Albion Interactive History / Library / Riverside Cemetery (1996)

Albion Interactive History

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“Riverside Cemetery, Albion, Michigan,” 1996

A Brief Chronology of Riverside Cemetery

The east bank of the south branch of the Kalamazoo River was chosen as the final resting place for Albion’s pioneers by Jesse Crowell in 1837. The Albion Company purchased one and a half acres from James Howard Nov. 2, 1838 for the sum of $2. Several markers in the old grounds predate the establishment of the cemetery, reflecting the removal of remains from other burial sites. The second land acquisition occurred in 1853, when the Albion Township Board of Health (then proprietor) paid $261.60 to Jesse Crowell and William Morrison for 13.22 acres. The City of Albion took over cemetery operations after becoming chartered in 1885. In October of 1885, the City purchased an additional 12 acres of land from the Kinney family for $1,600. At the same time, the Kinneys also sold an adjacent three-acre parcel to St. John Catholic Church. In 1886, the name Riverside was adopted after it was proposed by Albion’s first mayor, Charles F. Austin. In 1914 a 16-acre parcel was purchased from Ella Haight for $3,750, brining the cemetery to its current size.

Starting from one and a half acres over 150 years ago, Albion Burying Grounds has grown to the 46-acre Riverside Cemetery, owned and operated by the City of Albion. Within its boundaries lie Albion’s war heroes and scoundrels, famous and infamous, bankers, merchants, farmers. In its entirety, Riverside is the history of Albion, a commemoration of life.

Cemetery Regulation

Riverside Cemetery is reserved for the dignified repose of the dead. Any conflicting use is prohibited. Domestic animals, loud music, littering and disturbing plant material are prohibited. Any tree or shrub planting requires permission of superintendent.

Riverside Cemetery has been the final resting place for the mean and women of Albion for over 150 years. The families highlighted here were chosen due to their accomplishments, historical interest, notoriety or unusual monuments. More information about Riverside Cemetery, or the persons who were buried here, may be found at the cemetery office, (517) 629-2479. Other sources include Albion Public Library, City Hall and the Gardner House Museum. This brochure was funded by the City of Albion, the United Arts Council, Lee Printing and Graphics of Parma, and Albion Cards. Special thanks to Susan Crawford Rieske, M. John Fox and Frank Passic. Art and Design copyright 1990, Maggie LaNoue.

