In 2013 the Ely History Society was contacted by Paula Sexton. Her elderly uncle had passed away and she found a number of items relating to the early days of the town of Western, Iowa. One of the items was a "Grave Yard Book" containing early burials in Western Cemetery, as well as burials that had been moved from the "old cemetery" in Western. The dates of the events range from 1869 to 1898.
In checking current lists of the burials in Western Cemetery, I realized that many of these early burials were not recorded. They had been lost through the years.
I felt it was important to publish what was contained in this old book, so I scanned the pages to enable me to magnify them. I then began the long process of transcribing the book page by page. The script as written by G. A. Manasmith, Sexton, was at times very hard to decipher, and the spelling was not the best. However, I tried to transcribe it as written, making corrections as necessary, but preserving the author's original entries. There are some entries I was unable to decipher. In addition there were a few obituaries tucked into the book that I also transcribed.
I hope that this transcription will help people who are looking for their ancestors graves.
Barb Horak,Collections Manager
Ely Community History Society
“The Grave Yard Book.”
The first 2 pages show a plot map of the cemetery with numbered lots. “A Plot of the grave yard of the town of Western” is the heading on the map.
"The first grave was dug by me in the year of AD 1869 when the transfering or removing of the Dead commenced. The Last Removal was made the 3rd day of May AD 1871 from the old Grave yard on A. Perry’s and A. S. Collier’s farm." - G. A. Manasmith, Sexton
The final entry in the book was in the year of 1898.
These links take you to uploads to Google Drive. You should be able to use the "+" to enlarge them.
As I have time, I will upload each scanned page, but for now, here is the transcription.
Transcription: Names of Lot Owners
Transcription: Town of Western, Iowa Original Cemetery Book
Transcription: List of Old Cemetery Transfers & Free Burials
These are the burials I was unable to find in present Western Cemetery listings.
And finally, Obituaries from the Western Grave Yard Book
1884-Chesley L. Brockman
after 1885 - Rev. J.G. Snyder, (died in Des Moines)
1994-Jane Workman (loose slip of paper)
(unknown year) Isaac Workman (died at West Side)
1885-Mrs. Cinderella Rutt
1878-Mary Elizabeth DeMoss
(unknown year) Elizabeth Shuey
The present Western Cemetery is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of "C" Street and Vista Road, two gravel roads, just east of the small town of Western.
In searching newspaper archives, I have found a few obituaries that have the term "Western Cemetery" in them. Here are obits for
Click to enlarge the obits, then click AGAIN if they aren't large enough