POLK COUNTY, IOWA CITIES AND TOWNS (continued)
Locations of gravesites in Polk County once lost, but recently found:
There are no doubt dozens and dozens of single and private family burial sites that were
made in various places around Polk County before there were organized burial spots
in the townships. Mainly they were of infants, the aged, and accidental deaths of single
area pioneers. The following are those we know about, and would welcome any input
as to any that were missed.
Fort Des Moines Cemetery - The very first cemetery being established on the west side for
the town of Fort Des Moines, it consisted of 2 1/2 acres and was directly northwest of
the Odd Fellows cemetery. It was founded September 24, 1849, and later became part of
Woodland Cemetery. Lots for this cemetery were being sold as early as 1849, and quite
a few downtown Des Moines cemeteries were relocated here.
The Odd Fellows Cemetery was the 2nd cemetery, being founded March 30, 1858.
However the original plat of this cemetery for some reason does not correspond with
the actual layout.
Woodland Cemetery was 3rd, located south and west of the above, and being founded
on November 1, 1859 and replacing Fort Des Moines cemetery.
Saint Ambrose Catholic cemetery was next, having been relocated from 2 1/2 miles south
of Des Moines, and founded on August 8,1866
The Emmanuel Jewish cemetery was the last of the cemeteries to join the cluster of
cemeteries located northwest of M.L. King Jr. Parkway and Woodland Avenue. It was
founded January 21, 1871, and lies on the northwest edge of Woodland Cemetery.
There is a pauper's section in Woodland that the city of Des Moines buried the poor until
1953. There are some records of who is buried in that section of the cemetery, but no
plat exists of that block. There are only 2 or 3 stones marking all of any burials made
there, and there's no proof that they are where they're supposed to be.
The following are gravesites that do not appear to have been relocated, have been
relocated, or never were used;
1) 3 Hendricks family children buried under north approach of East 14th
viaduct, between East Court And East Vine.
Who is buried there(It's still there!)
1) Hendricks, Daisy - Daisy Hendricks was born in 1854, De Kalb County, Illinois, and she
died in East Des Moines in 1876
2)Hendricks, Rosa - Born March 3, 1858 , Des Moines, Iowa. Died on March 30, 1858 in
Des Moines, Iowa.
3) Unidentified 2 year old boy - (A son of John Ludwig Dean or George G. Brewer)
Source: The Des Moines Tribune - October 12, 1937, Page 1-A
2) Thompson - Coffeen family burial grounds - At the southwest corner of
Union Park, at the northeast corner of Jefferson Avenue and Pennsylvania
This cemetery was first mentioned in Polk County land records when Mary Thompson, the
widow of Andrew McFarland Thompson, deeded this l acre plot to her sons, Samuel and John,
in 1878. After that time, it passed onto Abbie A Herrold, Dora E. Layman, and finally was
deeded to the Board of Parks Commission in 1900, but no mention of the cemetery was given
in the actual deed to the land. An 1877 news article mentions this cemetery as being "up on
Pennsylvania avenue", and also stated nobody was buried there anymore, and some bodies
were removed. Another news article from 1895 specificly mentions a few graves, and gives
some information as to who is buried there. The last mention of this site as a cemetery is in
1899 when a quit claim deed was filed to remove it's status as a family burying ground. It's not
clear if the parks department removed the graves, and I suspect the markers were removed to
speed the sale of the land, or were just gradually neglected and forgotten about..
In those days, the area now known as Union Park was referred to as Thompson's Bend, as
was host to several tent meetings of various kinds. The actual site is on the north side of
Jefferson Avenue, about 50 feet east of Pennsylvania Avenue. Maps of Des Moines
published in 1882 and 1884, properly place the cemetery in Union Park. There
is a clearing about the size of the cemetery, but no visual indications can be found.
Who is buried there;
1) Coffeen,Benjamin - Benjamin Coffeen, died August 15, 1858, aged 41 years, 3 months
and 28 days.
2) Thompson, Andrew McFarland - Andrew McFarland Thompson, died August 4, 1854, aged
67 years, 8 months and 13 days
3) Thompson, Samuel G. - Samuel G.Thompson, son of A. and M. Thompson, born October
7, 1846, died August 4, 1863, aged 16 years, 9 months, 27 days
4) Coffeen, Infant - Infant Coffeen daughter of B.E. Coffen,, died September 1, 1852
5) Thompson, Samuel G. - Samuel G.Thompson, aged 9 years,died April 12, 1883 in
Saylor Township, and was to be buried in "the family plot" (taken from Polk County Death
records) [This may or may not be a relation]
6) Other later burials, information on them not provided
Andrew McFarland Thompson appears to have had his grave moved up to Pine Hill cemetery, as his
gravestone and four other smaller stones are set in a square concrete platform. The four smaller stones
are too worn to read.
Source: The Des Moines Daily News - June 14, 1895, Page 1
The Iowa State Register - May, 1877
3) Benjamin F. Jesse Pioneer Cemetery
Who is buried there;
1) "Baby" Shaw (died there about 1847) [Actually the Infant daughter of Samuel and Mary
Shaw, that died November 10, 1868, aged 9 days]
2) Samuel L. Shaw (died before October 18, 1870)
3) Mary Shaw (his wife - died 1889 in Warren County, Iowa)
4) John Shaw (probable -- he died January 18, 1865)
5) Mrs. John Shaw (probable -- died before 1865)
6) Noah Webster Shaw (son of Samuel & Mary - Maybe buried there - died 1880,Kansas)
7) Other unspecified area pioneers (Bennett, Jesse, Jordan. Lamont?)
According to a 1906 news article, picnickers discovered a tombstone lying flat near the
edge of Walnut creek,bearing the name "Baby Shaw" who was buried there about 1847.
There seemed to have been burials there as late as 1876, but by 1906 the cemetery had
forgotten, and the stones had been overgrown or scattered. Several graves are
mentioned to be there, and there's no evidence that they were removed.
A search has been made through old Polk County land deeds, and the cemetery itself
was founded by Benjamin F. Jesse, and the earliest mention of existence (1854) mentions
it was located somewhere in the S.W. 1/4 of the N.W, 1/4 of Section 12, Township 78,
Range 25. It is. Benjamin F. Jesse is the first traceable owner of that land, and the
apparent founder, because he buys the land in 1850 from the U.S. Government.
When he sells that parcel of land in 1854 to Benjamin Bennett,
it's mentioned in the legal description. There is also a creek that runs north and south
through the center of the land, and could be the creek mentioned in the article, and not
Walnut Creek at all. It fails to be mentioned in legal transactions of the land after the 1860's.
I conducted a door to door search in the area that this cemetery was most likely located, in
July of 2003, and amazingly enough the first door I knocked on knew of the location of the
"Baby Shaw" tombstone. After a phone call, I was introduced to the person who currently
owns the land that the tombstone is on, and they led me to it's location. It is in remarkable
condition for a stone that was neglected for over 97 years, but there are no signs of any
surrounding burials or stones. In fact, the owner was not aware that a small private cemetery
existed in addition to the single grave that was known about, on his land.
