Time travel as close as your local cemetery.

Sunday’s Cemetery 34

November 1, 2015 / by davidwalton

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The dirt road in Faribault County, MN that lead me to Rosehill Cemetery.

Cemeteries. Every city has one. They are mysterious, historic, haunting and, to me, fascinating.  I developed a fondness for cemeteries as a boy.

Now whenever I’m out of town, I always make it a point to visit a cemetery.  To me, they are better than any mountain range, skyline or other popular tourist attraction.  They are hidden treasures containing a wealth of information about communities and the people who lived there.

Chances are you have visited a cemetery at some time in your life to pay your respects to a family member or friend, and perhaps you too appreciate the stories represented among the tombstones and monuments.

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Standing at the entrance to Rosehill Cemetery on a very windy day.

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Much of the cemetery grounds were  covered in husks from nearby cornfields.

My travels take me to all over the South and Midwest – and sometimes further North – so I have decided to start documenting my cemetery visits with a series of photos in a Sunday feature.

This week’s cemetery is Rosehill Cemetery in Faribault County, MN.

Recently, I spent a week in Minnesota where I visited as many towns and cities as humanly possible! One of those communities was Blue Earth in Faribault County which gets its unusual name from the Blue Earth River that surrounds the town. Blue Earth is also home to the world’s largest statue of the Jolly Green Giant and is the birthplace of the ice cream sandwich!

This captivating memorial belongs to the Austin family.

This captivating memorial belongs to the Austin family.

Whenever and wherever I travel, I get a strong urge to visit and examine cemeteries. I believe there’s a term for people like me. It’s called coimetromania. So while driving around Blue Earth, I let my handy dandy GPS sniff out the nearest cemetery. That’s how I stumbled upon Rosehill. I’m not sure whether the cemetery is in Blue Earth or another nearby town, but I am certain it’s in Faribault County.

To get to Rosehill, one must travel down a long dirt road. This happened to be my first as a driver! And what a dusty experience it was. Something else that’s very noticeable in small Minnesota towns, especially for a big city guy like myself, is the resonating sound of silence.  It’s neat at first but if you think too much about it, it becomes a little spooky!

Mr. and Mrs. Derby, What was it like living in Faribault County in the late 1800s?

The burial site of Truman and Mary Derby.

Mr. Starkweather, Being that you're from Iowa, how did you meet your wife Clara? Is she responsible for bringing you here?

The headstone of Charles and Clara Starkweather.

One might get the impression Rosehill was conceived in the middle of a cornfield because it’s surrounded by them! That explains why there was an abundance of corn husks on the ground.

The cemetery is quite lovely. It’s perimeters are lined with a variety of trees; cedar trees are exclusive to the inner space.

As I strolled down each row, reading the names and dates on the headstones aloud, I kept thinking how interesting and educational it would be to have conversations with these former residents to find out what life was like in this part of the country back in the 1800s.

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The graves of Klyde and Minnie Miller, who lived through the Great Depression.

Charles Starkweather had two headstones — one with his wife, Clara, and another for his time served in World War I. It showed him as being from Iowa. In addition to the community climate, I’d like to know how he met his wife and if she’s the reason they made this area their home.

As far as Truman and Mary Derby, I’d like to know, I’d ask them about modes of transportation during their day and whether crime was ever an issue. Also, I’d like to know how they ended up here.

I’d ask Klyde and Minnie Miller about what it was like living through the Great Depression and how it impacted their family and those in the community.

Until next time….

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