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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

After The Fact, After The Fact

Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, Elk County, Kansas

I have made some progress towards finding the answers to questions I posed in my post "Engraving After The Fact" .

A saint of a woman named Ruth Walker has been patiently finding answers to the endless questions I keep tossing her way. Ruth is the parish secretary for St. Mary's Catholic Church in Moline, Elk County, Kansas. St. Mary's is the "caretaker" of Mount Olivet Cemetery. My 3rd great grandparents - Daniel Derondo Delaney and his wife Ellen Collins are buried there as well as my other 3rd great grandmother - Ann Emily Leseure Sheern.

Ruth could only answer questions about the Delaney's. Ann Emily Leseure Sheern was buried before 1900 and Holy Name Catholic Church would have those records.

Ruth explained to me that they were originally buried at Boston Catholic Cemetery which was located in the now defunct county of Howard. The headstones were moved to Mount Olivet in 1961 but it is possible that the remains were not.

As to specific questions about the plot purchased by E.F. Sheern in 1911 she replied, "I can only speculate what your ancestor was thinking but you would assume he purchased the lots when Mount Olivet was very new, then moved to a new community and decided to be buried there. He may have known he would not be buried in Mount Olivet and so gave permission for the graves to be relocated in his lots or someone in his immediate family gave permission for the graves to be moved there. We do not know this. "

The question as to the care and upkeep of Mount Olivet got this response:

"We do not have a "sexton" as such. St. Mary's is a small, (less than 50 families) rural parish. Most everything is done by volunteers. We do hire the mowing done in the summer months. Our funds mostly come from former parishioners living elsewhere that help support the cemetery. The iron fence in front of the cemetery is painted by volunteers. The barbed wire fence on three sides is maintained by volunteers. When we need to repaint the large statue [see photo above] in the middle of the cemetery some member or former member will donate the money and a professional is hired. Graves are dug by the city of Moline. I keep the books and if you want to purchase a plot you would need to visit with me.
Many times lots are purchased as the purchaser wants to buried by family, then they move to another community, become involved in that community and decide they want to be buried there or the ones making the final arrangements want them buried there and so the lots in the original cemetery are vacant. We have that at Mount Olivet. We would hope
they would donate the lots back to us or we would buy them back, but many times this is not done. And I do know of instances where they did not notify any of their heirs that they owned the lots and so they cannot return what they do not know about. "

Next Stop - Holy Name Catholic Church !