|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Charles Henry Howard owned 2,000 acres known as Oak Tree Farm. The property was located in Leighton, Iowa on the Pella side. It was near the Buzzard Roost School House and stretched from the road near where the cemetery is located all the way to the Des Moines River. Charles deeded the land for the Howard Cemetery.
The house they built was to the south of the cemetery and had an oak tree in the front yard next to the road. At one time, the county was going to rework the road and wanted to remove the tree. The neighbors wouldn't let them because Charles was often seen sitting under that tree. Many say he planted the seed for that tree.
Charles' son, George Washington Howard, was a horse trader and raised horses. At one time, he had a racetrack to the north of the home place. George's boys were known as some of the rowdiest in the county because they grew up at the track and often participated in the races. George's daughter, Daisy Mae, also competed in the races. Her Aunt Naomi tells a story of a race she was in and would have won except her hat blew off. The property has certainly had its share of stories and seen the likes of Buffalo Bill Cody as well as the outlaw, Jesse James.
The cemetery is hard to find and today is located in the middle of a cornfield on private property on a knoll that is hard to see from the road. There are no markers or signs to designate a cemetery. At one time, it was surrounded by big, beautiful oak trees. The cemetery was restored in 1992 by a group of folks led by Floyd Hols of Tracy, Iowa. They cleaned and cleared and replaced many of the missing headstones and markers. They planted grass and bushes and built a nice sign for the top of the fence around the area. The story of the restoration was published in the Oskaloosa Herald. Today, it sits abandoned and overgrown with only a few trees remaining.
The foregoing provided by Carol McCombs, a Howard family descendant.
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