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Memorial Day 2022

Memorial Day 2022

The Tradition Continues By SUE HUNTER WEIR After a two-year hiatus, Memorial Day will be observed in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery (corner of Cedar Avenue and Lake Street). The program begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30th. Highlights include music by the Seward Community Concert Band (they begin playing about 9:40). Our keynote speaker is Milt Schoen, Vice Commander of American Legion Post #1. This event is supported by numerous groups and organizations including students from the Minnesota Transition School, Scout Troop #1, and American Legion Post #1 and Team Rubicon. We have a limited number of chairs so if you are able to, please bring a lawn chair. We hope to see you there. At 1 p.m., there will be an hour-long presentation about the history of the cemetery. Guests will be seated for the talk but are welcome to explore the grounds before or after the program. All events are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.

22,000+ Rest, Undisturbed

22,000+ Rest, Undisturbed

Tales of Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery By SUE HUNTER WEIR In the cemetery’s early days, the cost of maintenance and repair was paid for voluntarily by the families of those buried there. By 1919, the cemetery was filled to capacity. Many families had moved away and some were simply too poor to continue to pay an annual maintenance fee. The cemetery fell into serious disrepair. On May 23, 1919, the Minneapolis City Council, at the request of some South Minneapolis residents and merchants, voted to close Layman’s Cemetery to further burials. The ordinance did not condemn the cemetery, which would have required the removal and relocation of more than 27,000 people. The ordinance simply stated that no burials would be allowed after August 1, 1919. Nonetheless, there were rumors that the cemetery had to be vacated and the remains of 5,000 to 6,000 people were removed. The deeds to the graves for those removals were returned to the Layman Land Trust, and became the property of the City of Minneapolis when it assumed responsibility for maintaining the cemetery in 1928. The remaining 22,000+ occupied graves remain the property of the families. Confusion about what was to happen to the cemetery and to the remains of those buried there was no doubt fed by Martin G. Layman, grandson of the original owners, who was serving as caretaker of the cemetery. In the cemetery office there are several letters that he wrote to family members asking for more information about what would happen to their loved ones. As he correctly pointed out, when the city council voted to close it, the cemetery still belonged to members of the Layman family. In 1920, he answered one letter by stating that the “ordinance shut off all income therefore the grounds are not kept up any more…” He went on to suggest that “people who care for there dead prefer to remove their dead to some place where it is kept up…” He incorrectly added that “Eventually all bodies will be removed [...]

Have You Heard the One About…

Have You Heard the  One About…

By Patrick Cabello Hansel A lawyer, a pastor and a saxophone player walked into”¦a cemetery? What”™s the punchline? You”™ll have to come to “QUITTING TIME at a Place of Endless Time,” on Saturday, September 18th at 4 pm at the historic Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery at East Lake Street and Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. Patrick Cabello Hansel”™s 2nd book of poetry, “Quitting Time,” is an extended elegy to his father, Walter Hansel. It engages his history from his birth into a German-speaking home in rural North Dakota, through the Great Depression, World War II, and becoming a barber and raising a family in Austin, MN. Patrick retired in 2020 after serving with his wife Luisa for 15 years at St. Paul”™s Lutheran Church in Phillips. He is the author of the poetry collection “The Devouring Land,” and his work has been published in over 70 journals. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he has received awards from the Loft Literary Center and the Minnesota State Arts Board. At the event, Patrick will read with prize-winning poets Tim Nolan and Richard Terrill. There will be live music with Larry McDonough on keyboards and Richard Terrill on sax. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the program, and there will be an optional tour of the historic cemetery. Tim Nolan is a lawyer and the author of The Field (New Rivers Press, 2016), And Then (New Rivers Press, 2012) and The Sound of It (New Rivers Press, 2008). Richard Terrill is a sax player and the author of poetry collections What Falls Away is Always, Almost Dark and Leaning Into Rachmaninoff. You can enter the cemetery on the Cedar Avenue side. Please bring a lawn chair or blanket. We will try to keep you updated on COVID restrictions, but be prepared with a mask just in case. And if you”™re not vaccinated, please do so!

