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Beard Cemetery
It was located in the NW 1/4 of Section 6, Channahon Township.

Beard, John II, courtesy Lea Sharp, taken 1970s

"Goose Lake Township, Grundy County, Illinois" Compiled and Published by Pete Kodat, Sep 1997

The Beard Family Cemetery was located about 1000 feet east of the Will-Grundy County line on Blodgett road. John Beard was one of the first pioneers in this area who had a ford on the Kankakee River and laid out plans for the Kankakee City. This cemetery was relocated when Blodgett was straightened and blacktopped in the early 1970's. The following is taken from Gilbert B. McIntosh's 1966 book, "Fourteen Thousand Years at Wildfeather":

"It's strange that Mr. Skinner should have told you that there must once have been close to a hundred graves in the Blodgett Road Cemetery, and yet the others that you talked to all felt that there were never more than twenty to thirty graves."

"Perhaps, Tammy, but remember there were never any official records kept of the burials, and the cemetery was started a very long time ago, indeed. John Osburn had always heard that it was started about 1830 by a family attacked by cholera while traveling west with a wagon train. Cholera was very common in those days, particularly along these rivers in the spring of the year. I have heard that the survivors of the family settled in the immediate vicinity, perhaps to be near the grave of one very dear to them, and that eventually cholera wiped out most of them."

"Mrs. Watson can remember gravestones with the names John Beard and John Beard, Jr., almost side by side and a littled removed a small grave with the name of John Beard III, beside which was a single rose bush. Unquestionably, quite a few early settlers were buried in the cemetery, perhaps also a few workmen from the canal construction days. It's not impossible that it may have been used as late as the time when the stone quarries were being worked, although most feel that burials were probably discontinued about the time of the Civil War."

"But, Gramps, if the little cemetery had held even as few as twenty graves, wouldn't there be more indication of it than there is today? After all, now it's nothing more than a small jog in Blodgett Road just to the east of Wildfeather. That, plus the little remaining portion of a stone wall and two or three headstones, is all that I've ever seen.

Gramps reached for his pipe and tobacco as he looked thoughtfully at his granddaughter. "What happened doesn't seem to me a particularly nice story, Tammy, but as everyone down here agrees on it, it must be true. You know I told you that the owners of the old stone walls up on the river road gave their permission to people in the area to haul away as many flags as they wanted. After all, the walls no longer served a purpose. The gravestones were lugged away like the walls, but only because there was no one left in the area to care for the cemetery or show an interest in it, and those who carted off the headstones knew that no one would interfere with them. It's too bad, but the fact remains that there are a number of houses in Wilmington which are still using those gravestones inverted for steps and walks. The removal of the stones, plus the gradual encroachment of the vines and bushes, will, I suppose, eventually leave almost no trace at all of an area that must once have been important to a good many families."

Last Update: Sunday, 22-Mar-2015 19:43:42 EDT

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