The owner has asked to keep the exact location private, so all I can tell you that it's south
of Hanawalt School. I have a picture of the gravesite, if you need it. Until the owner does
more site exploration, I can provide no further information
Source: The Des Moines Daily News - July 28, 1906, Pages 1 and 5
4) John Poole, supposedly buried southeast of 63rd & Grand.
Who is buried there:
Poole, John - John Poole, "Here lies John Poole, April 5, 1849"(Carved on
a tree trunk, and re-discovered in 1943) Nobody knows if this was an authentic ancient
epitaph, or a hoax.
Source: The Des Moines Register - July 26, 1945, Page 9
The Des Moines Register - May 31, 1949, Page 9
5) Stella Berkley gravesite, along the Des Moines River's east bank, south of the
Euclid Avenue bridge.
Up until earlier in 2012, I doubted the existence of any burials in this area, marking it down as tombstones dumped by
vandals decades ago, and discovered later by passing residents of Des Moines. Then I discovered a Des Moines
Tribune newspaper article from 1963, that told of two boys exploring in this wooded and isolated area, and discovering
the tombstone of a 17 year old girl named Stella Berkley. The newspaper gives this information as copied from the
Wife Of J.F. Berkley
May 6, 1894
17 ys, 6 ms
An attempt was made to locate this stone in May of 2012, with no results. Considering that it has been 50 years since
it was last seen, it may take a few more searches in that area to positively locate it. I have spoken to one of the two
boys that found it in 1963, and we are still working to locate it again today
6) C.F. Kaps tombstone, discovered at 1118 Locust in 1959.
Kaps, C. F. - C.F. Kaps, died December 31, 1859, aged 33 years, 11 months, and 24 days,
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, Rev. Ch. 14, V. 13.
The above is what was carved on the tombstone. His last name was correctly spelled as
Source: The Des Moines Register - Saturday, August 29, 1959, Page 8, columns 2 and 3
7) Louis Franke tombstone discovered at 1021 17th in 1959.
What it said (the area has since been carved away for the McVicar Freeway)
Franke, Louis - Louis Franke, born in Rhanes, Germany, December 3, 1831, died
June 13, 1880. Gone but not forgotten. This stone was taken from Woodland cemetery.
Source: The Des Moines Register - Wednesday, July 15, 1959, Page 3, columns 6 and 7
8) East Des Moines Cemetery (now Ashfield Park),East 18th & Lyon streets
on the east side of downtown Des Moines (also referred to as Logan
cemetery, the old 18th Street cemetery, or the East Side Cemetery)
Recent newspaper articles have come to light that give more information about this cemetery,
and who was buried there. Between 1909 and 1914 the City Parks Department decided to
convert this old cemetery into a park, and removed the three remaining graves there. Some
controversy arose about the right the city had to remove graves for their own purposes, but
nevertheless it was done. Parks commisioner Ash said only about 3 bodies were ever buried
there, but City Streets secretary Frisk stated that a few hundred people had been buried there.
Fred Dockhorn, caretaker of Woodland cemetery believed the number to be about 400, and
only could remember about 6 people being removed. No one living in the neighborhood at that
time could remember a funeral taking place there.
By 1909 the cemetery was abandoned, and a shed had been erected on one portion, and
a potato garden was on another. The city then cleared off these intrusions and erected a
fence around the property to prevent it from being used as a short-cut for local residents.
Through the years, the ground was unstable here because of underground coal mining activity,
and some graves were removed because they were sinking as early as 1883. The city
thereafter tried to discourage burials from taking place there. A local historian also made the
comment that when the cemetery was finally abandoned, and the graves moved, the city gave
away all the leftover grave markers to nearby residents, to be used as slab bases, sidewalks,
borders, and so on, when they could not match them to a grave. So far, burial records for this
cemetery have not surfaced, so the best that can be done for the moment is to collect the
following names from the Polk County death records, and are those people who were noted to
have been buried in East Des Moines cemetery:
Mary Ann Wallace Webb
Mary L. Quigley
Joseph Beck Jr.
These names were taken from various news articles from 1909 to 1914
John Day - died July 4, 1856 (actually 1866)
Mary Day - died 1858 (actually 1868)
(and another relation of the Day family, name not mentioned)
Mary Day was John's mother, and supposedly all three people were moved to Glendale,
but no record of them being there was found. The newspaper article obviously made a
mistake about the dates, because the cemetery did not exist until 1864. Also, a lot was not
purchased until 1866 for John Day, according to city lot sales records, so John Day actually
didn't die until 1866, and Mary Day died in 1858.
Dockhorn said 5 members of this family were moved in 1897, but he didn't say where..
Dockhorn said a person was moved away prior to 1897
The city moved a person's grave from this cemetery to Newton, Iowa in 1909
The following are the few records I've found so far that were taken from Polk County City Lots
sales records, that list sales of cemetery lots in this cemetery. No sales of lots appear to have
taken place after 1873, and it's possible that this cemetery degenerated into a pauper's
Jonathan Christ November 24, 1865 Lot 68, Section 1
John Day July 9, 1866 Lot 18, Section 1
A. S. Inscho November 18, 1865 Lot 60
A.J. Reeves January 8, 1869 Lot 72
Sarah Cox April 23, 1869 East half of Lot 69
R.E. Ford September 19, 1870 North half of east half of Lot 66,
William C. Owens December 31, 1870 South half of east half of Lot 66,
C.J. Comius April 25, 1873 Lot 71, Section 1
This cemetery was donated to the city of Des Moines for use as a cemetery by Thomas K. and
Phoebe S. Brooks on June 22, 1864, and has been owned by the city ever since.
Sources: The Des Moines Daily Tribune - Friday, May 10, 1907, Page 3, column 6
The Des Moines Evening Tribune - Friday, January 15, 1909, Page 2, column 4
The Register and Leader - Friday, January 19, 1912, Page 2, column 3
The Des Moines Evening Tribune - July 17,1912, Page 1, column 6
The Register and Leader - Wednesday, July 22, 1914, Page 7, column 7
The Des Moines Evening Tribune - Wednesday, July 22, 1914, Page 4, column 4
The Des Moines Evening Tribune - Friday, August 21, 1914, Page 14, column 1
The Des Moines Register - Wednesday, August 8, 1990, Page 4 - Neighbors-North/East section
The Des Moines Register - Wednesday, November 7, 1990, Page 8 - Neighbors-North/East section
The Iowa State Register - May, 1877
9) Fort Des Moines Garrison's Cemetery - On the north side of Locust street,
between 2nd & 3rd streets (Present site of the Civic Center Court
This was the first cemetery ever set up in Polk County, and served the soldiers and families
that were stationed at Fort Des Moines. A 1876 account mentions that there were never
any more than 4 or 5 people buried there at the most, and the occupants were later
removed. The names of those that were buried there are not known at this time, but it was
known that the infant daughter of 1st Lt. Grier, born about 1845, was one interment.
