleton. Both cemeteries are tied to Appleton’s rich history. Pioneer Cemetery, a ghost of the past and Riverside Cemetery a historical gem still existing today. This is by no means an exhaustive history. I could spend many, many more hours searching the depths of the minutes of the association to create an even more extensive history. The cemetery history will likely be an evolving history as more comes to light and more pictures come from people’s private collections. If you have pictures please bring them to the November picture show.

The first recorded funeral in Appleton took place on Oct. 15th, 1849. The child of H.N. Day passed away. A.B. Randall preached and then assisted in burying the dead. It unknown where this first burial took place. I imagine in that moment they had to consider how and where they would bury the dead in the future.

The first cemetery was a community endeavor. It was laid out on 2 acres donated by Mr. Amos Lawrence on the western part of the old Appleton plat. (Crescent 1-5- 1854) in the early 1850’s.

It was a section of land northwest of the intersection of N. Brown St. (Superior) and W. Edwards Streets (Washington Street)-(current Appleton Post Crescent site). This slide shows the inset of the 1853 map. This map was given to the Appleton Public Library by Mrs.Grignon. The photograph is an 1867 picture. You canseetheHerculesSchool,whichisalsoonthemap. Youcanalsoseethechurch on the left the Episcopal Church and the church on the right across from the School is the First Baptist. Behind the churches by a city block is the Pioneer Cemetery. The cemetery extended west nearly to the Mill Creek Ravine and was bordered on the north side by the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad tracks and Fisk Street (Franklin Street). (PC 4-30-1932 with adapted names for the original map 1853 by GS). Mr. James Blood owned a small piece of land between the cemetery plat and the ravine. A number of people buried their friends there supposing it would be donated since it was perfectly wild and separated by the ravine from his other land. However, the price for the land was so exorbitant that they were obliged to give up the idea of getting the land.

The first burial in the Pioneer Cemetery in 1850 was Erasmus Beach and the second AmeliaBateman,astudentwhodiedoftyphoidfever. Over700peoplewereburied in the Pioneer Cemetery altogether between 1850 and 1872. This slide an inset of the hand drawn birds eye map of 1874 shows the tiniest of headstones below the trees.

An editorial appeared in 1853 in the crescent by Sam Ryan, Jr., "Our Village Cemetery. --It seems that the place of burial for the dead of Appleton is owned by a cemetery association. We paid a visit to the spot a few evenings since and were pleased to find it occupying such a beautiful location. We now suggest to the

directors or trustees that the grounds should be laid out into lots with suitable walks and alleys and the brush cleared off leaving a sufficient quantity of trees for ornament and shade; and the whole enclosed by a neat and substantial fence.

The Appleton Cemetery Association met on January 2nd, 1854 and responded to the editorial. “Mr. Editor, the Appleton Cemetery Association is in existence.”

The trustees in 1854 included Jackson Tibbits, P.H. Smith, R.A. Law, A. B. Bowen, Robert R. Bateman, A.C. Darling, George Lamphear, Frederick Packard, and James Gilmore. The trustees planned to meet the first day of March to measure, survey, and fence the area of the cemetery.

Late in 1854 the cemetery was greatly beautified according to the Ryan’s history of Outagamie County.

Appleton became a city in May of 1857 and the cemetery was a political topic of the day in Amos Story’s campaign. Discussions were already underway about the current location of the cemetery, its size, and place in the community. Amos Story passed away in 1862 and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery. Mayor Gilmore, a cemetery trustee, carried the same interest in having a sufficient place for the dead to rest.

In 1862, Mayor Johnson gave a speech. Johnson talked about the cemetery being a liability, it would soon be outgrown, and economically it was in the cemetery association’s interest to buy a new site.

July 23rd, 1870 an article appeared in the crescent entitled a “City without a Cemetery”

“Such a city is Appleton, almost,” the Crescent goes on to describe the Pioneer Cemetery.... “Take away some two acres of clayey ground near the depot, surrounded by a coarse board fence without walk or adornment, either natural or artificial and Appleton is literally a city without a cemetery.

The need of a new cemetery for the city is not a new discovery. It has long been confused. Thepresentcemeteryisofinsufficientsize. Therearenowbutfewvacant lotsandnoneexceptintheravinewhichcanonlybeusedagreatcost. Exigenciesof evenourpresentpopulationwillsoonrequireamplerspace. Thereisnoopportunity of enlargement by addition. But even were the present cemetery large enough or could it be mad so its location is against it. Within three blocks of the heart of the city it lacks the retirement fitting to such a place. And further it is seldom that a place of burial so near business is long left inviolate. A man who was sensitive about having his tombstone used as the hitching post of a beer saloon or about having his bones dug up to make from for engine houses would wish to be laid in a place somewhat less exposed to the encroachments of business enterprise and speculation than is over burying ground. The town is fast growing in that directions. Men do not like grave stones opposite front doors. Neither doesthewood pile of some adjacent back yard add to the tender associations that should surround the resting place of the departed.”

August 1870, the cemetery association was investigated and the books reviewed. James Gilmore was the treasurer and secretary at the time. According to the statute a meeting of the stock holders couldn’t be held until the first Monday in January at which time a new board would be chosen. At this time, the cemetery has less than $150 on hand and over $400 due from purchasers of lots. The association needs to remove a large portion of the forested trees in the spring, maintain the walks properly, and put in a good fence. Everyone who purchased a lot can vote to see that a there is a desirable result.

Leading up to the cemetery association annual meeting in 1871 the cemetery association asked that lot owners paid special attention to the election for the board of trustees. All who paid for lots should come prepared to vote. After the new board is organized, undoubtedly all will be served with notice to pay for their lots or remove their dead.

In 1871, the Appleton Cemetery Association was reorganized by an act of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Jackson Tibbits, Samuel Ryan, N.M. Edwards, James T Reeve, Joseph Harriman, James W Hutchinson, William A Breitung, William G Whorton and Cosby Ketchum were elected as trustees at the meeting February 20th, 1871, and the association was legalized. March 14th, 1871 an act of the legislature made it official.

In the spring of 1872, the city set apart 20 acres for the purpose of a cemetery. It was resolved that if the cemetery association would plat, map, and stake this tract the city would deed it 15 of the acres set apart. The city retained 5 acres for the potter’sfield. ThemainentrancecamefromSecondAve.(weknowitasWisconsin Avenue) the road was called Cemetery Road, as it led from Second Avenue to the cemetery. At this point Brucke Street (we know it as Pacific Street across the Bellaire/Peabody Park ravine) didn’t yet exist and the river route was often washed out.

CaptainN.M.Edwardssetaboutplattingtheinitial15acresforsale. Thelotswere in 12 grave sections. The lots sold for $10 without perpetual care. The initial lot sales took place in the fall of 1872. J. E. Harriman, secretary and treasurer noted in the Appleton crescent that the sale of those lots secured the inauguration of improvements to the grounds on a grand and beautiful scale so tastefully and elegantlyrepresentedontheplat. Thecrescentwenton“Readeritisinyourinterest and to the interest of your friends that select and secure a lot now, while the prices are low and desirable locations are available. The secretary of the association will be present at the cemetery from 2-4 o’clock each after noon until July 1st. He will have the chart and will give all the information desired.”

The first burial at Riverside Cemetery was that of the Rev. Thomas W. Orbison on November 10th, 1872. At the time of his burial his wife was distraught over the thought of him being buried in a lonely place. In 1872, 3 more persons joined Rev. Orbison. It wouldn’t be long before many would join his company along the Fox River.

J.E. Harriman hired the first superintendent ofRiverside Cemetery, Dennis Meidam. The designs of Capt. Edwards were carried out by Professor Yocum. The lots, avenues, drives, and paths were laid out with the necessary improvements by Dennis Meidam under the direction of J. E. Harriman. The Appleton Crescent noted that “Riverside will be by far the most attractive Cemetery in the Valley of the Fox River.”

