Cemeteries Worth The Visit - Glenwood Cemetery

At the beginning of month we’ll take a look at one cemetery that is especially “Worth the Visit.”  This means that it offers something exceptional for the historian, genealogist and tombstone tourist.  It could be outstanding gravestones, interesting cemetery grounds, or just an exciting place to explore!  Today we will begin this monthly series at Glenwood Cemetery, located in Shelbyville, Illinois.  The stones, the hills and valleys, and the walking bridges are superb.

Underground MausoleumH.J. Hamlin MausoleumGlenwood has some wonderful examples of statues, stones and cemetery architecture.  There are five mausoleums in Glenwood.  The five family names are Earp, Hamlin, Harnett, Haydon, and Tackett.  Other well-known family names from the area include Davis, Miller, Oliver, Smith, Weakly and Williams.

Shells surround Thornton's monumentAnthony Thornton plaqueThe famous buried here include Illinois politicians Samuel Moulton and Anthony Thornton.  Josephine Garis Cochran, the inventor or the dishwasher, is also buried here.  General William Thornton who fought in the War of 1812 is buried in a family plot.  And John G. O’Brien, a man who lived in three centuries - the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth - 1793 to 1901 is at rest here.  Mr. O’Brien died at the age of 108.
There are numerous stones throughout the cemetery, which catch your eye and imagination.  Here are two that I found intriguing.  This is an open book on a tree stump with ivy vining up it.  In Victorian symbolism the book may stand for someone who was intelligent and well read.  The tree stump symbolizes a life interrupted and the ivy signifies faithful ness and undying friendship.  Tyson Mahnke, the cemetery sexton, told me that this is Phillip Nicoale's gravestone.  He was part owner in a cigar factory in the 1860’s. 
George F. FurrBe aware that when wandering the cemetery, you may be caught off-guard by the gaze of a WWI soldier, standing at ease on a hilltop.  Carved in Italy from white cara marble, this sculpture is the exact likeness of the young soldier named George F. Furr who lies buried beneath.  On his stone is the notation: Co. 1 53rd U.S. INF 4th Div.Map of cemetery
For the genealogist, Glenwood offers several options.  The Sexton’s office has burial records on paper and computer.  Maps are available for each section, and for the entire cemetery.  And, for those unable to make the trip, Sexton Tyson Mahnke has been known to go the extra mile to assist researchers, when possible.

Stone Walking BridgeIf you travel to Shelbyville, plan on spending at least one day at Glenwood Cemetery.  This is a cemetery where exploring stones and enjoying nature go hand-in-hand.  While you’re visiting Shelbyville, be sure to stop by the Shelby County Historical Society and the Shelby County Courthouse for more genealogical information.

If you would like more information about Glenwood Cemetery, contact Tyson Mahnke, Cemetery Sexton at (217) 774-3514 or by email at [email protected]  The cemetery is located at 308 E North 6th Street in Shelbyville, Illinois.  The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Glenwood also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Glenwood-Cemetery/118663618164180What a nice way to keep in touch with the cemetery and other genealogists.