Riverside Cemetery Map Directory

1.Riverside Abbey. Built in 1914 by a private association, which is no longer in existence. Constructed with 144 crypts, 137 are occupied.
2.Madelon Stockwell Turner, 1945-1924. Truly a remarkable woman in many ways. She was the daughter of Charles Franklin Stockwell, the first principal of Wesleyan Seminary, (Albion College). Her mother, Louisa, was the eldest daughter of Tenney Peabody (see #10). Maddie, as she was known, graduated from Albion College in 1862, attended Kalamazoo College, and was the first woman ever to be admitted to the University of Michigan in 1870. She was talented artistically, and shrewd and unflinching in her financial dealings. In her will, she left the University $10,000 and Albion College $300,000.
3.George Bemis Jocelyn, 1824-1877. He was twice president of Albion College. During his tenure the college became a solvent institution. His monument bears a testimonial from his peers.
4.William Hadley Brockway, 1813-1891. Minister, missionary, Indian agent, builder, educator and politician. He was long associated with Albion College, and served often on the village council. He is credited with building nine brick business blocks and more than 30 houses in town. His home stood on E. Erie Street, near Brockway Place.
5.Augustus Porter Gardner, 1817-1905. Well-known Albion hardware merchant, whose home is now the Gardner House Museum (at right). He arrived in Albion in March of 1837 “with one shirt, a set of overalls, 2 pairs of socks, and ten cents,” which he spent for his first night’s lodging. He was employed by Jesse Crowell as a blacksmith for 12 years (see #8).
6.Potter’s Field, or Stranger’s Ground. This small triangle of ground contains many unmarked graves. Forty-six burials are documented in a cemetery ledger which ends in 1852. Here are the graves of infants, the aged, unknown strangers, a general, an American Indian student from the seminary, railroad construction workers, and others.
7.Wareham Warner, 1779-1854. A pioneer in western New York, as well as in Calhoun County. He helped lay out the village of Marshall and settled in Albion in 1834. He erected Albion’s first frame house, brick house, and barn. He also dug Albion’s first well and ran the first mill in conjunction with Tenney Peabody (see #10). He still has descendants in the area.
8.Jesse Crowell, 1797-1872. A one-time New York state legislator and mill builder. Jesse, along with his brother-in-law, Charles Rice, scouted Michigan for a favorable source of water power for milling purposes and selected the forks of the Kalamazoo River. He organized a land development company with some wealthy and influential men. As agent for the Albion Company, Crowell fostered the growth of the settlement by judiciously giving away parcels of land to induce other businesses to locate here.
9.Dr. Isaac Grant, 1759-1841. One of the two known Revolutionary War soldier buried in Riverside. He enlisted in the Continental Army at the age of 15 and served through six campaigns. He was imprisoned on the British ship “Jersey” but was exchanged. He wintered at Valley Forge and served as an orderly to General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
10.Tenney Peabody, 1792-1856. Albion’s founding father. He was a jeweler by trade. He arrived at the forks of the Kalamazoo River in March of 1833, and built a log hut near the site of the present First Presbyterian Church. His wife, Eleanor, is credited with naming Albion after Jesse Crowell’s home in the township of Albion, Oswego County, New York.
11.Harlow Green, 1812-1837. His marker state, the “first burial in cemetery.” Harlow was a millwright in the employ of Jesse Crowell.
12.Elijah Cornell. Progenitor of several well-known Albion families, most notably the Woods, the Finches and some of the Robertsons. But he is best known as the father of Ezra Cornell, the founder of Cornell University and Western Union
13.Robertson family. This large plot of ground was reportedly given to the family for their services in surveying much of the cemetery grounds. They are a good example of an extended family migrating into a frontier area. Many relatives are still in the area.
14.General William Henry Harrison Beadle, 1838-1915. This famous Civil War general and educator never lived in Albion. He produced the educational structure for the state of South Dakota, which was subsequently adopted by at least six other states. Statues have been erected to his memory in the capital at Pierre, S.D. and in Washington, D.C. He was buried next to his wife on her sister’s lot.
15.Cemetery Office. Built in 1904, the architecture was designed to mimic that of the nearby vault. The upper portion of its “stonewalls was made from concrete block, cast on the spot.
16.Receiving Vault. Built in 1886 by Stephen Gregory to temporarily house the dead when frost prevented grave digging. The name, Riverside, was also given to the cemetery at this time, by Mayor Charles Austin.
17.Sheldon Mausoleum. Built in 1895 for Mary E. Sheldon after the death of her husband, James. W. Sheldon. Mary was the youngest surviving daughter of Tenney Peabody. James was a wealthy Albion banker who built the Sheldon Block, (Parks Drugs), and resided in a lavish apartment upstairs. James served as village president. He was considered civic-minded, however, he also had a reputation as a skinflint. His untimely foreclosures ruined a number of prominent area families. A local ghost story claims that late at night, voices can be heard emanating from the mausoleum. According to the legend, James is just trying to collect rent from Henry Ismon, Mary’s second husband, who is also entombed within.
18.Crane Monument. Interesting white-metal, mail-order monument, erected in 1887.
19.David Duncan, ?-1868. Albion’s notorious hermit, “Old Dunk” was found in his shack, frozen to death in 1868. No one knew from whence he came, or why he chose an isolated, wretched life.
20.Wirzbieske, Bieske. A unique opportunity to see the Anglicization of surname. Here, Wirzbieske becomes Bieske.
21.Prim family. This simple monument is the only marker for seven members of this American Indian family.
22.Charles and Addie Wiselogel. Their unusual tree shaped monument in one of several nature markers in the cemetery.
23.“German Hill,” is the section of the cemetery where many early German families purchased lots.
