St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery
30th & Broadway
Consecrated Apr. 27, 1875
Formerly between 18th & 20th
 & Maine & Hampshire Streets
Land Donated By Timothy Kelly in 1839
but deed was never signedh j



The Quincy Herald--November 2nd, 1894


Removing the Bodies:


Remains of those in St. Peter's Cemetery Being Exhumed.


The Old Cemetery on Maine Street a Thing of the Past-A Landmark of History Which
has Been Used to Bury the Dead For Upward of Sixty Years.



The ***two Catholic cemeteries on Maine street, between Eighteenth and Twentieth, have for a number of years taken care of themselves and been in a state of neglect with a mass of almost unpenetrable brush and undergrowth. Now, however, the work has begun for the removal of the long buried to the other cemeteries. St. Peter's congregation has taken the first step, and Father Kerr is urging his congregation to have the relics of their friends removed. This is being done, and when the old cemetery is homeless again the property may be sold.


The cemetery has somewhat of a checkered history, which many of our older citizens will recall. The property was bought by Captain Timothy Kelly** in 1839 for St. Lawrence Catholic Church, now St. Peter's, but he never made out the deed to the congregation. He was the first railroad contractor of this city, coming here in 1838 with his men and turning up the first shovel of dirt for the Northern Cross Railroad at Eighth and Broadway*. Captain Kelly was killed at the battle of Buena Vista in 1847 and his remains were brought home and buried at St. Lawrence Cemetery.


Jas. McGuire and Jas. Oakley held notes against Capt. Kelly for $638, -89 1/2, and September 21st, 1841, received judgment and levied against a tract of six acres of which the cemetery is a part, and on February 25, 1848, the land was sold under execution by Sheriff Wren to Thomas Redmond for $1,000.


May 2nd, 1860, Redmond deeded it to Bishop Henry D. Juncker of the Alton Diocese for the use and benefit of the Irish Catholic Church to be used as aa cemetery, for $400. Since 1838 it had been used as a cemetery. Capt. Kelley having given the congregation to understand he would deed the property to them.


The cemetery became filled and a new site of eleven acres was purchased on East Broadway and opened in 1873. During E. H. Turner's last term as mayor Hampshire street was ordered opened. The cemetery extended through the street, and the church people, headed by Father McGirr, opposed the opening very strongly because there were several hundred soldiers buried where the street would be cut through, and when the contractor with his men arrived, accompanied by Mayor Turner, they found Father McGirr on the ground to stop their digging up the dead. Mayor Turner, it is said, was very abusive and cursed
Father McGirr shamefully. And as a result of the rumpus Turner was defeated at the next election over 700 votes by William T. Rogers. Father McGirr wanted the city to bear the expense of removing the remains and did not propose to " have them dug up and hauled away like cattle." as he said. He stopped the work with a shovel in hand, and was about to lay Mayor Turner out when the latter called the contractors away. The trouble was finally settled by the council allowing a sum sufficient to remove the bodies.


The name of the cemetery was changed to St. Peter's when the church name was changed in 1870, and there has been no bodies buried there since 1873. A large number have been removed to the new cemetery, and for the past twenty-one years willows, weeds and wild undergrowth have had their own way until they had grown so thick it was impossible to walk through to find a the grave of a relative or friend. St. Patrick had never visited the place and there were snakes by the hundred. It was decided recently to clean the place, and men were put to work and they cut down the willows that had grown some ten and twelve feet in height. The wood was hauled away; also the weeds and rubbish that had been thrown in, and there are now about forty tombstones, most of them lying on the ground and a number broken. It is hard to tell just where any special grave is.


Several graves have been opened and the bones placed in new coffins and boxes and removed. One grave was opened where the remains were in a fair condition and the larger portion of the coffin was preserved. Among the names on the stones seen were Patrick Ahern, died 1854, removed; Captain Kelly, died 1852; Thos. Powers, died July 31, 1850; Margaret Donner, died March 31, 1859. Dr. Daniel Stahl's large headstone still remains with the names of his wife, Theresa De Houle, and his daughter, Mary T., both died in 1849 of cholera; Martin Zimmerman died Jan 11, 1846; Maurice Savage died December 15, 1846, and his wife, Anna Llewellyan, died in 1868; Patrick Costigan died June 26, 1851, and this headstone shows the carving to have been done by T. Yates & Co.; Michael Hefferon died August 18, 1855; Margaret Sullivan died August 12, 1849 of cholera; Patrick Shortell died October 18, 1854; Joseph Goneher died July 27, 1849.


There is a large slab containing the names of the wife and seven children of H. L. Albright, bearing dates from 1846 to 1872. Lyman and Laura M. Prentiss both died of cholera in July, 1849; Michael Whalen died March 25, 1841; Johanna Walsh died April 23, 1840; Wm Shannahan's****first wife died October 8, 1839, and has been removed. This is the oldest date that could be found. Michael Doyle died in 1861, and his wife Mary, July 3, 1862, Pearce Gasten, July 25, 1851, Michael Leahey, Aug 5, 1855. John Broady and Michael Smith died of cholera in 1849. Oliver Gerry has two children buried there, but has been removed to the new cemetery.


"Daddy" O'Conner was the first grave digger, a position he held for years. In early days before there was a sexton, the friends of the dead were accustomed to go out and dig the graves themselves. Governor Carlin's eldest daughter is buried there. In early days there was no records kept, and consequently there are hundreds buried there who never will be heard of.


The St. Boniface Church people are preparing to have the remains in their cemetery, just east of St. Peter's removed as soon as they can.

From Transcriber Scott Reed
Notes on the article:
*Says Timothy Kelly ".....turned up the first shovel of dirt for the Northern Cross Railroad at Eighth and Broadway." I have conflicting notes saying the railroad was begun at Front street and continued up Broadway and out all the way to Columbus. Not sure of accuracy of either yet.
**"Captain Timothy Kelly" was actually only a "Captain" of his own raised Irish militia, known as the "Irish Grays". When he served in the Mexican War he was a 2nd Lieut., Peter Lott was elected Captain. Apparently he was widely known back then as "Captain Kelly" because of his pre-Mexican War activities.
***The Catholic Cemetery was originally divided into three distinct for Irish Catholics, one for German Catholics, and one for French Catholics. Weird huh? Sometime soon was known as mainly a Irish and German cemetery.....St. Peter's and St. Boniface prior to their later locations. I guess there may have been a few "French Catholic's" in Quincy back in the 1840's??? I saw an old 1870's map hanging today at the Quincy Historical Society offices that clearly outlines the cemetery broken out into three sections.....the larger of the three being outlined for the Irish.
**** Wm Shannahan worked for Timothy Kelly and was married three times. I have found his obit and will submit.




     Of the new Catholic cemetery, east of the city which was the special object of the visit of the Bishop at this time took place in the afternoon according to the arrangements made by the societies. A procession consisting of the children and the Roman Catholic Societies of the city was formed at the corner of Maine and Seventh at 2 o'clock, and half an hour later moved out Maine to Twelfth, thence to Broadway and out to the cemetery beyond Thirtieth street. The procession was led by the little girls of the confirmation class, followed by misses of the congregation, then the young ladies' confirmation class, then the young ladies' society, the boys' confirmation class, the young men's confirmation class, boys of the different Catholic societies, the choirs of St. Boniface, St. Peter's, and other Catholic churches, the Irish Benevolent, St. Vincent de Paul Orphan, St. Peter's Temperance, the St. Francis, the St. Joseph Building, the St. Boniface, the St. Aloysius and the St. John's societies, Bishop and attendant clergymen in carriages, and citizens in carriages brought up the rear. The procession was more than a half mile in length and made an imposing appearance. The sidewalks from Seventh to Twelfth were crowded and the procession was witnessed, as it passed out Maine, by several thousand people.
     The cemetery is situated on Broadway, several blocks east of Thirtieth street. The ground was purchased by St. Peter's Society about two years since. A crowd of about 2000 people collected at the cemetery before the procession arrived. The ceremonies were opened by Father Ostrop pastor of St. Boniface, with an address appropriate to the occasion in German. Father McGirr, of St. Peter's Society, followed with an address of some length in English, which was attentively listened to by the large crowd in attendance. At the conclusion of the addresses the Bishop in company with the clergy made a tour of the grounds, blessing each cross, and placing lighted candles thereon. After marching through the cemetery the Bishop sprinkled holy water and pronounced a blessing upon the new cemetery. The ceremonies being concluded the procession reformed and returned to the city.
     The rite of confirmation was administered at the St. Peters Church Sunday evening, and on yesterday the Bishop returned to Alton.
[Transcribed by Debbie Gibson - The Quincy Herald, Apr. 27, 1875]



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Updated January 22, 2009