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St. Bernard’s Cemetery Association


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1911, May 30, Memorial Day service




St. Bernard's Cemetery Association

Watertown Gazette, 03 25 1910


1.            The object of this Association is take charge of St. Bernard's Cemetery, Watertown, Wisconsin, so that it may be taken care of, improved and beautified.


2.            The Association shall consist of eight members,  namely:  The Pastor, the two lay trustees, and five members of the congregation, duly elected in open meeting.


3.            The officers of the Association shall be:  President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The Pastor shall be, ex-officio, President of the Association; the other officers shall be elected by the members.


4.            The Association shall have the right to make any changes they see fit for the good of the cemetery; to determine the grade, to have removed any trees, shrubs, hedges, fences, copings, or enclosures, etc., which, in their opinion, are detrimental to neighboring lots, alleys, walks and drives, or which detract from the general appearance of the cemetery grounds.


5.            All improvements, before undertaken, must first be passed on by the Association.  Those who wish to erect monuments or sepulchral stones must first procure permission of the Association.  Every tombstone must be Christian; no pagan symbols will be tolerated.


6.            Owners will be notified before any change of consequence is made in the grade or appearance of their grave or lot.


7.            All work in the cemetery shall be done by the sexton or under his supervision.  No ground shall be broken for a grave until the sexton receives an order from the Secretary, said order to be countersigned by the Pastor.


8.            Only practical [practicing?] Catholics may be buried in the consecrated ground of St Bernard's Cemetery.  Hence suicides (except in case of insanity,) infidels, apostates, public sinners; in a word, all those who have fallen away from the church and die unrepentant, no  matter whether they own a lot or not, are debarred from burial in the cemetery proper.  A separate portion of ground is reserved for non-Catholics who are members of Catholic families, for unbaptized children of Catholic parents, and for indifferent Catholics who show signs of repentance at the hour of death.


9.            If the owner of a lot desires to have a person buried in it who is not of "the family," the same charges shall be made as for a single grave.  "By family" is meant all relations to the second degree of consanguinity and the first degree of affinity.


10.          The price of a single grave shall be Five Dollars; a lot 12x12 will be sold for Twelve Dollars.


11.          The sum of six dollars will be charged for opening and filling each grave; said sum must be paid to the Secretary before the issuance of a burial permit.


12.          In case of dispute as to the ownership of grave or lot, if the parties interested cannot settle the matter amicably, the matter will be arbitrated, each claimant to name one member of the board of arbitration, and the Association to name one.  If the board should fail to adjust matters, then the Association shall take the case in hand and make a decision.


13.          The money required for the improvement and care of the cemetery shall be obtained by levying an annual tax against the owner of each grave or lot, said tax to vary from year to year according to the financial need of the Association.


14.          The Association expects to receive bequests for the perpetual care of lots or graves.  A fund has already been started, and the interest obtained from the invested fund will be used for the care of the graves or lots mentioned in the bequest. Fifty dollars is the smallest sum that the Association will accept for the perpetual care of a grave.


15.          Those who are in arrears in paying their assessment, forfeit, until they satisfy the claims of the Association, the right to have any member of their family interred in St. Bernard's Cemetery.


16.          St. Bernard's Cemetery is consecrated ground, consequently, unbecoming or boisterous language, driving or running across the graves or the lots will not be tolerated.


17.          The Association asks the cooperation of all those who are interested in the cemetery; for without this cooperation the labor of the Association will be in vain, and instead of making a success of the undertaking and realizing the object for which the Association was formed, things will again fall back into the same old way and the consecrated ground of St. Bernard’s Cemetery will continue to be an eye-sore in the community and a disgrace to the parish.



St. Bernard's Cemetery Association

St. Bernard’s Cemetery Association

Watertown Gazette, 08 27 1909


Last Saturday night the trustees of St. Bernard’s cemetery met at the parochial residence and elected the following officers:


President—Rev. Father Hennessey

Vice President—James W. Moore

Secretary—John G. Conway

Treasurer—Edward Sipp


It is the purpose of the association to create a fund to properly care for the cemetery and put it in presentable shape.  Already a beginning has been made, and men have been at work cleaning it of surplus grass and weeds, trimming trees, etc.  About May 1st next a superintendent will be appointed and he will be kept constantly at work in the cemetery from May 1st till October 1st.  The cemetery will be properly graded and leveled, walks built and other necessary improvements made.  Henceforth no one will be allowed to do work in the cemetery that does not meet with the approval of the trustees.  By-laws governing the cemetery will be shortly printed and published.



