Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday, Homestead Cemetery, Homestead, Iowa County, Iowa, The Amana Colonies

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

In middle July of 2011 in the midst of a heat wave that discouraged me from getting out of Big Butt's air conditioned comfort, Man and I were visiting the Amana Colonies.  They say that each of the 7 villages has their own burial ground, we visited 2, for just a few minutes each.  I took very few photos, it was just too hot.  I did not see any signs marking the cemeteries, the two we visited were tucked in off the road, not far, but it did help that someone told me where this one, the Homestead Cemetery, was located, or we may have driven past it.

During my preparing of this post I went looking for this cemetery over at Find A Grave.  I found two listings for a Homestead Cemetery in Iowa County, one is a blank cemetery, nothing more is recorded; the second listing has two memorials.  I began to wonder, why?  Was it that the cemeteries are somewhat hard to spot?  Was it a religious taboo that has kept someone from recording the cemetery.? My next search was a Google search, where I located a much more extensive census and recording of the burials.  See the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project, where they have recorded 396 memorials, the few I checked (clicked through via the names) did have photos of the stones and some background data.

To review:  The area was settled in the 1850's by a German religious group, the Community of True Inspiration.   Each town had it's own cemetery, the dead were interred in the order of their death, not by family groups.

While visiting the Amana Heritage Museum we found this description of a funeral service, rather than paraphrase it all, I am just going to include a photo of it.

Here is a view of one section of the cemetery:

I draw your attention to the lower row of  headstones, checking the names from left to right, Helen D. Dittrich, Louise K. Selzer, and then a bronze flag holder, common for marking U.S. Veteran's last resting places:

Here is the first (from the left, working right), Helen D. Dittrich, note she died in 2006:

Next is the marker for Louise K. Selzer, her year of death is 2005.

And, this is the marker for Arthur W. Selzer, died 2004, that is the same bronze flag holder as in the first photo.

I found it interesting that the cemeteries are still burying by the date of death, and there are no family plots here, respecting their religious heritage.  The burials are done 7 feet apart and the stones all face east.

One last look at this peaceful, simple cemetery, may they all rest in peace.



Lynne Carothers said...

Somehow I find the simplicity of the same type of marker and the order of the burial very harmonious and relaxing.

Joan said...

and it looks so uncluttered --- even spacious, as cemeteries go.

Kathy Reed said...

I wonder what it was about their religious beliefs that allowed them to bury chronologically instead of in family groups? I know that is a practice regularly followed by religious orders of nuns.