She was later removed from her burial spot in 1862 and reburied "in the east" by her parents.
An 1877 newspaper article says that there could not have been more than 24 adults, give or
take a few, that were ever buried in this cemetery, and that they were from the soldier's families
at that place, and were also buried there. This cemetery location had been allowed to go wild
until all the soldier's bodies were removed to Woodland Cemetery.
In January of 1874, workers were grading Grand avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets and
constructing a sidewalk on the south edge of the street when the discovery was made of a body
of a soldier from Fort Des Moines. The exact name of the soldier is not definate, but his last
name was Telhee, or Tatlhe, and he was reburied in the soldiers plot in Woodland Cemetery
on May 22, 1874. The date of his death is not known at present, but he would have died
between May 20, 1843 and March 10, 1846
Sources: Centennial History Of Polk County, Iowa, by J.M. Dixon, Blind Editor - 1876. Page 33
The Iowa state Register - January 20, 1874, Page 4, column 2
10) Cyrus A. Mosier gravesite (1874)
A newspaper account from that same year tells of Mr. & Mrs. C.A. Mosier having to bury their
5 year old son near their house at their farm. First off, the news article misspelled their name
as Moser, instead of the correct MOSIER, and gives no details about where they lived.
I first consulted the 1870 census to find out even if the C.A. Mosier family even lived inside
Polk County limits, and if so, where it exactly was. They turn up in Bloomfield township, and
the youngest member of the family was one year old Cyrus A. Mosier, who was the very same
little boy that would die in 1874.
Consulting a 1872 map of Polk County that displayed large property owners, the map placed
the Mosier farm wihin the modern day boundries of Southwest 9th, Plesantview Drive,
Southwest 12th, and Broad Street. A faint small circle on the northwest corner of what now is
Southwest 9th and Pleasantview Drive may have noted where the original Mosier farmhouse
was located, or maybe it noted something else entirely.
It's not known exactly where the boy's grave actually is on this property, and since this area is
mostly occupied by houses and businesses, the original site may have been disturbed long
ago. If he ever was moved from his gravesite, there is no record of him in nearby Oak Grove
cemetery, nor is he buried near his family in Woodland Cemetery. It's unknown if the site was
ever marked with a stone, and it may be unlocateable.
Here is a link that gives a short biography of Cyrus A Mosier Sr.:
11) Oak Lawn Cemetery - 152 acres northwest from a point about 2 blocks
west fom the northwest corner of Polk Boulevard and Grand Avenue -
1893 - 1908.
Recently discovered to have existed, this cemetery was a private cemetery much the same as
Resthaven, Masonic, and Merle Hay Chapel are today. On December 10, 1896, this
cemetery's land was offered to the city of Des Moines by John B. Jones, Frank E. Smith, and
Levi M. & Martha E. Sandford. Mention was made of a portion of land amounting to 20 acres
was platted and roads were graded in this plat. Jones, Smith and the Sandfords were all realty
dealers located in rooms 512-513 of the Manhattan building. An article from the Des Moines
Daily Leader, dated August 13, 1896, stated that they were engaging the services of the
landscaper Lawson, from Chicago, to beautify the grounds, and expected to have everytthing
landscaped by 1897. The entrance was to have been on Grand Avenue on the north side of the
street, between Country Club Boulevard and where 49th would have intersected Grand Avenue.
The modern day boundries of what might have been the successor to Woodland cemetery
are 49th street from the south edge of McVicar freeway to Grand Avenue(of which only a
portion of 49th is actually a through street), then directly west from where 49th would have
intersected Grand Avenue until it met 56th Street. From that point one would follow 56th
street until it met the south edge of McVicar Freeway, then proceed along that edge
east until you reached the point that 49th would have intersected. The only part of this
152 acre cemetery that was actually platted for burial is officially known as "Ozone Ridge",
and was platted in 1893. There were 3 roads running north to south between Woodland
Avenue and Center Street called Ozone (now part of 49th Street), Ridgedale (l block west
of 49th) and Greenbush (2 blocks west of 49th). The east to west roads were Woodland
Which would have run straight west from 49th & Woodland between Woodland Avenue and
Country Club Boulevard, Pleasant Street (now Harwood Drive), and Center Street (The south
edge of McVicar Freeway). Ozone ridge was vacated in 1903, perhaps because the City of
Des Moines started landscaping Glendale cemetery in 1902. Below is a list of names of those
who had purchased lots in Ozone Ridge between 1893 and 1903;
Florence B. Laird
Anna J. Fitch
Eva B. Wells
P. John Hultman
James M. McCaughan
F. W. Vorse
Russell A. Barcroft
Hattie L. McCaughan
Mary B. King
Ausan F. Barcroft
J. A.(or K.) Barcroft
Thomas S. Meek
Fannie A. V. Ingersoll
J. P. Bumgardner
Mary J. McCain
Oak Lawn Cemetery is listed in the city directory from 1896 to 1905, and it's sales office
was located downtown in the Manhattan Building. The Des Moines cemetery comission
declined the offer to acqire this land for the new city cemetery, and opted instead to create
their own cemetery in 1901 now known as Glendale Cemetery. The streets platted in 1893
continue to be listed in the street directory section until 1908, when the entire plat is vacated.
Much of what was to have become Oakdale Cemetery is now known to present day Des
Moines residents as the Waterbury Park neighborhood.
Very little is known about any possible interments that were ever made in this planned
cemetery, and while they could have buried people anywhere in the 152 acres of this area,
most likely it would have been in the platted boundries of Ozone Ridge. Maps of that era
show this plat within the cemetery boundries, but no access road is shown to it. A search was
made of Polk County Land, and Lots sales records, and books containing Articles of
Incorporation, but not once in any of these sources between 1893 to 1913 was Oak Lawn
even mentioned once.
At present, only a portion of 49th street (Ozone) and a a 2 block long segment of Harwood
Drive (Pleasant street) even help locate the plat of the cemetery, as all other streets in that
area were platted diffrerently and sometime later. There are many large houses on large
lawns in the boundries of Ozone Ridge, and the general boundries of Oakdale Cemetery
itself, and nothing there now would suggest it was ever a cemetery. There may or may not
have been a few burials in Oak Lawn that were quietly and conveniently hushed up - we just
don't know. The answers may come from former residents of that area that heard stories
about the cemetery, or from any descendants of Smith, Jones or Sandford the founders.
Up to recently, I wrote this cemetery off as something that never happened, and a historical
I recently spoke to the current secretary up in the Glendale Cemetery office, and she
related to me the story of a man and his wife that were on vacation, and he stopped in
Des Moines to try to find his grandfather's gravesite. He insisted that his grandfather was
buried on Grand Avenue about 48th Street (4800 block), and even had an old picture of the
monument on his grave. There is no record of this person having been located as he and the
Glendale secretary found out at the time. Unfortunately no one remembers the name of the
gentleman looking for the gravesite, or what his grandfather's name was. Now I'm really
confused as to wether anyone was ever buried in Oak Lawn cemetery.
