Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails


Hunt Burial Ground - Private


Transcribed by: Candi Horton 2008


A private burying ground, known as Hunt's was established in 1853.

County Court House records show government land patent dated Nov.3, 1840, and signed President Martin Van Buren, by M. Van Buren, Jr., Secretary; Joseph S. Wilson, Acting Recorder; General Land Officer was issued to Andre M. Hunt for the southwest quarter, section 6, Limestone Township. This tract was located at what is now Heading and Sterling Avenues; platted according to the United State general Land Office, Aug. 13, 1852, by W. H Haskell who purchased part of Lot 1, consisting of a fraction over 8 acres, located at the northwest corner of the above mentioned intersecting streets had been selected by Andrew M.. Hunt as a private burial place for himself and family. 

Andrew M. Hunt, former Justice of the Peace, was killed Aug. 12, 1853, when he fell off the roof of the Virginia Hotel at St. Louis, Missouri where he was sleeping trying to escape the heat. The body was packed in ice and returned to Peoria by steamboat for burial. 
His wife, Sophia Gardner Hunt and several relatives were also buried on this place. Their graves marked and cared for by the kin. 

On Aug. 11, 1922, James R. Malone purchased for the purpose of digging and removing gravel, the southeast corner of Lot 1, from the heirs, 
Alice Heading and Hannah M. Heading. The corner measured 130 feet on Heading Avenue by 300 feet on Sterling Avenue. 
The burial ground was set aside by the original owner was made perpetual but in the transfer of the land to James R. Malone, an error was made in describing the location of the burial ground.

While digging gravel in 1925, an iron casket was discovered. This casket contained the remains of Andre M. Hunt, whose face could be seen through the glass covered aperture. The casket was made of iron and shaped like an Egyptian mummy case and hermetically sealed. 
Legal action was taken to compel the return of the bones of this early settler to the hallowed ground where they had rested for some seventy years until disturbed by the workmen's activities in the removal of gravel. Other graves were also dug up; the bones placed in a box and broken grave markers piled in a heap.

No legal title, according to the heirs, could be given to the private burying ground as large quantities of gravel's had been removed. They asked the court to requires the place to be put back into the same condition as near as possible, as it was before it was disturbed by the machinery of the gravel pit. They also asked for an injunction from further molestation of the ground. 
The circuit court recognized the case and gave the plaintiffs permission to file additional charges. After a period of three years, had elapsed and none filed, the case was stricken from the docket by order of the court.

On account of its possible commercial value the iron casket was secretly buried in a grave protected by iron and concrete to prevent ghouls from stealing it, as an offer of $1,000 had been made for it. Later, it was learned that this casket lies in Glasford Cemetery and the grave is marked by a stone bearing the name Andrew M. Hunt.





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