O’Fallon IL cemetery detectives recognize a war soldier
Ten descendants of a War of Independence soldier were on hand when local historical and civic groups honored the Cape. Joseph Carr with a commemorative marker in a St. Clair County cemetery.
Carr survived the Valley Forge winter quarters with the then general. George Washington as Minutemen Culpepper. He later became one of the first pioneers in Illinois.
His final resting place is at Rider Cemetery off Greenmount Road, north of Greenmount Cemetery on Greenmount Trail. The address is 2670 Green Mount Trail, Belleville.
A plaque was dedicated in his honor.
The Belleville Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, in collaboration with the O’Fallon Historical Society, the Lewis and Clark Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Six-Mile Prairie Chapter of the Children of the American Revolution, sponsored the event. The CAR was the guardian of the colors.
“We had a great turnout,” said Thomas Schwartztrauber, president of the O’Fallon Cemetery Detectives and vice-president of the O’Fallon Historical Society. “The flags were flying beautifully.”
Schwartztrauber and his group of dedicated volunteers worked to repair this historic cemetery, including the team of Babe Papproth, Tim Ogle, Dan Fietsam, Vern Malare and Tom’s wife, Sharon, as well as other helpers from the ‘team.
“We worked to clean up and find a lot of buried tombstones and repair them, and put them back upright,” he said.
“The place looks fantastic from the start. There is always a gentle breeze that flies the flags, ”he said.
Revolutionary war soldiers
O’Fallon Cemetery detectives placed markers for American Patriots Pvt. Larkin Rutherford and Lieutenant “Turkey Hill” Scott at Shiloh Valley Cemetery in Shiloh Valley Cemetery, Shiloh and for the Reverend John Mason Peck at Rock Spring Cemetery, O’Fallon Township, St Clair County.
In November 2019, they dedicated a memorial cenotaph to the American Patriot Drummer Boy Pvt. George Bridges North Carolina Militia, British POW and Illinois pioneer.
He is buried in Bridges Cemetery on Hagemann Road. George Bridges is said to be the only American patriot buried in O’Fallon Township. There are six American Patriots buried in the Shiloh Valley Cemetery.
Who are the cemetery detectives?
All passionate about history and fascinated by genealogy, they traverse the counties of St. Clair, Madison, Monroe and Randolph, in search of ancestral cemeteries and in the discovery of local history on their excursions.
If it’s a sunny Wednesday or Saturday, people will find them digging in the dirt and getting things done. An overgrown patch of land with broken gravestones has often become a treasure.
“There is an endless list of cemeteries to clean up. We need more volunteers, ”said Schwartztrauber.
He started the group as a “Cousin” field trip. Schwartztrauber appears to be related to everyone, including as this writer’s distant cousin, on her paternal grandmother’s side. He will let you know the connection through the genealogical records.
Find historical and family cemeteries
All members of the O’Fallon Historical Society, they have targeted historic and family cemeteries like Sparks Cemetery – which sits at the end of Taylor Road on private property – and Simmons Cemetery – which adjoins Old Collinsville Road, College Hill, Shiloh Valley, Turkey Hill and other historic family cemeteries on private property, asking permission.
A few years ago, they discovered the Lemen family cemetery and the oldest Baptist cemetery in the state, Bethel Baptist.
They take care of supplies and labor themselves, sometimes receiving donations. The group usually meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month for their outings.
Schwarztrauber, a retired pharmacist who grew up in Belleville and now lives in St. Louis, lived for a time on a family farm in Shiloh.
“A few years ago, I started to visit more and more local cemeteries, strongly influenced by cousins Dorothy Scott Falk and Babe Papproth. We would visit a cemetery on Wednesday morning, then have lunch. Then we would go to the O’Fallon Historical Society Museum for our volunteer time on Wednesday from 1 pm to 4 pm, ”he said.
Ogle, a retired firefighter from Saint-Louis, wanted to know more about his loved ones. He is related to the first known resident of O’Fallon, Captain Joseph Ogle, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.
Donn Beedle, who lives in Columbia, helps. He is related to the same Beedle family which includes actor William Holden, born Beedle.
Visit old cemeteries for many years
Although the Native American settlement dates back several centuries, the first modern settlement of O’Fallon was established in 1802.
The region was settled by people drawn to the rich lands well suited for agriculture. John Mason Peck founded Rock Spring Seminary in 1827, Illinois’ first college. Coal mining began in the mid-19th century and the railway was built, using the depot at O’Fallon station.
Papproth, who was born and has lived on the same street in O’Fallon for 86 years, has been visiting the old cemeteries for many years. She located them using old flat maps – the cemeteries are marked with a small cross on the properties. For many years, she was accompanied by her grandson, affectionately known as “James # 13”, to indicate that he was her 13th grandchild.
“There are a lot of old cemeteries here”
A source of local history, Papproth has his old plate books close at hand.
“There are a lot of old cemeteries here. The old farmers are buried on their land, ”she said.
“I don’t remember not seeing cemeteries and wanting to know more,” she said. “When my kids were little, we didn’t have a car, so we walked. We would have lunch, sit down and talk. Children would see cemeteries and notice gravestones. “He was in the civil war! it looks like, ”she said.
Malare, a longtime resident of O’Fallon, started helping and devoting more hours than any non-member, so he joined.
To help with their plans, one can call the O’Fallon Historical Society at 618-624-8409 or stop by the museum when it is open, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, at 101 W. State St The email is: [email protected] and the website is: ofallonhistory.net.
Actress Mary Wickes
Schwartztrauber discovered a famous actress – Mary Wickes – buried among tombstones in Shiloh Valley cemetery last spring.
She is perhaps best known as the tough ballet frontman who put Lucille Ball through comedic training in a classic episode of “I Love Lucy,” and Wickes was a familiar face for decades in movies and drama. television, but she was a local girl.
Born Mary Isabella Wickenhauser, she is buried in the Shiloh Valley Cemetery. She was born June 13, 1910 in Saint-Louis and died October 22, 1995 in Los Angeles. She never married. Her father was a prominent local banker. She grew up as a beginner and attended Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in political science.
But a career on the stage called her, and she rose to fame as the pragmatic nurse, Miss Preen, on Broadway in Kaufman and Hart’s “The Man Who Came to Dinner”, reprising her movie role in 1942. The Audience modern would know it. of “Sister Act” and “The Trouble with Angels”.
This story was originally published 2 October 2021 6:00 a.m.