05 09       Last Sunday the members of St. Bernard's congregation contributed $176 towards Improving their cemetery.  About $250 will be expended on it this spring.  A new fence is to be built around, a well dug, and other changes made that will be greatly appreciated by those having beloved ones buried there.  This is a move in the right direction and we hope the good work will continue.   WG



06 27       It is reported that flowers on the graves of St. Bernard's Cemetery are being stolen.  Can it be that people in these civilized times are low enough to desecrate the resting places of the departed?  Guilty parties ought to consider what they are doing and not steal flowers from a cemetery, even if their wants cannot be satisfied otherwise.  WR



04 01       A word to those whose relatives are buried in St. Bernard's Cemetery at Watertown, Wisconsin:


St. Bernard's cemetery has been for years one of the most neglected cemeteries in the country.


Last summer some little was done towards the amelioration of existing conditions; the grass and weeds were cut down, the trees trimmed and the rubbish that had accumulated for many a year was gotten rid of.


In the fall a Cemetery Association was formed, composed of the following members: Rev. T. Hennessy, President; James W. Moore, Vice-President; John G. Conway, Secretary; Edward Sipp, Treasurer; Michael Fitzgerald, Edward J. O'Byrne, Michael Casey, Nicholas Murphy. 


A competent man was chosen for sexton and it was decided to begin work the following spring to put the cemetery in proper shape.


The Association realizes that this will be a difficult task, owing to the neglect of years.  Much grading, cutting and filling will have to be done to bring order out of the present unsightly chaos.  The undertaking will be difficult, too, because there is no thoroughly reliable map at hand; hence there is a possibility of disputes arising as to the ownership of graves or lots. 


The Association, however, counts on the good will of all concerned, and on the genuine general desire to improve the present deplorable conditions.  Hence it feels that all disputes and claims in regard to boundaries will be satisfactorily adjusted.


To carry on its proposed plans the Association needs money.  Consequently a minimum tax of three dollars is hereby levied against each lot for the year 1910.  Of course, the Association expects in most cases to receive more than the minimum tax.  The more money on hand, the quicker the grading and filling and cutting can be done, and once the cemetery is put in proper shape, it will be an easy matter to take care of it


The Association would like to have a list, as complete as possible, of the owners of graves or lots; and any information that may help to make the list more complete will be fully appreciated.


Remittances should be made to John G. Conway, Secy.,

St. Bernard's Cemetery Association, Watertown, Wis.

Further information may be obtained from any member of the Association.

St. Bernard's Cemetery Association, Watertown, Wis.

March 25, 1910.   WG


10 21       St. Bernard's Cemetery

The above named cemetery is now one of the beauty spots of Watertown and by the time another year rolls by, St. Bernard's Cemetery will be one of the most beautiful and best kept cemeteries in the whole country—that is if the good work is kept up for another year as it has been the past. 


Last fall a cemetery association was formed and John Coughlin was appointed superintendent.  A general plan of work was laid out and under great difficulties thus far it has been carried out.  Over 600 loads of dirt have been hauled into the cemetery to fill up ditches and raise low places, and mounds, etc., were cut down to give the cemetery a level and lawn-like appearance. 


Most of the lot owners gave the  association great encouragement, but there are a few who grew impatient and severely criticized the association, but the men in charge felt that a superintendent could not be appointed for each lot owner and the good work has been carried out to the satisfaction of a great majority of those who have had their dead buried there, and by this time next year, those who have thus far seen fit to criticize, we believe, will be more charitable and say "well done good and faithful servants."


There are still quite a few who have not paid their 1910 assessment, and if this money was now in the hands of the treasurer of the association much good work could be completed [during] this  fine weather, and when the flowers bloom in the spring and the bare spots in the cemetery are seeded down and the green grass takes the place of the barren spots, the lot owners, we are sure, will feel proud of their cemetery and contribute more liberally and with a better grace than in the past. 


Rev. Father Hennessey, the pastor of St. Bernard's, and Superintendent Coughlin deserve great praise for the interest taken in the cemetery and the great assistance given the cemetery association.  Let the good work go on.   WG



04 27       When the church cemetery was first taken charge of by St. Bernard's Cemetery Association it was in a very deplorable condition, and though many obstacles were encountered, the association has succeeded wonderfully in its work, and now all who visit the cemetery, say it compares very favorably with the best kept cemeteries in the state.  At a meeting of the association Monday night it was decided to make the annual tax $3, the same as last year.  Fence repairs have to be made this year and other necessary work besides the regular care of lots that will require quite an amount of money, hence contributions for the present year may now be sent in at any time.  The officers and trustees of St. Bernard’s Cemetery Association extend their sincere thanks to all friends of St. Bernard’s Cemetery, whose enthusiastic and substantial support has enabled the association to make a much needed improvement in the condition and appearance of the cemetery.   WG


