Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cemetery Tales - Nishnabotna Cemetery

After Dad and I had left the town of Kirkman and the Rose Hill Cemetery and headed down the road to Mapleton, Iowa, we were chatting about some of the other Johnson family.  Buried at Rose Hill was Washington and Mary Ann Smith Johnson and their daughter Margaret "Maggie" Johnson Rank with a few other family members.  The majority of the other Johnson children had left the Kirkman area, but there was one that I was curious about.  So, as Dad and I drove down the road, I brought up the Johnson family on my tablet and looked at the rest of the children.  Nicholas Keffer Johnson had also lived his life in Iowa.  It seemed that just as I said that Nicholas had died in Denison, Iowa, we saw a sign that pointed to the right saying Denison - 2 miles.  We made the quick decision to head down the road, thinking that the cemetery couldn't be too hard to find.  We immediately found that it wasn't - it was up on the hillside to the left of the road not too far after the turnoff from the highway.
So, Dad and headed into the cemetery and were somewhat shocked at how large the cemetery seemed to be, for such a small town.  Much to our delight, we found a board with all of the inhabitants listed.  I must say, I love Iowa cemeteries :) 


Nicholas Keffer Johnson was the second youngest of eleven children.  When I was much younger, these were pictures that I had seen in an album who I had know idea as to who they were.  Nicholas was the younger brother of my great grandfather, Ulpian Grey Johnson and they were both the children of Mary Ann Smith and Washington Abraham Johnson.
Keff & Lillie - abt 1903
Nicholas was named after Mary Ann Smith's brother, who was a half brother and minister who lived most of his life in Tennessee and Georgia.  Nicholas was born on 28 Apr 1876 in Kirkman, Shelby Co., IA and died at the age of 74 on 25 Mar 1850 in Denison, Crawford Co., IA.  Nicholas married Lillie Ann Baker on 24 Jun 1913 in Dension.  Lillie was born on 17 Mar 1880 in Vail, Crawford Co., IA to George Homer Baker and Ella Mabel Ballou.  She died on 31 Oct 1872 in Dow City, Crawford Co., IA.


Keff & Lillie with Grace - Abt 1920

Keff & Lillie had two children and only one who survived to adulthood, their daughter, Grace.  We were able to very quickly find the graves of Keff and his family, just a short distance from the sign directing us to the location.






I can't tell you how much, I appreciated the opportunity to see the landscape where my ancestors and their families lived...even if it was a relatively short time before my own.  It is easy to get lost in the names, places, dates and other records while researching family members.  I was glad to perhaps get a bit of perspective on where my great grandfather grew up and where some of his family stayed.  I must say, I thought it was a nice place.