She waited 50 years ”“ and the city kept its promise

She waited 50 years ”“ and  the city kept its promise

Tales from Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery By Sue Hunter Weir 163rd in a Series People often ask whether it is still possible to be buried in the cemetery. The answer is ”“ maybe.  It is possible, but not likely. On May 23, 1919, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance that closed Layman”'s (now Pioneers and Soldiers) Cemetery to future burials. They did so in response to a petition circulated by business owners and neighbors from the surrounding area who complained that the cemetery had become an eyesore and a health hazard.  The burial ban went into effect on Aug. 1, 1919.  The ordinance did not condemn the cemetery, which would have required disinterring the 27,000 people buried there, but simply said that no more could be added; there was enough misinformation and confusion about what the cemetery”'s future that family members arranged for the removal of more than 5,000 people. More that 22,000 remain. The last person buried before the ban went into effect was 16-year-old Jessie Wethern who drowned on July 20, 1919, while swimming in Minnehaha Creek with three of her girlfriends. Jessie lived with her widowed mother at 4122 East Lake Street, not far from the cemetery, and that may have been why her mother chose to have Jessie buried at Layman”'s on July 22, 1919, nine days before the ban went into effect. Fifteen years later, in 1934, the city council voted to make their first exception to the ordinance and allow Ann Maria Witherell Lynde to be buried next to her husband, Elihu Spencer Lynde. Mrs. Lynde died on Dec. 17, 1934, from heart disease at the age of 88. Her husband, a Civil War veteran, had died 50 years earlier, on April 30, 1884.   Mrs. Lynde”'s story was one of promises both made and kept.   According to a story in the Minneapolis Star, she had appeared before members of the city council before they approved the ban on burials and had been promised that she [...]

Plaque”'s theft is a historically large loss and a petty thief”'s gain

Plaque”'s theft is a historically large loss and a petty thief”'s gain

TIMOTHY McCALLSoldier and Pioneers Memorial Cemetery since 1858 had new fence and pillars erected in 1928-29 and plaques soon after as a gift from the Minneapolis Cemetery Protective Association”'s (MCPA) Auxiliary. Someone stole a piece of the City”'s history. It happened on Aug. 30 or 31st, most likely during the night. One of the two bronze plaques that graced the pillars on either side of the Lake Street gates was stolen. The thieves were trying to steal the other but must have been interrupted. Some of the stone that held the plaque was chiseled away but not enough to loosen it. The fence and pillars were erected in 1928-29 and the plaques added either at the same time or shortly afterward. They were a gift from the Minneapolis Cemetery Protective Association”'s (MCPA) Auxiliary. The Auxiliary was a group of women from the association”'s membership who raised funds for many of the structures that have been identified as contributing resources in the nomination that placed the cemetery in the National Register of Historic Sites. Two of the other resources include the flagpole and the cemetery”'s memorial to pioneer mothers. Mike, the cemetery”'s caretaker, first noticed that the plaque was missing on Saturday, September 1st, when he was setting up for the movie. He noticed a pile of debris on the sidewalk and went to clean it up. He realized that is was stone that had been chipped out of the pillar and that there was only an indentation where the plaque had been. (more…)

The 144th Memorial Day of Veterans at Pioneers and Soldier”'s Cemetery

The 144th Memorial Day of Veterans at Pioneers and Soldier”'s Cemetery

Photos & story By Harvey Winje On May 28, 2012, Americans across the world honored the women and men who have served in the military.  It is a tradition that goes back to 1868 when General Logan issued his General Order #11 which set aside one day a year for remembrance of veterans. At Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, we have other reasons to be grateful to the veterans and their families and friends.  They are the people who, more than any others, are the reason that the cemetery exists today. After the City Council voted to close the cemetery to future burials in 1919, the remains of approximately 6,000 to 7,000 people, including many veterans, were moved to other cemeteries.  But there were some families who refused to have their loved ones moved, and families of veterans were among the most vocal in their opposition. On a beautiful May morning the Minnesota Chapter of the U.S. Daughters of 1812 led the honoring of all veterans of the War of 1812 with specific tributes to Walter Carpenter and John Carpenter, brothers, who served in the War of 1812 and acknowledging the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  The Daughters of the War of 1812 honored the lives of these two brothers.  They placed a new veteran”'s tombstone on the grave of Walter Carpenter.  A military, legal technicality prevents John Walker”'s gravesite from being marked by a Federal Veterans tombstone because he was a member of the State Militia. The traditional Memorial Day observance began informally as patriotic band music sounded throughout the cemetery by the Seward Concert Band.  Veteran Emcee Gary Martin called the assembly to order officially welcoming the crowd and announcing the presentation of Colors by the JROTC from Minnesota Transitions School, singing of “Stars Spangled Banner” led by Nancy, the Pledge of Allegiance, and introducing the Rev. Becky Sechrist from Good Samaritan United Methodist Church [...]

Bra·vo! Bra·vo! Bra·vis·si·mo!

Bra·vo! Bra·vo! Bra·vis·si·mo!