Here is a list of names of people that died between 1892 to 1907, and were taken from
Polk County Death records, and could have possibly been buried in Oak Lawn; although
they in reality don't have any place of burial listed.
1892 - 1897: Timothy D. Hewitt
1897 - 1907: Lidia Marie Armstrong
Henry M. Pickering
Maggie A. Reasoner
Lacy M. Wilson
Sources: The Des Moines Daily News - Thursday, December 10, 1893
The Des Moines Daily Leader - Thursday, August 13, 1896, Page 8, column 4
12) Fort Des Moines Army Post Cemetery - located in the N.E corner of
of Fort Des Moines(#3) grounds, at the southwest corner of Southeast
5th Street & Army Post Road (Next to the Police Academy building)
This cemetery most likely was laid out with the plans for the Army Post as early as 1901,
although there were few burials there in it's first few decades of it's existence. The last
burial there was in 1947. In the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, many soldiers
were quickly buried here to further prevent the spread of the pestilence, accounts stating
that bodies were piled in buildings at the fort because they were dying faster than they
could be buried, due to a shortage of personel.at the time. It is guessed that many were
so hastily buried, that there are no accurate records for some of those individuals.
There is a conflict of information as to where the deceased were removed to, one historical
site study of Fort Des Moines and Camp Dodge states that they moved them to Fort
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, while the Spring, 1989 issue of the Hawkeye
Heritage, and an online sight state that they removed them to Keokuk National Cemetery.
Trying to sort out the truth as to what actually happened, I did some researching, and
combining with memories of my own of pictures and newspaper articles that I remember
seeing that place the cemetery there after 1948, this is actually what happened;
1) The last burial was in 1947
2) The disinterment of bodies took place in June of 1948, and1968
3) Almost all the deceased were reburied at Keokuk National Cemetery. While it's not
impossible for some to have buried at Fort Jefferson Barracks, or Glendale Cemetery,
so far there's no proof. The cemetery was officially abandoned in 1968, and the Army
erected a canvas fence around the cemetery as they disintered the people buried
There is the official tally of graves removed, but the more accurate number may be
greater than the 159 people that were once buried in this 2 acres of ground. A few horses
from the Army Post were buried there as well. The Army removed the remains based on the
observation of the remains, and piecing together the most complete body as possible and
labeling it an individual. There is evidence that some burials were missed, due to lack of
information, poorly back-filled graves, and the discovery of possible gravesites when
Army Post Road was being graded and widened in the late 1960's. Workers discovered
bone, casket, and marker fragments as they graded over discolored grave sized areas
of ground. It all depended if the original graves were dug to the 6 foot level that would
decide if grading had disturbed missed gravesites, or merely uncovered remnants of
the gravesites that the Army moved in 1948. Workers took care to place the artifacts
back in the site they were found, and paved over the questionable graves.
The cemetery was known to extend originally out nearly to the center line of both
Southeast 5th, and Army Post Road,as well as being on the grounds of the former
Fort Des Moines Army Post. 100 years have past since the Post's founding, and
recent abandonment. It's not certain if anyone is still buried there, but if someone had a
missing relative or ancestor in the Army or that worked or lived at the Fort that they can't
locate a burial place for, they might have been removed to Fort Jefferson Barracks, or
they're still buried somewhere in the Fort Des Moines Army Post cemetery.
The following is a list of names and their dates of death on record of people once buried
at Fort Des Moines, and now at Keokuk National Cemetery:
Albert Anderson October 9, 1918
Harry Anderson October 6, 1918
Robert L. Anger November 7, 1908
Henry Badgery April 30, 1912
David C. Barlow October 13, 1927
Kenneth R. Barnard May 31, 1923
James H. Beard January 1, 1906
Willis Berry November 2,1932
Francis E. Boyd October 24,1931
Ruth Boyles October 12, 1936
"baby boy" Brumley November 18, 1931
Richard R. Brunsman Jr. July 18, 1937
John J. Burns May 13, 1908
W.P. Burns January 15, 1938
William Burrell August 4, 1922
Gustav Carlson October 14, 1918
William Carter October 14, 1918
William B. Case March 4, 1906
Estelle M. Clarke September 5, 1932
William L. Cockerham March 5, 1935
Grace Cody September 5, 1934
Solomon N. Cook December 26, 1904
Guiseppe Crisco October 27, 1918
Sterling O. Cunningham April 13, 1918
Oscar O. Dahl May 4, 1918
Rolf H. Dahlberg October 16, 1918
George Davis August 30, 1920
Leon DeAmerico November 4, 1918
"baby boy" DeCarlo August 13, 1943 ?
Ella E. Denton April 1, 1932
"baby" Dietz December 28, 1945
J.C. Dixon May 25, 1918
John Doubeck October 16, 1918
Victor Downiskie October 15, 1918
William J. Doyle October 3, 1932
Michael Early October 17, 1918
Hans Eberspaecher November 1, 1934
Amelia F. Eckardt May 21, 1935
William P. Ellis June 25, 1904
L. E. Enfield February 2, 1932
Utley Erickson April 1, 1947
Arthur V. Fallon July 23, 1925
Fred Fenner November 10, 1942
Fred Fenner Jr. May 21, 1923
Joseph C. Fiddler October 14, 1918
Bonnie J. Fiedler May 3, 1925
Theodore Frede November 8, 1913
H.F. Freese October 27, 1917
Frank H. Fuller June 16, 1923
George Geftos October 14, 1918
"baby boy" Glider July 8, 1930
Jerome B. Graves June 17, 1912
Joseph B. Gustafson October 16, 1918
Nick Gustiff October 14, 1918
Leland W. Hall Jr. July 17, 1945
Mary Elizabeth Hall April 23, 1932
George E. Hamilton October 12, 1918
Robert S. Hancock February 22, 1907
Maldor Hanson October 15, 1918
Willie Harris October 4, 1918
Barney F. Hoffman March 12, 1939
Michael H. Hohl December 30, 1921
Jarvis C. Hollie December 2, 1918
Lee E. Howard November 16, 1941
Joseph Howell December 13, 1917
Erick Huovinen October 14, 1918
George Jasperson December 1, 1933
Thomas Jefferson September 12, 1919
Egbert O. Jensen June 24, 1918 ?