In the fall of 1873, 20-30 persons were removed from the old Pioneer Cemetery to Riverside. Among them were Anson Ballard and children, Rev, H.C, Dickinson, Mr. Gerry Grand, Mrs. Sam Ryan, Jr. Mrs. Robertson, and more. Next season more will be removed. It appears often in the papers the request for families to arrange to move their dead loved ones to the new cemetery. The new cemetery association beginsplansforaddingadditionalacreageandbeautification. TheCrescentdelights in saying “Appleton likes to be ahead in everything. Let us therefore hope that her citizens will not be negligent in expenditures for beatifying the last resting place of their loved ones.”

In 1874, they commencedimproving the street on the river route to the cemetery. This street is called Green Bay Rd. Green Bay road was called such because it led all the way up to Green Bay. It was an old Native American and French Creole route along the river.

Today a road, well more of a trail exists coming up to the cemetery and along the river on the Cemetery’s property. The photo on the left is from the bottom and the photo on the right was taken about half way up. The cemetery stone in the distance that you can see is the Conkey Family Monument on block C.

At the annual meeting of 1875, trustees were elected, they included NM Edwards, Sam Ryan, Jackson Tibbits, Capt. Spaulding, W.G Whorton, JE Harriman, JT Reeve, EC Goff and Herman Erb.

By October 1875 145 burials have taken place at the new Riverside Cemetery with 32 of them being reinternments removed from the old cemetery. At this time, there werea large number of beautiful monumentsamongthemMr.Mudridge, Mrs. Pfennig, LN Benoit, JP Buck, Mrs. HF Patton, JH Carver, HS Babcock, Mrs. Orbison, Sam Ryan Jr. WI Butler, Hutchinson, DW Briggs, Mrs. Hobart, J.A. Ryan, W Robertson, MH Lyon. Powers and Hume, the proprietors of the Appleton

Marble works, furnished many of the elegant and beautiful designs. The Appleton post said “the quality of their work is unsurpassed. The appearance of Riverside Cemetery furnishes ample evidence of their taste and skill.”

The crescent October 21, 1875 has this report: (Artifact 1 Separate page)

Messer’s Berg and Arndt were contracted to complete the grading on a new northern route to the Riverside Cemetery. A new easier grade was made from North Street to Green Bay Street with a new culvert put at the ravine crossing. Now there is no danger of it being washed out. The drive is now open to the public and is one of the most beautiful in the city. It lessens the distance the cemetery by over one half. Judge Harriman is tireless in his efforts to make this cemetery attractive and approaches pleasant.

1875, word comes that the cattle are constantly breaking into the old cemetery, the fences are dilapidated, and there is not fund from which to pay the needed repairs unless the common council should decide to make an appropriation from the general city fund. Another push is made to for persons to move their relatives to the cemetery.

1876 Mayor J.E.Harriman adds 12 acres to the Riverside Cemetery plat. Dennis Meidam superintendent of the cemetery has cleared out underbrush, created the avenues of the plat, dug ravines to run throughout the cemetery for drainage and for appearance. The ravines will add to the immensely beautiful grounds. TheCrescentsaidthehandbuiltravinesboreastrikingresemblancetothe natural landscape of scars.

1877 the Crescent noticed the additional work laid out by Judge Harriman. The cemetery saw many improvements including the monument erected by O. W. Clark. The first greenhouses were built south of block M with Dennis Meidam in charge. Throughout the years the Cemetery ran the Greenhouse, the Greenhouse brought in more funding than the lot sales.

1878 David Smith’s monument has arrived. This was reported in all the papers and was big news of the day. A sketch was shown in the newspaper. It was made in his native Scotland and the material was the best Scotch granite. The crescent said, “It will serve to greatly beautify Riverside Cemetery”.

