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Monday, June 2, 2014

Miles Cemetary

The past weekend we had a family gathering and my brother suggested we visit Miles Cemetery, a historic cemetery in Monroe County over looking the American Bottoms near the little burg of Fountain.  When I was a boy we went there several times to enjoy the view.  In 1993 many people visited the area to see the flooded Mississippi River.  The cemetery covers a good bit of American history in the area.  The sign says the first person buried there was Rachael Bond, the wife of Judge Shadrach Bond who's farm was below the cliff.  She was the aunt of Shadrach Bond, the first Governor of Illinois.  Revolutionary War veteran James Garretson's grave is well marked.  He is joined by veterans of the War of 1812, the Blackhawk War, the Mexican War, and the Civil War.
The Cemetery fell into disuse and disrepair in the 1950's.  The Mausoleum was vandalized and remains were stolen.  23 of 56 crypts had been used.   

Charles Louer was the last person buried in the cemetery.  He was a well known local farmer and levee commissioner.  We baled hay and straw for Mr. Louer many times.  My brother and I also worked on the levee with his hired man when we were in high school.

My dad related a story of attending a funeral there when he was a small boy.  The man being buried wanted a band to play at his funeral, so the Columbia, IL Municipal Band came to do the honors. 

It was nice to see the cemetery restored.  Because it was overgrown for many years, I did not realize how big it was.  Unfortunately, many grave markers were also broken off and stolen by vandals.  Many of those graves are marked only by a concrete post.  I am curious if there are records of burial locations.

The view of the Mississippi River Bottoms is spectacular.  Early settler, Stephen W. Miles is said to have owned all the land in view at least in Illinois at one time.  I was able to get a shot of  one of our neighbors getting his land ready to plant soybeans.  
Miles Cemetery Marker

Miles Cemetery

Miles Mausoleum

Miles Crypts
Charles and Muriel Louer Grave

Farming in the American Bottom

Miles Cemetery in the Center at Top of Bluff

James Garretson Grave

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