Peter M. Jensen October 19, 1918
Nels H. Johanson October 17, 1918
"baby boy" Johnson March 3, 1932
"baby girl" Johnson September 24, 1940
Wallace Johnson June 3, 1918
Jessie Jones October 13, 1918
Joseph Jones April 18, 1918
Charles M. Keegan June 3, 1918
James A Keeley June 15, 1907
Walter J. Kruziak January 7, 1924
Harry B. Landis Jr. September 24, 1918
Carl J. Larsen March 10, 1918
Robert E. Lanstrup October 13, 1918
August Lebel January 5, 1908
Edward Lewis September 11, 1916
Viola Lewis January 15, 1924
"baby boy" Luffey March 25, 1932
Samuel Lukin October 17, 1918
Damiel William Lyons September 3, 1918
William D. Martin May 17, 1918
Raymond E. McAllister July 31, 1918
Beverly Mae McGlouthlin May 23, 1932
"baby girl" Meyer October 4, 1939
"baby boy" Middles March 14, 1944
John Miller November 3, 1918
Adolph E. Moeller July 2, 1919
Lawrence Morency October 21, 1918
Harvey Morris December 26, 1929
"baby boy" Morris April 27, 1942
Andrew J. Nave October 15, 1918
George Nelson August 17, 1929
Hugh Nolan January 2, 1918
Donald W. Nothingham May 30, 1934
John E. Nye October 14, 1918
Eino O'Jakanges October 19, 1918
Oliver A. Olmstead October 20, 1941
Fred A. Olson October 14, 1918
John E. Olson October 14, 1918
Charles A. O'Neil July 13, 1935
Donald Wayne Parker November 18, 1937
Emil Pegotte October 9, 1908
David J. Perreault June 5, 1934
"baby girl" Peterson January 24, 1929
Duff Pipkin October 14, 1918
Peyton P. Pollette July 18, 1923
John H. Porter May 10, 1943
Mary E. Powell August 21, 1912
Strelin S. Powers May 10, 1918
Bob Rainero October 18, 1918
Waldemar C. Rasmussen October 20, 1918
Charles L. Richards December 19, 1938
Edward B. Richards October 21, 1929
James Richards Jr. November 14, 1930
Russell C. Riggs August 7, 1907
Leida Robinson October 30, 1928
Frank L. Roper March 30, 1935
Christ Rott O ctober 14, 1918
Ernest Sales October 9, 1918
Michael M. Saroff October 15, 1918
"baby boy" Sayshen August 4, 1943
Shirley Mae Seeley October 22, 1939
Ray J. Sink March 1, 1908
Ralph W. Shearer July 5, 1926
Frank Smith October 14, 1918
William J. Smith November 18, 1918
Fred W. Smothers May 16, 1935
Paul F. Spicer February 3, 1920
Dave Stearns July 21, 1943
Elmer Stedman October 17, 1918
William L. Stewart October 13, 1918
Frank Walter Sullivan June 5, 1932
Richard L. Sullivan November 9, 1932
Frans W. Svenson October 13, 1918
"baby girl" Tompkins December 3, 1931
George Townsend January 3, 1919
Buber Washington March 6, 1918
Alfred Weeks June 19, 1905
Almon Weston January 18, 1926
Kenneth L. White March 23, 1926
Leroy C. White September 3, 1942
John Wilcox December 29, 1919
John Wolf November 15, 1905
Albert J. Woude December 14, 1910
Antoinette Woude August 6, 1912
Alex Zaboff October 17, 1918
This woman was reburied at Highland Memorial Gardens:
Audrey E. Largent January 13, 1942
...And all the rest were moved elsewhere, and at this moment their location is unknown:
Richard A. Fuller February 2, 1940
John F. Kelly Jr. September 2, 1939
Velva M. Kelly September 22, 1939
Renee E. Scheffer January 4, 1917
The Hawkeye Heritage - Spring, 1989, pages 22 to 25
"An Archeological And Historic Architectural Survey Of Primary Roads Project HES-5-5(30)-2H-77,
Polk County, Iowa" by Marlin R. Ingalls, Architectural Historian
13) Polk County Insane Asylum / Poor Farm / County Ground / County Farm /
County Cemetery - Two blocks north of the Northwest corner of Northeast 14th and
Northeast 54th Avenue(Pine Hill road);
Unclaimed deceased residents of the Polk County Insane Asylum / Polk County Poor Farm /
Polk County Work Farm were buried in this small cemetery up to 1928.but were moved in
1971 to nearby Pine Hill cemetery, when East 14th was widened.
The following people were listed as being buried there, according to the Polk
County death records 1880 - 1907, and Pine Hill cemetery records. There were about 70
bodies removed from this site, some of then unidentified. The Polk County Farm was
established in 1865 on this site of the old Yost farm, so no burials here(if any were) pre-date
________ Fenner (male)
_________ Mc Atee (male)
_________ McCormack (female)
George W. Scott
Charles W. Anderson
.......and in addition to the above names, are the following individuals officially
registered as being buried in Pine Hill, after being removed from their old gravesite
in 1971. The pages containing the surnames of people that began with A through J
appears to be lost, perhaps permanently.
The list is courtesy of John Zeitler who spent time ferreting out the
information from several sources, and is as follows;
W. H. Brewer
C. R. Elders (male)
Luscious B. Hickock
James Ozark Sr.
Porter J. Tucker
14) Harvey Cemetery - On east corner of intersection of Oak Hill Drive and
Northeast 23rd Avenue (The former Stephen Harvey farm)
This cemetery was accidently rediscovered by clerks at the Polk County Auditor's office in
2002, and nobody realized it was there that lived by it. Unintentionally it was being used as
a junk pile by the current land owner who was unaware it was a burial ground. There are no
surviving markers, or burial records for this cemetery, but township trustees did have the
area cleaned up and fenced off. It was located north of the defunct village of Oak Hill. It has
been mentioned before in other prior canvassings of Polk County cemeteries.
The Polk County death records from 1880 to 1907 list the following people as being buried
there, although it should be kept in mind that most of the occupants were removed to nearby
Rising Sun cemetery. Not all the names below appear in the Rising Sun records however.
Iva May Barton
Wilbur H. Harvey
William H. Wade
William W. Hammond
Emma G. Wyman
Lilly O. Davis
Child of P.W. Howrick
Roda A. Lee
These two are reportedly the only two visible markers that were left when it was last reported
on in the 1970's:
E.B. Lee Age 76 died November 5, 1875
Infant son of John T. and Viretta Harvey West died March 6, 1880
15) First Catholic Cemetery - In an area bounded by Porter Avenue,
Southwest 18th, and Southlawn Drive (ca. 1858 to 1866);
G. Scott deeded to Father M. Loras, 1st Bishop Of Iowa, 10 acres of land to be used by the
catholics for a cemetery. At that time the area would have been very remote, so it's no
surprise that they instead moved the cemetery to the present site of St. Ambrose Cemetery
in 1866, and the first site was abandoned.
The odd thing is that a section of land that is labeled as a cemetery appears again on a
1904 and 1907 set of maps in the exact same place. Then it never appears again after that.
I really don't think that anyone was buried there and the area was developed about 50 years
ago, with no visible allowences for a cemetery.
It is also noted in Andreas' 1875 Atlas Of Iowa, on the map for Polk County
(Source: Centennial History Of Polk County, Iowa, by J.M. Dixon, Blind Editor - 1876. Page 254).
16) As yet unnamed cemetery on the northwest corner of East 4th and Locust
- On the site of the Blood Center Of Iowa Building;
This cemetery was located on a small hill about at this location. The bodies were removed in
1854 (Where, I don't know). An interesting side note to this event is that the locals left on
display at the site the open casket of a Frenchman that supposedly had been buried there
about 1842. They displayed him for a few days because it was said his state of preservation
was remarkable after so long being buried.