The decision was made in 1879 that trustees of Riverside Cemetery would remove the remains of the soldiers from the old cemetery to the new. The decision was announced at a common council meeting to make preparations to commemorate Decoration Day. The announcement was made by OW Clark Mayor, PJ Cirkel City Clerk and EC Goff President of Riverside Cemetery association.

In 1880, we caught up with our first vandals listed in the paper. Two women were prosecuted for willfully, and wantonly mutilating choice shrubbery in Riverside Cemetery. You cannot pick flowers in the sacred ground. Section 4443

R. S. established that punishment for such things would be imprisonment for no more 3 months or a fine not exceeding $100.

In 1888,greenhouses were removed to a more accessible location and convenient place at the end of the Street car line. The cemetery association erected a new Riverside Greenhouse. Dennis Meidam was in charge of the Greenhouse and all profits were used to beautiful and support the cemetery. The street care began operations in 1886 from AppletonJunction to Riverside Cemetery. The Greenhouses were eventually sold in 1908.

After many yearsand many requests made by the cemetery association in March of 1889 the State Legislature required the city of Appleton, to pay to move the last bodies from the old cemetery. The city agreed to pay $8 per removal and internment. “No remains shall be left undiscovered.” They estimated that there are between 200-300 bodies left to be moved. The process of moving began in 1889 and continued.

In November 1891, Dennis Meidam and a force of four men were engaged to move the bodies of an additional 6-8 people to Riverside cemetery. The old burials were near the Northwestern depot. One of the graves opened dated back to 1850 and was one of the oldest in the city. The persons were re-interned in the city potter’s field until part of it was washed away by the River. At that point Dennis Meidam suggested that he be allowed to bury the poor throughout the cemetery, a more discrete method.

In 1892, an additional three blocks of the new lots were added in the Northwest portion of the cemetery. That addition added 200 more lots to the plat. A twenty- foot avenue encircles the blocks in widening curves with an eight walk on the other side. Lots on the avenue of 16 x20 feet will sell for $50 and back lots on sale for $40. Some smaller lots for 35 and $30. The Greenhouse yielded an excellent income to help support the cemetery.

March of 1894 it was declared that all the bodies had been removed. The last work being done on March 31st, 1894. 366 removals were done and only about 30 with bodies being claimed, the rest buried in the city lot at Riverside Cemetery.

There were many ideas about what should become of the old cemetery. Including the suggestions that the ravine from Pearl Street all the way to the Cemetery should be turned into a city park. The trustees were given authorization to sell the old cemetery grounds in 1889. The Cemetery association paid taxes on the Pioneer Cemetery property until it’s sale in 1900 to Hettinger Lumber. John Hettinger President and Edward C. Schmidt Vice President purchased the property for $500. In 1905, workers building a house on the west end of Edwards Street (we know it as Washington) discovered a pine box with a child in it. They found an additionalchild’sskullwithmoreexcavationofthesite. Thiswasthefirstdiscovery

despite the additional houses and lumber yards built on the site. Throughout the years additional bodies were unearthed through to the 1930’s.
1903 The cemetery trustees traded Block M in the new additions for block K which was currently occupied by the old soldiers and location of the Decoration Day celebrations each year. The lots in K had become completely full. The new location on M would give the veterans more room for a monument and additional grave space. The 25 veterans buried on K were removed to block M. Appleton began celebrating Decoration Day in 1868 at the Pioneer Cemetery in honor of the Civil War Veterans. Appleton continue today celebrating Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, with a parade and ceremony on Block M at the GAR monument. The Grand Army of the Republic unveiled at the 1925 Decoration Day services it’s new granite square monument. The monument cost $2000.

1906 the Cemetery officers began planning for a chapel, a committee was put in charge of the arrangements. The committee include John McNaugthon Chairman, George Miller, and Humphrey Pierce. The trustees approved of the designs in March of 1910.