By Sue Hunter Weir It was an event like no other in Minneapolis. As far as we know the concert on October 8th was the first rock concert ever held in a Minneapolis cemetery. And, what a concert it was! It was one of those days when everything came together: beautiful weather, fantastic music and a wonderful, wonderful crowd. How big was the crowd? Our best estimate is that 1,500 people attended. We sold about 900 advance tickets and between three and four hundred tickets at the gates. Kids under twelve and volunteers got in free. Many who attended said that, although they had driven past the cemetery hundreds of times, this was the first time they”'d stopped into the grounds. Many also told us that they had no idea how much history could be learned there. One of the big hits of the day was the smartphone history hunt which enabled people to use their phones to learn more about 25 of the people buried in the cemetery. Kids had their own history hunt and could get their faces painted or chalk along the roadway as well. (more…)

“Hats Off” as Honors are Given

“Hats Off” as Honors are Given

May 19, 2011, marked the perfect ending to a perfect week for Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery””the kind of week that comes around once every 83 years. It was a week in which we celebrated the history of Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial (formerly Layman”'s) Cemetery while making a little history of our own. May is National Preservation Month, a time when preservationists and their supporters call attention to efforts to save the nation”'s historic treasures. One of those national treasures is right here in Phillips Community Grand Opening of the Restored Main Gate “Hinges” on contributions On Tuesday, May 17th, about 60 people attended the unveiling of Phase I of the restoration of the cemetery”'s gates and the 13 sections of the fence that were in the worst condition. The weather was glorious, the tulips were in full bloom, and even the dandelions looked festive. A lime-green dune buggy buzzed around one of the vacant lots across from the Lake Street gates where guests gathered to listen to speakers. A gentleman walking down Lake Street removed his hat and held it over his heart as he passed by the cemetery gates. Council Member Gary Schiff made the opening remarks. He was followed by Winnie Layman Fernstrom, great-great-granddaughter of the cemetery”'s original owners; Britta Bloomberg from the State Historic Preservation Office; Chad Larsen, Chair of the Heritage Preservation Commission; Joyce Wisdom, Executive Director of the Lake Street Business Council; and me, as Chair of Friends of the Cemetery. The message was clear: this project wouldn”'t have been possible without the hard work and generous support of many individuals and agencies. The State Historic Preservation Office and the City of Minneapolis have provided the lion”'s share of funding, but the value of contributions from those who have adopted pickets can not be overstated. Funders want to know, and rightly so, [...]

Upcoming events at the Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery

Upcoming events at the Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery

Unveiling of Restored Grand Entrance Gate of Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery May 17th 3 PM The Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery”'s restored front gate and first of other sections will be commemorated with an unveiling on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, at 3 p.m. Join Mpls. Council Member Gary Schiff, friends and family members of those buried in the cemetery, and a host of people who have worked so hard on this restoration project. 553 pickets have been adopted at a cost of $30 a piece. Thanks to everyone who has contributed thus far. For more information on donating see page 4. Asa Clark Brown Honored by Daughters of the War of 1812. May 30th 9 AM On Monday, May 30, 2011, at 9 a.m., the Minnesota chapter of the Daughters of 1812 will dedicate Mr. Brown”'s new marker. Everyone is welcome. Please join us in honoring Asa Clark Brown. 142nd Memorial Day Celebration At Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. May 30th 10 AM Monday, May 30, 2011 marks the 142nd time that Memorial Day has been observed at the cemetery. At 9 a.m., the Minnesota Daughters of 1812 will dedicate the new military marker for Asa Clark Brown. The traditional Memorial Day observance will take place at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m. there will be a history talk followed by an optional tour. All Memorial Day events are free and everyone is welcome. Preserve Minneapolis. Walking Tour of Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. June 10th 10 AM On Saturday, June 10th, at 10 a.m., Preserve Minneapolis will sponsor a cemetery walking tour. The tour will take about an hour and a-half and will take place rain or shine. The cost is $5.00  

Asa Clark Brown to be Honored by Daughters of the War of 1812 May 30th 2011 at 9 AM

By Sue Hunter Weir The Daughters of the War of 1812 will place a new marker for Asa Clark Brown, one of three confirmed War of 1812 veterans buried in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. The other two veterans, James N. Glover was honored in 2010 and Walter P. Carpenter, will be honored in 2012. John Carpenter, Walter”'s brother, may well turn out to be a War of 1812 veteran as well. If that turns out to be the case, four of the approximately 200 War of 1812 veterans known to have died in Minnesota will have been buried in Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. Asa Clark Brown, one of the Cemetery”'s War of 1812 veterans, has a new military marker. His old marker was placed on his grave by members of the Minneapolis Cemetery Protective Association in 1932. After almost 80 years of wind and weather, the carving has all but disappeared, and it was time. In the next few weeks, his new marker will be installed, and his old marker will be removed and placed flat on his grave. On Monday, May 30, 2011, at 9 a.m., the Minnesota chapter of the Daughters of 1812 will dedicate Mr. Brown”'s new marker. Everyone is welcome. Please join us in honoring Asa Clark Brown.

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