I don't think that the burial took place that long ago at that site, as Capt. Allen didn't land at
Raccoon Forks until 1844, and it was decades since the French owned the territory. Most
likely they were referring to the deceased's mustache, that made him look French.
About 2005, street crews were digging a deep pit on the corner at East 4th & Grand Avenue, when
they noticed bone fragments coming up in the excavated dirt. Tests were conducted to determine
if the bones were human or not. Ultimately they were deemed to be those of a prehistoric deer.
Source: History Of Polk County, Iowa, by Union Historical Company - 1880. Page 618
17) Planned 2nd west side cemetery(pre-Woodland Cemetery);
The need for a new cemetery by the city resulted in property being purchased about where 2115
Grand Avenue is now. It was opposite The James C. Savery home at the time A neighbor
named Lewis Jones not being to thrilled about viewing a cemetery from his homestead, offered
in exchange a parcel of land near that is now part of blocks 1 through 8 in Woodland, so the site
was switched to that location before any interments were made, and that site became Ft. Des
(Source: The Iowa State Register - May, 1877)
18) Unknown Pioneer's grave in the 300 block of what was once East 11th
In the mid 1870's a discovery was made of an unmarked grave of an early Fort Des Moines
area resident in front of the sidewalk in front of Colonel T.A. Walker's residence at 309 East
11th Street. At that time private residences practically existed at the very doorsteps of the
present Iowa Statehouse. The site now is the east lawn of the statehouse. The identity of
this settler was never found.
(Source: The Iowa State Register - May, 1877)
19) Unidentified small family plot on the west side of 8th street between
Grand Avenue and High street (Circa late 1880's)
The only reason we know this to have existed is because it appears on the left foreground of
a picture meant actually to be of the first Baptist Church at 8th & High. It is a very small
fenced in plot with small tombstones. We have yet to identify the owner of the house it's
placed behind. The Principal Tower now occupies the entire block northwest of 8th & Grand.
Source: Iowa State Archives Picture Collection, picture of First Baptist Church
20) Manbeck burial site - Somewhere in either side of Watrous Avenue, east of
Southeast 34th Street - The exact location of the burial site in the former mining camp of Manbeck is unknown This
community existed from as early as 1889 to as late as 1900. This is the only officially recorded
burial there, wherever it was in this area, and I wonder if she was actually buried in nearby Avon
cemetery, which would make more sense. This is what the death records say:
Elizabeth Smith died June 29, 1895, aged 9 months
21) Jordan Family pioneer cemetery (In the Nazerine Camp Grounds property,
on a small hill northeast of the Jordan House Museum, 2001 Fuller Road,
West Des Moines, Iowa)
This was the original burial site for most of the Jordan family members and other Walnut
Township pioneers, but it was abandoned for modern day Jordan Cemetery. The members
of the Jordan family that were buried here, were later removed to Jordan Cemetery, and all
that remain are 6 or more graves. The stones were smashed by vandals several years ago,
removed, and then replaced. The two legible stones state these two names;
22) Mitchellville Industrial School For Girls Cemetery - on the southwest corner
of the property of the current Women's Correctional Facility at Mitchellville
Iowa, located on the west edge of town.
This is a small cemetery that is about 50 feet by 50 feet, surrounded by a chain link fence,
surrounded by a cornfield. The administration at the Women's Reformatory has no records
that they know of regarding the burials here, but they promise to look into it. The cemetery
could hold about 70 or so individuals, and the groundskeeper told me he remembers.about
3 or 4 infant's tombstones that have disappeared since he began working there. The following
information was taken from the 6 remaining markers still visible;
March 9, 1868
January 28, 1881
December 30, 1880
April 3, 1895
December 14, 1888
Sarah C. Watkins
October 28, 1881
April 22, 1886
April 8, 1881
September 23, 1897
This is the one burial that was noted in the Polk County death records to have officially taken
Estella Watkins died: October 28, 1881
This cemetery has not been used for decades, and is blocked off for any further burials.
23) Enterprise Cemetery - (Southwest of the former site of the Enterprise Coal
There are no plats, records, or even one reference to this cemetery in the death records, yet
it did exist, and is fenced off. There are no markers in this triangular shaped cemetery, and
it consisted mainly of Italian and black mine workers in the early 1900's. There were small
markers once, but they had been stolen or destroyed. It was located in Section 16, Douglas
Township. I was also told that in the 1970's, nearby Ankeny high school students used to
have "keggers" here because it was an isolated location.
Source: The Des Moines Register - Friday, July 31, 1992, Pages 1M and 6M
24) Truman Jones Farm cemetery - now on the Des Moines International
Airport grounds, roughly 1 block west of the old intersection of Army
Post Road and Fluer Drive on the north edge of Old Army Post Road.
This cemetery appears once on a 1907 plat map of Bloomfield Township, and if it was
never moved, part of the cemetery probably ended up under the right westbound lane of
Old Army Post Road. It's not known who was buried here, but probably members of the
Jones family. It will be investigated further
25) Corydon Cemetery - Located near the pioneer town of Corydon,
in the center of the northwest 1/4 of the southwest 1/4 of Section 12,
Madison townsip, on the east side of the Des Moines river -
This cemetery's site is now underwater in Saylorville Lake, as well as the townsite. Prior to
the creation of Saylorville Lake, the Army Corps of Engineers relocated all the graves they
could find to nearby Polk City Cemetery in 1971.
26) Linn Grove Congregational Church Cemetery - Located just east of the
northeast cornerof Northeast 88th Street and Northeast 94th Avenue,
northeast of Bondurant, Iowa.
Old Polk County Maps show a church at this location as early as 1902. In 1907 it was noted
as a Congregational Church. In the Plat Map Atlas of Polk County, Iowa, published sometime
between 1912 to 1925 by Midland Map & Engineering Company, they label it as Linn Grove
Church and Cemetery. The church building itself is gone, probably decades ago, and the site
is now occupied by a house built in 1999.
Official land records show that the land for Linn Grove Congregational Church was purhased
on September 19, 1891. The land for this church was last mentioned in 1911, and was not
mentioned again until 1967. It more than likely was a church that had a certain number of
members for several years, but eventually dwindled down to nothing, and the church ended
up being abandoned or moved.
The site is currently being investigated to find out if a cemetery was ever there or not.
27) The Dewitt DeVotie burial site (DeVotie Cemetery) - On the south edge of
Thomas Mitchell Park, west of the northwest corner of Northeast 108th
Street and Northeast DeVotie Drive
It's location is up on a small hill in Section 23 of Beaver Township.More information on this
location is forthcoming. Supposedly, Dewitt DeVotie is now the only person left buried there.
