Oak Ridge Cemetery TALES THE TOMBSTONES TELL
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Township, Richland County, Wisconsin
Tales The Tombstones Tell -
Republican Observer September 15, 1955
A Grave With
In the Oak Ridge cemetery in the town of Orion a
neglected grave bears two government markers evidently for the same
person and the question is why? A bit of mystery creeps into the matter
as the names on the two stones is spelled differently though there is
no doubt but that the two spellings are both wrong.
On one stone, note the spelling, it says "P. B.
Wellsher, Co. B. 33 Wisconsin Infantry."
On the other stone, and again note the spelling, it
reads: "Philip Welcker, Co. B. 33 Wis. Infantry."
Noting the slight difference in the spelling of the
last name we wondered if perhaps a government marker had been set up
when it was discovered a mistake bad been made and a second stone
ordered and set up upon the grave of the departed Civil War
veteran. The matter interested us as to the correct spelling so we
looked the name up in the official roster as published by the
government. It did not help a bit for we found the name had been
spelled differently upon both markers.
According to the roster there was only one person in
Co. B. 33 Wis. Infantry who had a name at all similar to those on the
markers. The government lists the name and again note the spelling, as
Phillip B. Welcher. He enlisted August 14, 1862, at Boscobel and was
mustered out of service August 20, 1865, serving a bit over three
years. It might be of interest to note the first name; on one stone it
is P. B., on another Philip and the government puts another letter in,
making it Phillip.
That is a sample of interesting things you find upon
The Oak Ridge cemetery is another one that is
neglected and almost forgotten. However a part of the cemetery is kept
up in a way; brush is cut, grass mowed and an effort made to keep the
last resting place of old settlers in an orderly way. But for the most
part berry bushes, poison ivy, weeds and tall grass run riot. The
cemetery is quite in old one, the date of its coming into being is not
known. Like many of the old time burying places, it was connected with
a church. The church which stood on the site, was a hewn log building
erected in 1871. It is now gone, having been torn down and no trace of
it left. Its site is now part of a hay field which also hides
from the view of those who pass along the highway the little cemetery.
An odd tree, a dead hickory, is used as a fence post on the south side
of the cemetery. It was probably not very large when the church was
built, not large now but quite a sight, one worth looking at. Flickers
and woodpeckers have been at work on the tree for quite some time and
have it carved to perfection.
One of the pioneers of the county, S. S. Blake, is
buried in the Oak Ridge cemetery. He came to Richland county, in the
spring of 1854 and entered land in the town of Orion and went to the
village of Orion where he clerked in a store, later taught school. His
farm was heavily wooded and in 1856 he started to clear the land; built
a log house which stood for many years. It has now been torn down.
Mr. Blake was a veteran of the Civil War, a
member of Co. B, 25th Wis. Infantry, enlisting on August 2, 1862. On
the 22nd of July, 1864, he was seriously wounded in a battle at
Decatur, Georgia. On March 20, 1865, he was discharged and sent home.
Mr. Blake was married on January 18, 1855, to Mary Ambrose, who was
also a native of Pennsylvania. She, too, is buried in the Oak Ridge
cemetery not far from the hickory tree mentioned above.
Mr. Blake had been an officer of trust and honor in
the town of Orion. He was for a time chairman of the town, and so, like
many pioneers, his last resting place is in a neglected cemetery. He
died on March 5, 1904, and was buried in the Oak Ridge cemetery March
7th. "Ashes to ashes" said the minister as the body was lowered into
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