One thing that distinguished Hartford Cemetery from other cemeteries in this county is the very large percent of the people buried here are people born in the early nineteenth century. To this observer it means that the families of the settlers were more conscious of placing stones in memory of their dead, than we were living in the neighboring communities. Lyon County was well settled from the trail in the northern part of the county to this line of the Neosho Valley west along Eagle Creek to Olpe, before the turn of the century. Hartford was no exception. The county has listed about forty cemeteries, three are in other counties, but close to the line and have many Lyon County residents buried therein. Locations of several burial plots have been told of, but no sign of graves remain.
Hartford, Kansas was located in the autumn of 1857, and named by H.D. RICE and A. H. HAWKES , two members of the Town Company, in honor of their home city, Hartford, Connecticut. Mrs. HAWKES taught the first school in Hartford in her home in 1860. That year a branch of Baker University (Baldwin, Kansas), was located in Hartford and named the Hartford Collegiate Institute. A building to house the school was completed in 1863. It is the oldest school building in Lyon County.
In 1866, Asa D. CHAMBERS (later elected superintendent of Lyon County schools - 1868-1870) leased the institute building for ten years and in 1867 opened it as a academy. C.P. BASSETT opened the first store on the town site. In the spring an summer of 1859, Messrs BOND , SEARS , HUNT , and ROBINSON built dwelling houses. Mr. SEARS died in 1859. Mr. SEARS was the first in the little settlement of pioneers. We wonder where he was buried, here likely. The oldest date on the tombstone inscription we find is that of Rev. J.D. WIGGINS who died Dec. 27, 1863. The infant daughter of an early settlers on Eagle Creek west of Hartford, Henry J. & Nancy J. STRATTON died the following January.
Other burials of interest was the goodly old man Isaiah WELCH . Isaiah WELCH does not have a stone that we found. Benjamin N. HUNT who was born in 1835 in Randolph County, Indiana. He was one of those first builders. John M. McCULLOUGH born in Ripley County, Indiana came to Kansas in 1857. W.P. GOULD , a hardware dealer, came in 1866. He was born in Eric County, PA. Coming in 1870 were Jacob PRUITT , proprietor of the " Pruitt House", born in Oldham County, Kentucky, and D.F. PERRY born in Shelby County, Kentucky. W.J. COMBS , born in Bond County, Illinois came to the county in 1877.
Isaac A. TAYLOR came in 1871. He was born in Garber County, Tennessee. A. WENGER , Daniel ROGAN and I.A. TAYLOR built the Hartford Water Mill in 1873. Mr. ROGAN died in 1874 and other two carried on. Mr. TAYLOR married Amanda ROGAN of Washington County, Tennessee, Nov. 1, 1866. He had a colorful military history.
The Hartford Cemetery association filed in the county courthouse, Sept. 8, 1921, a second plat called an addition to Hartford Cemetery. Chas. B. SHULL was mayor and Geo. RURMEL , clerk. The original cemetery plat is listed as being on record in the plat book, but those pages have been torn out.
A little later the township was "taking over" several cemeteries; the citizens decided to try to get the Hartford Cemetery in this class. An elections was held in 1934, and the following spring the Hartford Cemetery was "taken over" by the township. Today it is a beautiful "Silent City of the Dead" of which Hartford and community was justly proud.
NOTE: Additional information since the above was written is that Mr. SEARS was the first death, and that he was buried on his claim to the SW edge of town. The Methodist Church originally owned the cemetery, selling it to the town of Hartford in the 1890's. It is now under the care of Elmandaro Township, Lyon County, Kansas. It is still in use and well taken care of.
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Hartford Cemetery Headstone Readings
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