28) Yant Family Burial Grounds, north of the original town of Altoona, Iowa -
No exact location is given except to say various Yant family members were buried near their
homes on lands owned by them in their early ownership of land in Clay(formerly part of Beaver)
29) Single gravesite on the east side of the route of the Chicago, Rock Island
and Pacific Railroad trestle over Mud Creek -
It is a rumour that a rail hand was killed in an accident and subsequently was buried near the
east end of the railroad trestle. His identity is not known, nor is this a substantiated fact. It's not
known when in the latter half of the 1800's this occured. The original trestle has been replaced
a few times since then I'm sure.
30) The old Peacock School schoolyard, near Altoona, Iowa -
A child of some pioneers passing through the area supposedly is buried here(name or sex of
child is unknown). Peacock School was located in Section 20 of Clay Township
31) Elmdale Park Cemetery - 160 acres on the northeast corner of Merle Hay
Road and Merdith Drive -
A newspaper article from the Des Moines Evening Tribune, August 27, 1909, announces the
founding of a new cemetery northwest of Des Moines. The founders that filed incorporation
papers for this business venture were S. F. Frick, J.G. Myerly, and Florence Smith of Des
Moines, and H. W. Smith of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The land itself was to have compromised 160 acres, and at that time contained a great deal
of elm trees. The newspaper article is somewhat vague about the placement of this land,
mentioning only that it was northwest of Des Moines, and that it was accessible to the Perry
Interurban, and the 55th Street extension. The modern day boundaries of what would have
been Elmdale Park, are Merle Hay Road, Meredith Drive, Northwest 51st Street, and
A search was made of land transactions in 1909, and not one mention of this land being sold
was found, under Smith, Frick, Myerly, Lane, or Piekenbrock. There were no burials here.
Searching the web for "Elmdale Park Cemetery", I find the following link, that makes it look as
if some sort of land swindle was involved, and it is as follows;
Source: The Des Moines Evening Tribune - Friday, August 27, 1909, Page 4, column 4
32) The Drake University Observatory - on Observatory Road off of Polk
Boulevard, northwest of Tifareth Israel Synagogue;
This site is more than likely well known by Drake University students and anybody else that
has taken a tour of the Drake Observatory. Within the entryway are the cremains of
Dr. Robert Morehouse and his wife, sealed within the walls.
33) Saint Gabriel's Monastery unmarked infants cemetery - Northwest of the
northwest corner of Merle Hay Road and Douglas Avenue;
The existence of this small plot of land is entirely heresay, and undocumented. The information
was culled from an Iowa Paranormal site of all places.
First let me say that everything I have read so far about St. Gabriel's Monastery has never
mentioned a nun's convent also co-existing on the site, or that nuns were even living there.
This was a monastery of monks of the Catholic church, and it existed on a large acreage
from the 1920's until it was sold to developers of present day Merle Hay Mall. This doesn't
mean that it couldn't of happened, as I've never studied Saint Gabriel's history.
It was said the tiny infants cemetery consisted primarily of stillborn or newborn infants that
may or may not have been born by nuns at the monastery (remember, although the practice
was definately on the way out by the 1920's and after, some catholic girls entered the
convent when they were "in trouble" - - - that is to say, they were pregnant)
I could be way off in posting this, but another person posted a short bit of information
stating that his father delivered ice cream to the monastery back then, and saw a nun feeding
what he presumed to be her infant, when supposedly this wasn't supposed to exist.
It may have been common knowledge that babies were buried in an unmarked plot at the
monastery at the time, but it has surely been forgotten now. There isn't a chance of physically
investigating any purported site, as the entire monastery grounds are covered by the parking
lots, retail stores and office buildings that make up the Merle Hay Mall complex. If the site
wasn't destroyed initially by the digging equipment and grading used to build the mall, it
would be totally inaccessible
34) Lower Agency Cemetery / Agency Bottoms Cemetery/ Old East Side Cemetery
This cemetery was recently found to have existed, because of newspaper accounts of East side residents
seeking to relocate the cemetery from low and unkempt ground. One newspaper gives it's former location
as being on the site of the future Hawthorne Grove subdivision, platted in 1885. So far, a land record for it's location still
eludes us, so all that is available. It was said that all interred here were moved to Woodland Cemetery by 1884.
The boundries of Hawthorn Grove Subdivion are Southeast 15th Street, Scott street, Astor street, and Maury Avenue. It is
presumed that there is nobody left buried in this section of land. Sometimes this cemetery was feferred to as just
"East Side Cemetery", which leads to some confusion as to where people are being buried when you read it in an obituary
during period newspapers. Listing number 8 above, talks about the other East Side cemetery that existed at the
same time, and both locations probably were interchangable by name. So far, only one obituary calls this location
"Agency Bottoms cemetery", so named because it was located on lands that were administered by the Indian Ageny
building near East 18th & East Court Avenue, and because it was also the southeast river bottoms area. This
cemetery so far has has not appeared on any map, or any land/lot transfer, just newspaper accounts.
35) Cemetery Lot - bounded by 6th Avenue, Madison Avenue, 9th Street, and
This is the most mysterious of locations, as there is no land or map record of any cemetery being located
on this spot. Most likely what was going on is that the City of Des Moines was looking to establish a
new cemetery on the east side of Des Moines, and bought this distant parcel of land for that purpose.
6th and Douglas would have been way outside the Des Moines city limits in 1863, so possibly that is why
this land was sold to Daniel Ellyson in 1864. A newspaper account of Des Moines city council minutes quotes
Mr. Ellyson referring to this land being called "Cemetery Lot"
36) Native American Site - Northwest corner of Prospect Road and Hickman to
the northwest, behind Broadlawns Hospital;
The discovery of this site was accidental, when construction of a cellular tower disturbed
artifacts behind Broadlawns hospital. It was said that the discovery was first ignored and
hushed, but word leaked out eventually, and the site was preserved.
37) Native American Site - South of Southeast 27th Street and C.B & Q Street,
on a the high bank next to the creek outlet to Brook's Lake, on the banks
of the Des Moines River (west of the Des Moines Sewage treatment plant -
This site contained 23 bodies lain out in two rows, 14 were discovered by A.A. Bennett who
owned the land there circa 1905. Subsequent archeaological digs conducted by
Thompson Van Hyning of the Iowa State Historical Department uncovered the other 9 graves,
and he thought there would be more in the area.
Artifacts buried with them proved they were of indian origin, but other artifacts buried with
them and the fact they were buried in crude wooden boxes also showed contact with
. eastern American culture. Mr. Van Hyning also stated that very large trees growing over the
graves proved that they had been there a very long times, and maybe as late as the 1830's, or
as early as 1700.
A picture of three skulls taken from this site is shown in this news article about the discovery
of this site, and I suspect that a great deal of artifacts were taken from this site as well.
I personally remember that there was a great protest about Indian remains on display to the
public up in the old Iowa State Historical Building, so they bowed to pressure put on them by
native Indian groups in the mid-1970's, and returned the remains to their original site. I don't
know if the 1905 discovery are the same artifacts, but I will follow it up in the future
(Source: The Des Moines Register and Leader - March 26,1905, Page 1, third section).
