"Sweet" Cemetery, Calumet County
Calumet County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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"Sweet" Cemetery {Ecker Property - Stockbridge}, Calumet County

The Origin Of The "Sweet Cemetery"

For anyone to really understand the origin of what I call the "Sweet Cemetery" it is helpful to know something of the origin of Stockbridge Township. In a nutshell the Township was laid out by the U. S. Government for the settlement of the Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians. These two tribes were remnants of other tribes which had been decimated in Massachusetts, moved to Oneida County, NY in the early 1800's then transplanted again in the 1830's & 40's to Stockbridge in Calumet County. The land in Stockbridge was surveyed but identification was by Lot Number rather than by metes & bounds because the Government thought the Indians would understand the location of a piece of land by say Lot #278 rather than by a description such as NW 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section etc.

White people were also settling in Stockbridge Township in the 1840's and purchased land from the Indians by Lot number. In 1848 several of my ancestors migrated west from Oneida County, NY and other parts of that State. By date of settlement in Wisconsin these family surnames were: Plumb, Newell, Sweet and Leathart.

Lovisa [Gillis] & Joseph Anderson Plumb migrated from Chenango County, NY to Vernon, Milwaukee [now Waukesha] County in 1836 then about 1853 purchased lot (279?) in Stockbridge. Both Lovisa & Joseph are buried in Portland Cemetery at Brant, Chilton Township.

Christina [Traver] & Jeffery Newell came to Stockbridge from Oneida County, NY in 1848. Included in this family migration were Charlotte [Newell - dau of above] and her husband, Rev. James Sweet; as well as James' brother John Sweet with wife, Belinda [Newell -sister of Charlotte] and the Sweet parents Hannah [Stanton] & Benjamin Sweet. Hannah & Ben Stanton, John & Belinda Sweet settled at Chilton and are buried in Breed's [now Hillside] Cemetery in Chilton on Highway 57 just north of town.

William Leathart was born at Montreal in 1825 and married Catherine King about 1845 in Brooklyn, NY. He and an older brother, John, moved to Fond du Lac County in 1852. William then bought lot #241 in Stockbridge and moved there with his family in the early 1860's

Now for the Sweet Cemetery. In Oneida County, NY James Sweet had been a minister in "The Church of Christ" and part of his "flock" were the Stockbridge and Brothertown Indians. When these tribes were completely moved west by the Government, he, his family, his parents and his in-laws migrated as well so he could continue to minister to the Indians as well as to friends and neighbors. He had no church building but became known as a circuit riding minister. He, his wife [Charlotte Newell] and what eventually came to be their 12 children settled on Town Lot #71 which is located on the west side of Highway 55 about 3 or 4 miles south of the Town of Stockbridge or about where County Trunk F intersects with Hwy. 55.

Over the course of time Rev. Sweet conducted funeral services for members of his congregation and for his own children. He set aside a small area on his farm for a burial plot since other cemeteries were either nonexistent or many miles away. Probably one of the first to be buried in the plot was his daughter, Caroline Sweet, who died 11 March 1849 at age 4 years & 6 months. His son, William Sweet, died 19 Aug. 1855 age 2 years.

Also buried in this plot are Christina Newell / wife of Elder Jeffery Newell who died 4 April 1863 at age 72 years, 9 months and 20 days and Jeffery Newell who died 23 Nov. 1868 at age 83 years. - these would be the parents of James' wife, Charlotte Newell Sweet. [NOTE: It has reported that the marker for Jeffery Newell's death reads that he died in 1863. This is not correct because I have a letter dated 8 May 1864 in which Charlotte Newell Sweet tells her daughter , Mary Plumb, that Mary's grandfather was now living at home with Charlotte. The stone marker was very eroded and the correct date of 1868 was read as 186"3"]

Another burial here was for Addie V. Plumb who died 1 March 1862 at age 13 months. [The parents of this child were Mary [Sweet] & Albert A. Plumb. Mary was a daughter of Charlotte & James Sweet and Albert was the son of Lovisa & Joseph A. Plumb -see above].

Rev. James Sweet died 15 Jan. 1863 and his wife, Charlotte, died 15 Jan. 1875 and both are buried in this private cemetery. I am directly related to all of the adult people I have mentioned as buried in the Sweet Cemetery.

