Oak Hill Cemetery History

Oak Hill Cemetery

Last Name First Name Maiden Name Birth Date Death Date Age Source Remarks Contact
Gale Baby             Tom Blanchard
Gale Harriet Amanda             Tom Blanchard
Gale Henry Boen   13-Aug-1811 23-Jan-1900   Headstone   Tom Blanchard
Gale Leonida Theodore             Tom Blanchard
Gale Orrin P             Tom Blanchard

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This page was created by Jude Richardson on Friday, July 14, 2006.


Oak Hill Cemetery History


Gale Family Plot

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From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

Sees his wife's marker

Visiting Oak Hill or No. 11 Cemetery is familiar occurance for Ralph Heidrich

by L. Candy Ruff, Times Lifestyles Editor

Leavenworth Times, Sunday, June 28, 1988

Ralph Heidrich saw his wife's headstone for the first time not long ago. His limited mobility forced him to see the granite marker in Oak Hill Cemetery from the side road. His name is etched next to her's.

Visiting the northern Leavenworth County cemetery is a familiar occurance for Heidrich. His first memories center on the burial of his grandfather, Fred Heidrich.

"I remember real clear the team of mules pulling the hearse<" the Easton man said. "Old man Hennessy was doing the burying back then. They tell me there weren't that many graves in here."

The Heidrich family plot is near the dirt road that skirts the eastern edge of the cemetery. Dorothy Heidrich died Nov. 3, 1986, and her husband strains to see her name and death date on the headstone.

Fritz and Anna Heidrich are buried in the lots to the west of their son. Both headstones are similar.

It was from the home of his parents that Heidrich would walk to the cemetery located on County Road 14 about a mile east of the intersections of County roads 14 and 16. He would carry an ax, hoe and rake because "you had to clear out all kinds of hazel brush and prairie grass. But we managed to clean it up."

He was soon digging graves keeping to the strict 59-inch requirement. One time his shovel was nearing the six foot mark, when he heard something scratch.

"I went through a skull with my shovel. There was black dirt all around except for clay at one end of the grave. that end was easier to dig than the other. I looked down and there was a small little scull. It was a chocolate color and we found little buttons and bones near by."

Heidrich is bitter about a grave disturbed 75 years ago. The wife of a man named Scoonerer, who was the blacksmith at Lowemont, was buried at the turn of the century in the southwest corner of the one-acre cemetery. After she had been buried a few years, the county came through the area to build County Road 14.

"They just took off the corner of the cemetery and along went the poor woman's grave. They violated the law when they did that," he said.

Longtime friend, Alvina Kreutzer Abel, joined Heidrich this hot's summer afternoon. Her late husband, Joe, and Heidrich were cousins. Abel died 26 years ago. She stopped first at his headstone then onto her family plot.

"My parents are buried there along with my two brothers, Hank and Adolph," she said. "I remember many a time when we would come up here on Decoration Day."

At one time, Oak Hill was referred to as No. 11 Cemetery. The former No. 11 School sat across the road. Heidrich attended school there.

"The teacher made us go to the cemetery when Esther Liebsch's father was buried. The whole school went over, but that was the general practice. The teacher wanted us to see what the burying business was all about," Heidrich said.

That business often brought sorrow to family's suffering the death of a young person. Three small headstones stand as testiment to two parents' suffering. Three Fenton children died within three years of one another during the Civil War, Leavenworth genealogist Herman Ochs is related through his mother's side of the family.

"Those three were the children of John H. and Mary Ramsey Fenton," Ochs said Tuesday. "I remember my Grandmother (Mary Gale) Tearney talking about them. Fenton was a pioneer and came from the slave state of Missouri. In fact, they ran him out because he was for the Union."

Fenton and his sisters, Harriette and Lucinda, homesteaded outside Easton in 1857 coming from New Scotland County, Mo. Harriett married H. B. Gale, Och's great-grandfather on his mother, Florence Tearney Och's, side of the family.

Fenton's obituary appeared in The Leavenworth Times Feb. 27, 1917. At the time of his death, he was the oldest member of the Hiram Masonic Lodge, a janitor at the Franklin School and a past guard at the Kansas prison. He was survived by three daughters.

Mrs. Abel says an untimely death was that of Phoebe Warden Bromley. She was killed in a buggy accident. Mrs. Abel said her horse was scared by a piece of paper and began to run. The buggy turned over, she was thrown out and her neck was broken. Her baby wasn't scratched, the story goes.

The Biehler family has several graves at Oak Hill. The death of young Josie Biehler during the last part of the last century touched her parents enough to inscribe on her tombstone: "She was the sunshine in our home, an angel to us given. Just when we learned to love her most, God called her back to heaven."

Courthouse records indicate the late was platted for a cemetery in 1858. The cemetery association began in 1885. There was a time when the cemetery wasn't too well tended, Heidrich says, but "in recent years, people seem to be more interested. It seems like they keep electing me president of the cemetery board." He is joined by Robert Ables and Shirley Thompson.


Photo Caption


OAK HILL CEMETERY -- The Oak Hill or No. 11 Cemetery, platted in 1858, is one of the earliest pioneer cemeteries of northern Leavenworth County. The three small headstones, above, belong to children of John and Mary Fenton. The trio died during the Civil War. (Times Photo)


VISITS OAK HILL -- Alvina Kreutzer Abel, above, joined Ralph Heidrich on a hot's summer afternoon not long ago as the pair visited Oak Hill Cemetery. Her late husband, Joe, and Heidrich were cousins. Abel died 26 years ago and is buried at Oak Hill. (Times Photo)

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