38) Native American Site - Northeast corner of Rocklyn Drive and Hickman
Road in Urbandale
The legend says that when The Rocklyn Night Club was being built in the early 1930's,
indian remains were unearthed during construction of the building. Irina's Steak House
now occupies this same building.
39) Native American Site - The west side of the downtown Des Moines area;
According to early accounts, there were 15 Indian mounds located around the west side of the
downtown area that were reported to contain human remains and artifacts. One mound was
located on the present Polk County courthouse site, and another at 4th and Walnut. Most likely
the remains of all 15 mounds were sold to museums or side shows of the time, or kept by the
land owners as curiosities. The mounds belonged to the river culture that existed up and down
the Des Moines river, prior to the Sac and Fox indian's occupation of this area. There are no
visible mounds today, as all hills in the downtown area were graded flat long ago. From
accounts, these mounds were quite large, as W.W."Billy" Moore built his house at the
southeast corner of 4th & Walnut on one such mound.
40) Native American Site - 15th & Ingersoll Avenue (now the site of Quick Trip
store number 515 at 1421 Ingersoll Avenue
A man named H.R.Goodall was digging a cistern at his property on he northeast corner of
Grant Street & Linden (15th & Linden) about mid-April, 1874 when he discovered the bodies
of 4 Indians that had been there for quite some time. They were deemed not those of settlers,
and one of them was a man of giant stature.
The area at 15th & Linden has changed much since 1874, and the cistern's site could be
anywhere from in the westbound lanes of Ingersoll Avenue to the south lawn of the Quick Trip
store. It's more probable that the bodies were removed, although it's not mentioned if they
were and where they would have been moved to, if it all.
41) Native American Site - West Des Moines -
Traditionally, the area to the north of Jordan Cemetery is said to be an Indian burial ground.
42) The Iowa State Capitol Building - East side of Des Moines, ca. 1868 -
A newspaper account from that time period gave an account of bones being discovered by
workers when the basement under the statehouse was being constructed. No other information
43) Pash-E-Pa-Ho ("The Stabbing Chief), Chief of the Sac Indians (abt. 1762
to his death between 1842-1846) gravesite -
He was known under several different spellings of his name, and here are a few of them:
"The Little Stabber"
"The Stabbing Chief"
At any rate, no matter how you spell it, or hyphenate it to find his name in indexes or search
engines, the one constant thing about Pash-E-Pa-Ho is that he at one time was better known
just as important a chief in Iowa's history as the better known Chief Keokuk. There is much
written about him on the internet, so I won't go into detail about him here.
There are conflicting sources that give the location of his final resting place. The first one
is a 1869 publication that states he was laid to rest on a hill overlooking Fort Des Moines from
the south. That could be any high point near the mouth of the Raccoon River, but most likely the
would be the most prominent hill in that area known in pioneer times as "Van's Hill". Later on it
would be known as the city of Clifton Heights, and is the hill that Indianola Road curves
around to connect to Southwest 9th. Read it in the John B. Saylor biography at this link:
The other conflicting source is a small newspaper article found by John Zeller that tells of the
accidental discovery of Pash-E-Pa-Ho's grave(When I get the exact date of the article and
details, I'll post it here[1/22/2005] ) The basic jist of the story is that railworkers working the
sandpit for the construction of the C.B. & Q. line southeast of Des Moines discovered what
was believed to be his resting place. Credibility was given this belief because a presidential
medal found buried with him. This medal was no doubt given him at the signing of the peace
treaty ending the Black Hawk wars, in St. Louis. Nothing more is known what was done with
this discovery, but given people's sentiments toward Indians and Indian culture at the time,
his remains have vanished into history, never to be seen again. All you have to do is read up
about the journey Black Hawk's remains took before they were finally destroyed in a museum
fire, and you'll get the idea.
Here is a picture of Pash-E-Pa-Ho
44) L.J. and B.L. Peter's Gravel Pit - in the area adjoing the northwest corner of
Lewis A. Jester Park in Northwest Polk County
A single grave of skeletal remains was found on the edge of a gravel pit in April of
1966, and subsequently removed to the Iowa state Historical Building for further
examination. Other bones were found nearby, but no other gravesites were discovered.
45) Great Oasis culture burial ground - 9th & Ashworth, West Des Moines
In 1963, construction workers were preparing the ground for construction of
Crestview Acres Retirement home, when the discovery of the bodies of a native
American woman and her child were made. Soon, as many as 18 bodies were
discovered in total. Unfortunately, much of the construction destroyed the site,
and the general public was allowed to come in and look for indian artifacts
What artifacts that were salvaged were sent to the Iowa State Historical Society.
Some of the excavated dirt was dumped on the southwest corner of Vine street and Ashworth road
where local boys continued to pick out indian artifacts much the same way they had did at 9th &
46) Pet's Rest Cemetery - 6800 Hickman Road
This was an animal cemetery, and the only reason I mention it is because a section of the
property it sat on seems to have been purposely set aside and undisturbed. It now is located
at the extreme southwest corner of property by the apartment building at 2226 68th street.
A metal detector revealed "things" buried in rows at regular intervals in this patch of land, that
are probably the forgotten pets themselves. This cemetery existed in the 1940's and 1950's
and there are no markers visible now.
In 2004, a large maintenance garage was contructed on the east half of the area in question
and most likely over the pet's graves
1) I was e-mailed by a person that reported to me that broken pieces of grave markers were turning up now and then in the soil of her mother's yard whenever they would do gardening and tree planting. The house was an older home located very near to Oak Grove cemetery. They said none of the pieces were readable however.
2) A newspaper article that primarily was put out for the Halloween season in 1976, in the Des Moines Register, relates a legend pertaining to the 7th street viaduct over the Raccoon River during the bridge's construction back in 1912, it is said a construction worker returned to the job the morning after a section of concrete had been poured. He noticed a hat lying on the surface of the poured section of concrete that was setting up. He picked the hat up, then noticed part of a shoe sticking out of the concrete. He tried to pull the shoe out, but was shocked to discover that it was attached to somebody's foot in the cement. Frightened, he pushed the shoe into the cement, and covered it over, and later stated he thought someone had fallen into the cement
This story is halfway believable, because the other stories in the article were factual, and not a work
of fiction. People murder other people every day, and dispose of them in all manner of ways. This
story could be just a hoax or an urban myth of Des Moines, as that's not beyond human behavior as
well. The problem I have with the story is why anyone would go to the lengths to encase someone in
the cement construction, and so sloppily leave clues that a body was there. The story doesn't even
mention the source. The story doesn't even mention where in the bridge construction the
alleged homicide victim is supposed to be. True or not, no one will know either way until this bridge
is reconstructed or demolished, and good luck spotting 90 year old + skeletal remains when the
concrete is be ripped apart by wrecking balls and jackhammers.(source: The Des Moines Register,
October 31, 1976)
Credit for some of the information on entries 9,10,34,35,40 & 41 go to John P. Zeller. Robert G. Mapes was responsible for some of entry 11. Bob Simons is credited with entries 16, 17, and 19.