The much-needed chapel and vault construction began. It was decided that the chapel would be erected near the main entrance to the cemetery where the old Greenhouses were located. The vault will hold 40 bodies and the chapel would seat 104 people.

In August 1910, they pews for the chapel had arrived and the finishing touches were being put on the interior wood work for the chapel and the office. The limestone walls and green Spanish tiles added a touch to the building. The structure would soon be ready for use. W.W. Waterman was the architect for the structure and it cost $11,000.

In 1911, A.W. Preist gave the cemetery association $3000 to construct a bridge over a new river side entrance to the cemetery. This was the second noble gift of this philanthropist. AWPreistalsodonatedtheSoldier’sSquareMemorial. Asapartof the gift of the bridge AW Preist was able to choose the location for his mausoleum and move his family to that burial location. The Bridge was removed in 1989 due to its deterioration because of age. The bridge had a large stone chiseled with “A.W. Preist Memorial Bridge. That stone today sits behind Hearthstone. The home of A.W. Preist and his wife.

Additional sections were in 1903, 1905, and 1910. This 1917 map is culmination of those additions.

Dennis Meidam retired as superintendent of the cemetery after 51 years in 1924. (Artifact #2 to read) Stephen Meidam takes over for a few months before he is fired.

Manyfamilyburialstookplaceovertheyears. Thesepicturesincludetheburialsof Joe and Carrie Steidl and Robert Kay Koester, a baby. The Steidl Plot is on block M and the pictures taken near Memorial Day. The platform for the ceremony is erected in the background of the picture in the upper left. EarlBallardandWilliamJohnstonarehiredtobethecaretakersofthecemetery. At this point, all of the graves are still dug by hand. Some new rules included that all the boxes must be made of concrete. There can no longer be the use of the pine box. The cemetery markers are limited to 20 inches in height and the monument dealers must confer with Mr. Ballard before a new stone can be erected.

Earl Ballard reported in February 1929 that the cemetery vault was practically full. Under the current conditions it takes a full day or more to dig the grave. This is the first year the vault has been so crowded with over 50 bodies stored. In 1928, there were 207 bodies buried in total.

Jesse Earl Ballard and his wife moved into the caretaker’s house. They raised 5 daughters in this home. The back entrance to the home was the most used entrance. Although, the girls’ dates were the only ones who would use the front. Acrossfromthehousetherewasafieldtheyplayedkickthecan,croquet,and more. Jesse Earl Ballard raised 350 peonies, a large vegetable garden, corn, and tomatoes.

The photo on the left is 1936 in front of the garage/shop area. The girls are left to right Arlene, Lavohn, Nona, Jean, and Carol. The picture on the right was a re- creation of girl’s picture in 2014 same order.
I had a chance to talk with Lavohn, Nona, Jean, and Arlene’s son Terry Maves. We talked for a number of hours about the cemetery. Growing up there was a neat experience. Many of family members worked at the cemetery over the years from the office, to helping with Memorial Day preparations, to digging graves. Their family cared for this amazing jewel of history.

Memorial Day was a beautiful and reverent affair. Earl got up at 4 a.m. on that day tomakesureeveryveteran’sgravehadageraniumplantandaflag. Thegateswould stay closed until the time the parade entered. Earl would open the gates. Nancy Peterson leads a group of volunteers to place flags on the more than 2000 veterans graves.

Earl climbed to the top of the Tower for these great shots. The photo on the left looking west up Pacific Street (which was known as Brucke Street when the Pacific Street bridge was first built). The photo on the right looking Northwest from the tower.

During Earl’s tenure, this neat pamphlet on the cemetery was developed. The cemeteryalsoaddedthegatesandironfencing. Thegatestothecemeterywerethen and are now closed at dusk and opened at dawn.

