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I spoke at the Hastings Pleasant Hill Library today and on my way back home, I took a spontaneous visit to St. Mathias Cemetery in Hampton, Minn. I’d never been through Hampton before; it’s midway between Northfield and Hastings on Dakota County Road 47.

What I love about cemeteries are the stories. That’s why I wrote a book about cemetery stories that captivated me. I was at this cemetery 10-15 minutes and identified a half-dozen stories that I would love to know more about. The woman who possibly was a widow for more than 60 years. The baby who died just after Christmas. The family who chose a Harley-Davidson emblem for the gravestone.

Enjoy the photos.

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I’m always interested to know the heritage of a town, and a cemetery visit is the best way to do that. Lots of German names in this cemetery. Since they are Catholic, I will presume the town’s initial immigrants were from southern Germany, Austria, or Alsace-Lorraine.

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The requisite Catholic cemetery statue.

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Detail from statue.

It was a beautiful day for a country drive. The colors are just starting to pop here in southern Minnesota.

It was a beautiful day for a country drive. The colors are just starting to pop here in southern Minnesota.

cemetery

I came across a number of baby graves. The Christmas of 1925 must have been a sad one for the Van Guilder family.

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I love the detail on this one.

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And this one.

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I would love to know if this woman indeed remained a widow for more than 60 years. Her husband died in 1919, and she died in 1980. That would be pretty incredible.

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I normally am drawn to the older monuments in a cemetery and rarely visit the “newer” sections. But on my way back to my car, I saw this one straight ahead. After I really looked at it, I realized it was a Harley-Davidson emblem. This is one of the most unique recent monuments that I’ve seen.

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