Cemetery research turns up body mystery

Rockford Lions Club members Jim Benson (left) and Larry Lindsley (right) eliminate Autumn Olive at the Pioneer Cemetery in Rockford.

As the Rockford Lions continue their restoration of the Pioneer Cemetery, a mystery has developed. In 1974, a body discovered during construction on 10 Mile Road’s Prospect Hill was reburied in the cemetery. Who was it? Urban legend says maybe it was an Indian chief. Was the new grave marked? Where is it? Do you know?

Questions keep popping up as the Lions cut trees, remove brush and follow the advice of Rockford Garden Club’s master gardener, Nancy Hoovler. With most of the logging completed, the work now turns to cutting brush and eliminating invasive species such as Autumn Olive. The dream is to return the cemetery to its original condition and the foremost question is: “What did it originally look like?”

The Rockford Area Historical Society’s archives have some cemetery information, but no pictures. Do you? Dig out the old family album, and if you find an old cemetery photo, please call (616) 874-9615 or (616) 866-4103.

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