The entrance gained a water fountain and pool at the base of the Bell Tower. The Pool is currently filled with flowers each year. Jesse Earl Ballard retired in 1965 after 41 years of service to Riverside Cemetery.
When Jesse Ballard retired the following appeared in the Post Crescent Oct. 31st, 1965 entitled “Never a ghost, says Cemetery Worker”

“Over 40 years in the cemetery and not one single ghost, alive or dead. That’s the record claimed by long time cemetery worker, Earl Jesse Ballard, who at 72, will retire from his job as the manager of the Riverside Cemetery in Appleton on Jan.1 “There’s nothing out here at night to be afraid of” Ballard remarked last week when asked to recall his experiences. In fact, there’s no safer place than a cemetery at night.

Ballard admits he was somewhat apprehensive about taking the job as the assistant manager back in 1924 when the cemetery association hired him.
As a young fellow, I was reluctant to go with my parents to funerals. I was a little upset by dead people and didn’t care to have too much to do with it, Ballard said. However, he said, several months duty with the Allied Forces in combat in France had acquainted him with the dead and dying so he was willing to try a cemetery job for $75 a month. Although, Ballard cannot recount any ghosts he has come across in the cemetery there have been some strange goings on on his side of the iron fence. OnceIheardsnoringbehindadirtpileanditturnedouttobeadrunk. Hewasmore frightened at being where he was than I was in finding him Ballard said. Halloween is always a big time I the cemetery Ballard said. Some human haunts would find pleasure in hanging a steel grave marker back in the cemetery during the long Halloweennight. OtherTimeshesaidhewouldfindcollegestudentswanderingthe cemetery alone, looking for missing clues in a scavenger hunt.

One young Student, a freshman, walked from tombstone to tombstone all night long before Ballard found him in the forming and helped him figure out the clues to the missing treasure.
Twice relatives have visited the graves of their loved ones and killed themselves on the spot. One young man, after visiting the cemetery walked in to the Fox River and drowned.

Visiting a cemetery isn’t as popular a past time today as it was in the years when Ballard first began work. We used to have them come every day and sit for hours near a grave. Some who were lonely use to talk to the grave stones. Every grave in the sprawling 93 year old cemetery is known to Ballard. He can each Memorial Day without checking the records point out the location of most graves for inquiring visitors and he find he is seldom wrong.”

Rudolph and Phyllis Blatecky were farmers from the Antigo area. Rudy worked as the superintendent and Phyllis in the office. They were hired by the cemetery association in 1968.
Rudy and Phyllis brought many different species of trees to the cemetery after thecemeterysufferedgreatlyfromDutchelmdisease. Thecemeteryoriginallyhad over185elmsandonly30wereleft. Rudycouldfixanythingandbuildupwhatever thecemeteryneededtogetthejobdone. Rudybuiltatreewateringdeviceonwheels thathisdaughterPeggytookfromtreetotreewateringthenewplantings. Rudyand Phyllis developed the tree walk that many students of Appleton schools can remember from the 80’s and 90’s.

A new house was also built during the Blatecky’s time at the cemetery. Rudy was superintendent of the cemetery for 21 years.
A few words from Rudy’s eulogy Rudy Blatecky was among many things a beautifully simple person. He found joy in the greatest of God’s first that most of us take for granted, the trees, the birds, the squirrels, the flowers. He was a connoisseur of nature....

Rudy was much loved among his employees at the cemetery where he and Phyllis worked. He took time to care for his employees, to know their needs, and to offer the support they needed. And his unselfish way with them worn him a highly respected place in their hearts. SinceRudyretiredmanythingshavestayedthesameandmanyhavechanged. Trees still come down and new trees are planted. New souls arrive for burial in a variety of ways.”

Special Thanks to:

Terry Maves
Lavohn Miles
Nona Peterson
Jean Johnson
Judy Gault
Debbie LeAnne Plumb
Nancy Peterson
Kay Forton
Joe Sargeant
Tom Sutter

James L. Richter , AHS Secretary, 9/27/17

9-2017 Pioneer and Riverside Cemeteries - Gwen Sargent Denise Behreandt