Saint Patrick's - Melancthon Creek Cemetery
                                            Henrietta Township, Richland County, Wisconsin  USA

Tales The Tombstones Tell - Republican Observer - June 6, 1957

                                                Melancthon Creek Cemetery

    Adjoining St. Patrick's church in the town of Henrietta is the church cemetery on Melancthon Creek. This cemetery was first located south of its present site near the farm of the late Otto Hanzel. Several burials were made there but for some reason or other the burying ground was re-located; a number of the bodies were taken up and removed to the new spot. The first burial in the old location was the body of Anastasia Fanning, wife of James Kelley, who died in 1858.

    St. Patrick's Catholic church is a nice brick edifice, erected in 1924, replacing a wooden structure built in 1867. The new church was built under plans of Father Fraling, who worked side by side with the members. He drew the plans and much of the credit of the church building should go to him.

    The first services were held at the home of Cornelius McCarthy by Fr. Sthale in 1855. Mass was continued to be held in the McCarthy home until 1867. A great grandson of Cornelius McCarthy, Fr. Robert McCarthy, is now a priest. He is located at Boscobel, but on account of ill health was for a time unable to take an active part in the services.

    From St. Patrick's church area have come many notable citizens, Judge James Wickham who served for many years as circuit court judge in the Eau Claire district. He was born in the valley and his parents are buried here. Judge Shields, deceased, also a native of the valley, moved to Minnesota, where he located. One of the natives, Tom Kelley, moved out to Jordan, Minnesota, where he became editor of the Jordan Independent, a newspaper which came every week back some 40 or 50 years ago, to the Republican Observer office.

    One of the notable families was the Conley family, some of whom, the older folks, are buried here. Several of the family became well known doctors. One Dr. H. H. Conley, is located at Park Ridge, Ill. He is an ardent circus fan and for a time was president of the Circus Association of America.

    Up on the hillside adjoining the church is the cemetery which is well kept and there are buried many of the pioneers of Melancthon Creek valley and the area. There are members of the Dunn, Moore, Sweeney, Byrne, McGlynn, McNamara, Ryan, Conley, Grinsell, Grangel, Connors, McDonough, Casey families and many others.

    Cornelius McCarthy, who was born at Delafield on June 8, 1851, sleeps there together with his wife, the former Mary Dunn. She was born in New York in 1856 and died August 5, 1903. Mr. McCarthy died in 1900. He was a son of Cornelius McCarthy, Sr., who is buried in St. Bridget's cemetery in the town of Westford.

    We were up to St. Patrick's cemetery some weeks ago and later stopped in at the home of Mr. and Mrs. P. J. Escher to get more information. Mrs. Escher, who was a daughter of Cornelius McCarthy Jr., gave us much valuable information. She is well posted on the area as she and her sister, Mrs. Con Lynch, are the two oldest living members of St. Patrick's parish; Mrs. Lynch is the oldest, Mrs. Escher informed us.

    Close by the McCarthy lot are buried Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Dunn, grandparents of Mrs. Escher. Mr. Dunn, his tombstone says, was born August 20, 1827, in County Galway, Ireland, and was married to Bridget Walsh, February 2, 1851, and they came to Richland county in 1857. Mr. Dunn died on February 21, 1901.

     Mr. and Mrs. Emmett McCarthy are buried close by. Emmett was a son of Patrick McCarthy and Father Robert McCarthy is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Emmett McCarthy. Emmett was born in 1868 and passed on in 1941; his wife Harriett, was born in 1867 and died in 1939.

    Members of the Jeremiah Whalen, Sr., family, have found rest in this hillside burying ground. Mr. Whalen was a native of Ireland, coming to American and later to Richland county in 1858. In 1877 he was married to Miss Bridget Ryan. They were the parents of six children, Anna, Delia, Alice, Michael, James and Jeremiah Jr. Of these only one, James, is now living.

    Another worthy couple to be buried close by is Lawrence Murphy and his wife, Mary. Both came from Ireland. Lawrence was born in 1881 and died in 1932; his wife was born in 1880 and passed on in 1956.

    There is a stone in the cemetery for Catherine Gibbins, who died in 1874 at the age of 20 years. Richard Walsh, born in June, 1831, died in 1895; Mrs. Walsh, whose given name was Bridget, was born in 1828. Mr. and Mrs. Walsh came from County Galway, Ireland. On the stone of Catherine Walsh, wife of James Walsh, it says she was a native of Parish Ballendovn also a native of County Galway. She lived to a ripe old age, passing away, October 21, 1876, at the age of 89 years, 5 months and 16 days. Inscribed on the stone are these words:

            "May she rest in Peace."