There is a record of one more burial in the Sweet Cemetery plot and that is for Richard Burns who died 9 Aug. 1858 or 59 at age 5 years & 3 months , a son of I. & A. Burns. I have no idea who this little boy was nor do I believe I am related to him. There were other burials in this plot but I do not know how many graves are there. A pure guess on my part would be 25 but an accurate count will never be known. At times there have been veteran's flags wired to the fence near the edge of the cemetery. I have never learned what graves they were supposed to mark. I believe the last one to be buried there was Charlotte Newell Sweet in 1875 but there may have been burials after that date. The plot has been neglected for a great many years, is now on private property and considered an abandoned cemetery.

In the early 1980's I visited the site which was then owned by a family named Ecker. I asked for and was given permission by Mr. Ecker to walk over to the plot which is perhaps 100 or more feet off the Highway and about as far south off Mr. Ecker's driveway. At that time the site was over grown with lilac bushes and many of the grave markers were badly eroded. Since it was raining, our aerosol shaving cream & squeegee method of reading faded stones would not work. Other stones were either missing or collapsing into the graves. Mr. Ecker said there were several markers stored behind his barn but inclement weather prevented us from viewing them.

At this date [May 2001] I do not know the condition of the plot. When I viewed it last, the site seemed to be disappearing back to pasture land. In any event I assume it is still on private property and permission must be obtained from the property owners before entering the "cemetery"

For anyone wanting to know my connection to this Sweet Cemetery I'll explain that Mary [Sweet] & Albert Plumb also had a son, Ernest who married Elizabeth Leathart the daughter of the above Catherine & William Leathart. Elizabeth [Lizzie ] and Ernest Plumb are my maternal grandparents and are buried in Portland Cemetery next to Elizabeth's mother Catherine Leathart. My grandmother's older sister, Mary, married William Bovee in Stockbridge and they are buried in Lakeside Cemetery.

I have record of several other descendants from the other children of Christina & Jeffery Newell and Charlotte & James Sweet but to my knowledge there has never been any "history" written or recorded about their place of burial.

Contributed 9 May 2001

Additional Pictures of the remains of the cemetery

Additional information from Terri Lee about this cemetery is listed below. Pictures are also linked to her notes.

My first visit to the "Sweet Cemetery"
May 13, 2001

In my search for the Sweet Cemetery, I ended up at the wrong home, but it turned into a excellent wrong turn. I ended up at a neighbors home to the property the Sweet Cemetery rests upon. I was told by this neighbor that the current owners do not allow people back in this area and have put up a chain link fence between the cemetery and main highway to keep everyone out. To the right of the cemetery is the current property owners. To the left is the neighbor I spoke with today. He himself is active in the community and has worked with other groups restoring other cemeteries. He took me through his property, through the field, and up into the cemetery.

We did a quick read off some of the stones, and quickly left.

In the dark, beneath the bushes, in the rush, we did not do a through reading off the stones. However I am now seeing that you can see more in the pictures than you could off the stone itself. We did not move or touch the stones when we photograph this cemetery.

The only things off this stone that were readable are:
"Christina" Dec. __ 183_

We reached around and took a picture of this broken piece.
If you enlarge the originial of this picture you can faintly see the Letter C followed by a distinct AROLI__
Possibly "CAROLINE"

The only thing readable off this stone other than a letter here or there was 183? It is believed that this may be the headstone for Jefferson Newell born in 1838.
Jefferson drowned in Lake Winnebago in 1860 at the age of 22. His mother, Christina {Traver} Newell died in 1863 and is buried next to him. I assume her husband, Jeffery Newell, is buried on the other side.

Additional Information contributed on December 27, 2004 by Gordon S. Wood

It was through the determined efforts of Terri Lee that the little plot is now preserved. She's the one who took the time to search old Calumet County land records and found that the plot had never left the ownership of the Sweet family. She also went to Township meetings to see that the Board performed its duties to save the remaining graves. Stockbridge Township now legally owns the cemetery thanks to all of Terri's efforts.

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If you have any questions, e-mail Gordon S. Wood

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