Monday, May 11, 2015

A Visit to Zion Cemetery. Woburn, Illinois

Last week work took me to a sales demo for some software my company sells. The trip took me withing striking distance of the Zion Cemetery in Bond County Illinois. I was driving and the addition of a side trip to the cemetery would only add about an hour to my drive.

Zion Church Cemetery is the final resting place of one of the surviving members of the Cane Creek Massacre (1884): Lizzie Garrett Baker.

It was Lizzie's father Isaiah Thomas Garrett, who helped two of the missionaries escape after the shooting. He also helped B. H. Roberts exhume the bodies to the two slain missionaries and send them back to Utah. All the while Tom was not a member of the LDS Church. For his neighborly kindness he was rewarded with death threats by the vigilantes. It only took a couple of months to rattle this otherwise fearless Civil War veteran and local constable. He sold what he could and abandoned what he could not sell before the end of 1884. He left in such haste that his wife Martha stayed behind with their daughter, Lizzie. He went north to his brother's home in Illinois. A couple months later his daughter Lizzie and her husband George Baker helped move Martha to Illinois as well. The four of them settled in Woburn, Bond County, Illinois, about 50 miles south of Tom's brother's farm.

George was a physician and immediately started a new practice. Tom and Martha, having left much of their wealth behind in Tennessee were forced to rely upon the kindness of family and strangers. Tom even wrote the Church asking for help from the many missionaries he sheltered during his years in Tennessee.

Martha died in 1887, just two years after arriving in their new home. My only source for Martha's birth and death dates were from a Find-a-Grave profile. It only recorded the year for each. While visiting the cemetery I could just make out the month and day for each as well. Sometimes it pays to go yourself. I also have a new mystery. Martha Garrett was born Martha Jane Lankford. But this stone reads Marth J. Brant Garrett, with Brant being in a place that hints at it being a last name, from perhaps a first husband. Mmmmmm.

Lizzie and George Baker had six children, two of which died young. Their children didn't stay in the area, moving to nearby Chicago, or far away Arizona. George died in 1903 & Lizzie died in 1935.

After the death of his wife, Tom moved in with his daughter, Lizzie. He moved between there and the home of his grandchildren until he died in 1910.  Sometime after his death, several of the Civil War veterans in Zion Cemetery had their gravestone replaced to commemorate their service, though I have not yet been able to pinpoint when or by whom. Sadly they misspelled his first name.

1 comment:

gscoulson said...

I agree that with prior research a trip to the cemetery can be very productive and exciting. The story you've been searching out becomes very real. and as you've said, there are only some things that can be done in person.

While researching one of my ancestors, I found her record in a cemetery database. The owner of the database said that she would clean the graves and send pictures for a set fee. When I got the pictures, she informed me that the grave had fallen and the cemetery groundskeepers had helped her erect it. When I posted the story to some "genealogy cousins" I found that one of them had visited in person just the year before and had to stand the stone up herself.

Though I wasn't able to go myself, having someone in person was able to really make a difference. I've found some other graves in Brooklyn and hope to go see them soon.