    "Born in New York in 1854 and died October 19, 1894" it says on the tombstone of John Dunn, and the inscription for his wife Mary says she was born January 25, 1854, and died December 24, 1892. Mr. Dunn was born in Orange county, New York. His wife was Mary McDonald. On the lot there is a marker for one of their sons, James, who passed away in 1953. A son Joe, for whom there is a marker, still lives at Yuba. He was for many years a rural mail carrier out of Yuba before his retirement.

    On a stone for Patrick Conley it says he died September 16, 1886, aged 72 years. He was the grandfather of H. H. Conley, spoken of elsewhere in this article.

    One of the early born is Hugh Byrne. On his monument it says:
            "Erected by Patrick Byrne in memory of his father
             Hugh Byrne, born in Abbey Down, County Wexford,
             Ireland, August 18, 1888, aged 72 years, 8 months."

    From the old to the young is but a step or two, for close by it reads that Anna Marie, died August 4, 1887, aged 1 year, 7 months and 25 days; and Katie, died August 21, 1888, at the age of 4 months and 17 days. These little ones were the children of J. and M. Anderson.

    John Walsh and his wife Mary, are buried here. Mr. Walsh was born in Wexford, Ireland, and he died in Henrietta, July 16, 1891, at the age of 75. His wife died in 1907. You will note the large number of folks who came from Ireland and the county of Wexford seemed to be a favorite spot. We wonder why this should be but no one gives the answer. Mrs. Escher stated that long, long ago, one of the early comers from Ireland when asked about it gave no answer but remarked "we sure did not know what we were getting into."

    On the James Kelley lot up on the hillside are buried John Kelley, born in 1808 and died in 1876. Also there is his wife, Anastasia Cloney, born in 1806 and died in 1854. Mr. and Mrs. John Kelley were the parents of James. They were natives of the Emerald Isle. They all came to America in 1851 where the mother died in Milwaukee. James and his father came to Richland county in 1856 and here the father died in 1876. James Kelley was twice married; first to Miss Anna Fanning who died in 1858.
 His second wife was Mary Ann McCarthy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius McCarthy, Sr., who was born in County Cork. They became the parents of ten children one of whom, James C., became well known as a storekeeper at Yuba. His wife was Bridget Kennedy. Another son, Eugene, stayed on the old home farm until his death in 1943.

    On the Wickham lot are several members of the family. Patrick, father of Judge Wickham, was born in 1819 and died in 1894; Catherine, the mother, was born in 1827 and died in 1894. Other members of the family are on the lot.

    Close by the Wickham lot is the Kennedy lot. The Wickham family were neighbors in life and now are neighbors in death. Grandfather John Kennedy was born in 1800 and died in 1876; his son James was born in 1834 and died in 1904; Bridget, mother of James, was born in 1830 and died in 1925; Grandmother Bridget, wife of John, was born in 1816 and died in 1884. Then comes James J. Kennedy, born in 1865 and died in 1915.

    A large stone marks the grave for members of the Louie Barreau family. Mr. Barreau was born in 1851.

    There is a marker for Mr. and Mrs. John Quinlin which just give their ages. He was 85 and his wife Ann, 80. They were the grandparents of Joseph Kelly, now of Richland Center.

    On the monument of William and Bridget Moore, who were the parents of Tom Moore, who lived out on Brush Creek, it says:
            "Dearest loved ones you have left us,
             Father, Brother, Sister Dear,
             May God grant you rest eternal
             Peace and rest in Heaven's sphere."

    You will note the good old fashioned names of the pioneers buried here. Take the names Patrick and Bridget, they appear frequently. A little bit of oddity is found upon the monument of Patrick McDonald and his wife Ellen. Both were natives of Ireland. He was born in Kings county and she in Queens county. According to the stone he died in 1893 at the age of 75 years and she in 1906 at the age of 86.

    Soldiers of the wars are buried here. These Civil War veterans are there, John McGrath, James Kennedy Sr., William Moore, John Grinsell, John Walsh and his son Thomas B. are in this hillside cemetery. The son Thomas B. was a Spanish-American veteran. Also there are markers for soldiers of more recent wars. The marker for one reads:

            "Otto James Hanzal
              World War I, Pvt.
            Co. F., 37th Infantry, born
             Sept. 23, 1895, died 1952"
    The other marker is for a World War II veteran. It says:
            "Leonard M. Whalen
             Pfc. Co. L, 11 Wis. Inft.,
                World War II, Born
              July 27, 1927; died
               February 28, 1953"

    And that, folks, is the story of the hillside cemetery on Melancthon Creek adjoining St. Patrick's church in the town of Henrietta. To those who are now buried there and those who, in future years, will be buried there, one can only wish, like many a tombstone says:
     "May they rest in peace."

S. F.

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