Woodbury Cemetery In Second Century

Article Type: 
Publication Date: 
Thursday, September 8, 1966

One of the finest well kept cemeteries in the area is located west of Lyle on highway 105 along the Red Cedar river.

The cemetery dates back to 1855 and perhaps even longer, but no early records were available. It was established by J.D. Woodbury in 1855. He came to this area and settled on the bank of the Red Cedar in the fall of 1853 where he erected a log cabin and covered it with sod. The Woodbury creek, School District 13 and cemetery were named for him. He left this area in 1855 for Olmstead county,

The spot remained a public burial ground until June 8, 1883 and burials were made on the east part of the center section, where the early Civil War veterans were buried. Since all of the early records were destroyed by fire only the early monuments on the graves furnished the early burial dates.

The first death recorded in early history of Lyle township was Marjory Bean, buried within the cemetery limits but no marker can be found of the exact spot. Second burial was Mrs. A. Chapin, wife of a Civil War veteran on April 6, 1856, and the third was Louis Ebbers, September 6, 1856 the same year. The first child to be born in Otranto township, Eloise Wilder, is also buried here.

Much credit to this well kept spot goes to the Ladies Auxiliary of the Woodbury Willing Workers which was organized June 24,1909 for the purpose of maintaining and upkeep of this historical cemetery.

Their objectives of the organization then were to meet once each month and pay dues of 10 cents each for each member to use for cemetery improvements. Later they donated $2.50 for each funeral. Their activity at the cemetery was to plant flowers, shrubs, trees, maintain flower urns and a well was drilled there and paid for by the society. Through the years this group has worked faithfully in raising funds for the upkeep and improvements.

Their first officers of the organization were Mrs. W.F. Kilgore, president; W.D. Ames, vice president, Mrs. P.C. Wilder, secretary; and Mrs. B.A. Bisbee, treasurer.

Their present officers are Frank Bedford, president; Vance Hotson, vice president; Grace Barnes, secretary; Glenn Macachek, treasurer; and Carroll Howard is sexton and caretaker.

Only three of the charter members of the organization still survive. They are Miss Olive Bonnallie, Mrs. John Magee and Mrs. Amos (Evelyn) Machacek, who is now past 99 years.

To date there are 84 members of the Woodbury Willing Workers who still meet monthly.

Every lot owner pays $2 yearly for upkeep of his or her own lot unless they have paid in $50 for permanent care.

A large bequest was received in 1964 from two brothers and a sister, George, Jerome and Anna Funda, each who never married and lived in London township all their lives and it was their wish that the last surviving member was to will their entire estate to charities. Forty percent of the amount went to the Woodbury Cemetery, the share amounting to $36,816.76. All three are buried in the cemetery and recently a flower urn and a commemorative plaque was placed on their lot. George was the first to pass away in 1960: Anna in 1961 and Jerome in 1963.

The cemetery also has various war veterans, one of Spanish American War; 19, Civil War; 13 in World War I; four, World War II; three others who had lots there and are buried overseas are Sgt. Walter Walk in Japan; Sgt. Marion Bell in Holland and Sgt. Robert Block in Korea.

A plaque near the flagpole was erected in memory of all the War Veterans.