24.Mary Louise Weaver. Mary could receive no visitors due to a small pox quarantine. This unusual tribute to a school friend is from her classmates.
25.Juliet Calhoun Blakeley, 1818-1921. This pioneer woman was Albion’s “Mother of Mother’s Day.” She initiated the first known observance of Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May, 1877, in Albion.
26.Mingo Family. A highly respected family, Mingo Street was named after them. Five members of this Indian family of the Narraganset tribe lie buried here. Two sons died in the Civil War, they are not buried in Albion.
27.Gale Family. “The Gale,” a world-renowned manufacturer of agricultural implements, was in operation for over 100 years, starting in 1864. The Gale Hardware store operated for nearly 80 years. Of particular interest is the Clara Gale Hollingsworth statue, representing the Roman goddess, Flora, a favorite name in the Gale family.
28.Munroe Mausoleum. Erected in 1876, this structure houses some of the family of an early Albion industrialist, James Munroe, whose foundry became the nucleus of the Gale Manufacturing Co. This is the oldest building in the cemetery.
29.Kinney Family. Impressive monuments of a very early south Albion family. The Kinneys are still represented locally.
30.Grand Army of the Republic Lot. Reserved for Civil War veterans by an act of city council June 14, 1917. One exception: Nathan Wood (1760-1846), a Revolutionary War soldier. Although little is known about him, it can be surmised that he came to Mcihigan with his son, Martin Wood, in 1844, locating near Homer. Some descendants till live in the area.
31.The Pool was built in 1902 by cemetery superintendent Otto Pahl and his brother Albert. Pahl was cemetery superintendent from 1901 to 1906. The pool once held water lilies and ornamental carp which spent the winter at the “water works” on East Cass Street, now the recycling center.
32.Catholic Cemetery. Purchased from the Kinney family in 1885, so that church members could be buried on sacred ground. The grounds contain space for 1,728 burials. Lot sales are handled through the church. Upkeep is done by the city and charged to the church.
33.Patrick Hanlon, 1894-1918. First Albion soldier killed in WWI. The local American Legion post was named in his honor. Although he is buried in France, Patrick is remembered here.
34.Silas Finley, 1823-1900. Farmer who build “Fairview,” later Hugo Rieger’s home, now the Cram family home. Finley Drive is named for his family.
35.Frank L. Irwin, 1863-1947. Postmaster 1898-1910. Irwin Avenue is named for his father, an Albion banker.
36.Dearing Family. Henry, father, and Palmer, son, caused bank failure and scandal that ruined many families in 1912.
37.American Legion Lot. Given to the Legion by the Albion City Council September 13, 1922.
38.Hoaglin Family. Including: Fred Hoaglin, 1848-1914. village president, 1879-80, postmaster, 1884. Floyd Hoaglin, 1873-1954, mayor, 1917-20. Descendants still live in Albion.
39.Hugo Rieger, 1885-1972. Longtime city engineer and mayor, best remembered for his beautification efforts. He administered Works Progress Administration projects including the river wall and the Victory Park band shell.
40.Bryant/Willis Monument, Wealthy landowner Hannah Bryant placed this conspicuously impressive monument to honor her parents and husband.
41.Veterans Memorial. Dedicated in the Memorial Day ceremony of 1964. Donated by the American Legion in the “name of all veterans.”
42.Samuel Dickie, 1851-1925. Albion College president, 1901-1921; chairman of the Prohibition Party National Committee, headquartered in Albion. Served as city major in 1896 and is known for the Cass Street bridge, the only bridge that survived the flood of 1908. Albion College’s Dickie Hall is named for him.
43.Don C. Harrington, 1874-1961. Harrington School was named for this longtime Albion superintendent of schools.
44.William Whitcomb Whitehouse, 1891-1983. President of Albion College. Whitehouse Hall, Albion College is named for him.
45.Russian Section. Members of the congregation of the Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church have purchased this area. According to church teachings, the lowest bar on the distinctive triple bar cross was wrenched when Jesus’ body was removed.
46.Colored Legion Section. The Will Curtis Post No. 114 of the American Legion provided graves in the section to members of the Colored Legion. Most served during World War I.
47.John Lawrence Seaton, 1873-1961. President of Albion College, 1924-1945. Seaton Hall, Albion College is named for him.
48.Dean Family. The Dean family founded Union Steel, and they built Bellemont Manor as their family residence. This family of civic leaders included W. Clark Dean, 1898-1980, who served as mayor, 1945-1946. During his tenure the Sheridan Heights development (the area between North Street and Broadwell Street) was begun.
49.Washington Gardner, 1845-1928. Perhaps Albion’s most famous man. Namesake of local junior high school, Civil War veteran, attorney, Methodist minister, college professor, vice-president of Albion College, Michigan secretary of state, U.S. congressman, national G.A.R. commander, 1913-1914.
50.Col. Joseph B. Duckworth, 1902-1964. Colonel, U.S. Air Force during WWII. In 1943, he became the first pilot ever to fly through the eye of a hurricane.
51.Parker/Kessler Monument, marks the gravesties of entrepreneurs who helped develop the Albion Malleable Iron Company, Parker Inn and the Knuth Furniture block of Superior Street.
52.Beuhler Family Mausoleum. Small, but beautiful mausoleum, erected 1935.
53.James T. McGuire, 1863-1936. “Deacon Jim,” a major league baseball star catcher, played for many teams including the Detroit Tigers. His baseball career also included a stint as manager for the Boston Red Sox.
54.Senator Warren Hooper, 1905-1945. Murdered gangland style. His epitaph reads: “With honesty he lived. For honesty he was taken.”
55.Norman H. Wiener, 1891-1962. Called the “Go gettingest mayor in the U.S.A.,” he served for 20 years: 1931-44, and 1949-54. Many city improvement occurred during his administration, including paving most city streets and replacing or rebuilding most of Albion’s bridges.
56.Veterans Section. Reserved since 1947 for veterans of all wars. Lots are provided free to veterans.