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.
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.
The requisite Catholic cemetery statue.
Detail from statue.
It was a beautiful day for a country drive. The colors are just starting to pop here in southern Minnesota.
I came across a number of baby graves. The Christmas of 1925 must have been a sad one for the Van Guilder family.
I love the detail on this one.
And this one.
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.
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.
Lisa Simons said:
Very cool! Did you notice the guy with the Harley Davidson emblem was only 27 when he died? So sad.
Yes, I wondered what happened. The entire monument was very personal.
Tracy Lee Karner said:
“Older” — has a different connotation out here in the east, where some cemeteries are 400 years old.
Now I know why I’m attracted to a certain monument on the east bay (in Rhode Island)… and why I’ve been thinking I need to get there to take pictures. I’ll send the photos as soon as I get back out there to take them. You’ll love them.
That’s why I loved visiting Mt. Auburn–the “old” graves truly were old! Here you rarely find anyone buried earlier than the 1860s.
Please send pictures when you have them! I will post them here if you don’t mind.
Tracy Lee Karner said: