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UNION MINERS CEMETERY
MACOUPIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS
as walked and read by Cynthia Leonard


Originally published in the ISGS Quarterly, XVI: 2, Summer 1984


Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by K. Torp


The Union Miners Cemetery was first laid out in 1899 as a burial place for the members of the Miners Union who were killed in the Virden Riot of October 12, 1898 in their stand for unionism and organized labor. These martyrs were first buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery but the donor of the land for that cemetery protested against these martyrs (who had met such a death) being buried in the grounds that he donated. Neither did he wish any memorial service held in their honor in the cemetery. The Miners Union then decided to buy land for a cemetery of their own and called it the "Union Miners Cemetery." Almost a year after the death of these martyrs, land was purchased a short distance from the Mt. Olive Cemetery and the bodies of the martyrs transferred to the new burial ground which has since become a shrine to the Miners of the Illinois District.

In September, 1899, the Miners Union decided to buy land for a burial ground for the members of the Miners Union and their families. They chose the land a short distance north of the city cemetery. This original plot is the center part of the present cemetery. The deed conveying the title to the land over to the trustees of the Miners Local reads as follows:
THE GRANTORS: Anna DEBUHR, in her own right and as executrix of the last will and testament of Herbert H. DEBUHR, deceased of Mt. Olive in the County of Macoupin and State of Illinois for and in consideration of $97.00 in hand paid, CONVEY and WARRANT to the trustees of Mt. Olive Local #728 of the United Mine Workers of America of Mt. Olive, County of Macoupin and State of Illinois, the following described real estate, to Wit:
Beginning at the NW corner of the Immanuel Cemetery, thence North 169 1/2 feet; thence East 250 feet; thence South 16912 feet; thence west 250 feet to the place of beginning, containing 97/100 of an acre being part of the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 2, T&N, R6W of the Third Principal Meridian, situated in the County of Macoupin, in the State of Illinois hereby releasing and waiving all rights under and by virtue of the Homestead Exemption Laws of this state.

(This deed is dated September 27, 1899 and was filed for record in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois on October 27, 1899 in Book "FX" of Warranty Deeds at page 361.)

The Virden Riot Martyrs were then removed to their present resting place which was the west end of the driveway. Each year the Miners gather on the 12th day of October to pay tribute at the graves of the dead Martyrs.

JOSEPH GITTERLE
DIED IN THE VIRDEN MASSACRE OCTOBER 12, 1898
"Life to hime was sweet and fair as the autumn sky
But duty called and bravely he answered "Aye".

E. KAEMMERER
DIED IN THE VIRDEN MASSACRE OCTOBER 12, 1898
He thought it better to be dead to die for liberty and
His friends than to live in Bondage of Just for bread.

MARY "MOTHER" JONES
Born May 1, 1830
died November 30, 1930
She gave her life to the world of labor, Her blessed soul to Heaven.
God's Finger touched her and now she sleeps.

E. W. SMITH
DIED IN THE VIRDEN MASSACRE OCTOBER 12, 1898
Twas not because he loved life less but because he loved
his friends and freedom more that he gave his all.

GENERAL ALEXANDER BRADLEY
Born November 29, 1866
died April 1, 1918
The Fittest way for man to die is to give his life for man
For to live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.


FRONT EAST
We count it death to falter not to die.
Erected and Dedicated October 12, 1935 in Honor and to the ever
lasting memory of Mary "Mother" JONES, General Alexander BRADLEY
and the Martyrs of the Virden Riot of 1898, by the members of
the Progressive Miners of America and the Womans Auxiliary of
the Progressive Miners of America, assisted by many loyal and
devout friends; sympathizers, and labor and fraternal organizations.

MARY "MOTHER" JONES
When the sun, in all his state Sleep the sleep of the noble bl___
Illumed the Eastern Skies for in life you sacrificed and ____
She passed through glory's Morning gate We pledged to fill your last re____
and Walked in Paradise Let no traitor breath o'er my grave.

SOUTH SIDE OF TOP BASE
MARTYRS
OF THE
PROGRESSIVE MINERS OF AMERICA
The following have given their lives to the cause of clean Unionism in America.

Joe COLBERT - Killed at Orient, Illinois, August 17, 1932
Dominic LAURENTI - Killed at Zeigler, Illinois, August 21, 1932
Andrew CYENES Killed at Tovey, Illinois, October 12, 1932
Emma CUMERLATO Killed in Kincaid, January 3, 1932
John WARD - Killed at West Frankfort, March 27, 1933
Henry ARNOLD Killed at DuQuoin, Illinois April 7, 1933
James ALTES Killed at DuQuoin, Illinois on April 7, 1933
(missing from transcription) on June 7, 1933
Gus CALLAS - Killed at West Frankfort, August 6, 1933
John HILTROP, Jr. - Killed at London Mills, Illinois, August 11, 1933

NORTH SIDE
(Same heading as South Side)
Wm. CHANEY - Killed at Christopher, Illinois, August 25, 1933
Melvin STAPLES - Killed at Springfield, Illinois, October 19, 1933
Clyde WILLIAMS - Killed at Galatia, Illinois, December 9, 1933
Samuel RONCHETTI - Killed at Kincaid, April 1, 1934
Harvey JONES - Killed at Bulpit, Sept. 10, 1934
Joe SIGLER - Killed at Bulpit, Shot Sept. 10, Died Sept. 11, 1934
Harry NEWKIRK - Killed at Harrisburg, Shot Sept. 29, died Sept. 30, 1939
John SEARS Killed at Harrisburg, Illinois, Dec. 8, 1934
Edris MABIE Killed at Springfield, Ill., April 21, 1935
Fred D. GRAMLICH, Sr. - Killed at Springfield, Ill. May 27, 1936

WEST SIDE
MOTHER JONES MONUMENT COMMITTEE
Joe OZANIC, Pres.
Ben KUNZ, Vice P.
Fred W. LEONHARDT, Sec.
Kurt KAUFMAN, Treas.
Wm. J. WALKER, Jr.
Barney FLAHERTY
John McCANN
Mike CAMPION
Chas. BUSHMULLER
Chas. FRANZ
Robert C. SCHMIDT
Lester DeWALL
Emil ZENNER
Al H. HERHARDT, Architect
Ed. N. BECKER, Gen. Contractor
Carl C. GRAF, Sculptor

The present trustees are:
Emil ZENNER
Otto ROEHL
Steve KATCHMAR for 2 years



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