04 27       The officers and trustees of St. Bernard's Cemetery Association have issued a report to all lot owners, which shows the association to be in a fine financial condition, especially when it is considered that the association is not yet two years old.  The report shows the receipts and disbursements from the time the association was organized,  August 13, 1909, up to January 1, 1911. Following is a summary of the receipts and disbursements . . . In addition to the amounts above stated, the association has received, up to January 1, 1911, for the perpetual care of the grave lots of James C. Smith, Barney Gardner and William Wedermeyer, the sum $305.00.  Any one desiring to have their lot perpetually cared for in the cemetery, without annually having to look after it, can have it so attended to by the donation of $60.   WG


08 17       A visit to St. Bernard’s Cemetery just now will convince anyone that the men who have had charge of this work for the past two years have planned wisely and well, and have judiciously expended the money entrusted to them.  They were ably assisted in their work by the pastor Rev. Father Hennessey and Supt. John Coughlin, so that St. Bernard’s Cemetery is now one of the finest-looking in the state.  The work done there the past two years is a revelation to everyone and few, if any, interested in the work believed the cemetery could ever be put in such fine shape.  Let the good work go on.   WG




For the year 1911  


07 18       NEW FENCE

A new $325 iron fence has just been erected fronting St. Bernard’s cemetery which adds greatly to the appearance of this now beautiful city of the dead. 


Other improvements are contemplated as soon as the necessary means are forthcoming.  A cement walk fronting the cemetery, and a macadam driveway and curbing through the center cemetery would add greatly to its beauty, and there are many having their dead buried therein we know who would appreciate this improvement.  Liberal subscriptions for this improvement would greatly stimulate the efforts of the cemetery association to continue their efforts to make St. Bernard's cemetery the most beautiful in the state.   WG




We dare say that few persons here are aware of the fact that a man who lived to be 108 years old lies buried in a cemetery here.


We didn’t know it until Miss Elizabeth Faber, Watertown public librarian, informed us of the fact.  The man’s name was Daniel Guerin who died June 4, 1886 at the age of 108.  His grave and marker are in St. Bernard’s cemetery.  The grave is located to the south side of the cement drive which runs through the center of the cemetery and is in the upper section of the quarters fronting on Milford Street.  


The inscription on the stone has been almost obliterated, but it can be read.  It gives his name and date of death and his age.  It also states that he was a native of County Clare, Ireland.


The files of the Weltbuerger, one-time German language weekly here, give an account of Mr. Guerin’s death in the issue for June 19, 1888.  The paper, however, misspells his name; viz: “der irische Farmer Daniel Geerin” and says he died in the town of Shields and gives his age as 109.


Continuing, the paper states: “Er wird wohl die aelteste Person im Wisconsin gewesen sein.  Jehtz ruht er auf dem beisigen St. Bernard’s Friedhofe.”


Miss Faber tells us that she had occasion to check on the grave after she received a letter from a New Yorker requesting information about a man whose first name was Daniel and who was reported to have lived here at one time and who died at the age of 108 and was buried in a local cemetery.  She has since sent the results of her findings, together with the German weekly’s report, to the New York man.


Miss Faber was given some data by Mrs. E. R. Parker of Fort Atkinson which helped her in her research.       WDTimes “Times Square”     JULY 15, 1950


NOTE:  Surname not listed in city directories so assumed to be an area farming family



Cross Reference:

Veteran burials

Interment database


To Be Seen In a Cemetery

Watertown Gazette, 05 14 1914


Take a walk through the cemetery alone and you will pass the resting place of a man who blew into the muzzle of a gun to see if it was loaded.  A little farther down the slope is a crank who tried to show how close he could stand to a moving train while it passed.  In strolling about you see the monument of the hired girl who tried to start the fire with kerosene, and a grass-covered knoll that covers the boy who put a cob under the mule’s tail.  That tall shaft over a man who blew out the gas casts a shadow over the boy who tried to get on a moving train.  Side by side the pretty creature who always had her corsets laced on the last hole and the intelligent idiot who rode a bicycle nine miles in ten minutes sleep unmolested.  At repose is a doctor who took a dose of his own medicine.  There with a top of a shoe box driven over his head is a rich old man who married a young wife.  Away over there reposes a boy who went fishing on Sunday, and the woman who kept strychnine powders in the cupboard.  The man who stood in front of the mowing machine to oil the sickle is quiet now and rests beside the careless brake man who fed himself to the seventy-ton engine, and nearby may be seen the grave of the man who tried to whip the editor.





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