|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Oak Mound Cemetery History
On Jun 27, 1901, a group of individuals gathered at the Oak Mound Congregational Church (then named "Plymouth Congregational Church of Kragnes"). They discussed the possibility of forming a cemetery association. Under the leadership of the church's minister, Rev. Donald G. Colp, they set forth their ideas, goals and plans. After careful discussion, it was voted unanimously to effect an organization.
It was decided during this first meeting that the site for the cemetery would be on the acre of land lying to the east of the acre on which the church stands. The original grant of land consisted of two acres and was donated to the church by Louisa Newcombe and Martin and Jennie Gee in 1899.
The following officers were elected that day and others in attendance at that important meeting are noted. Many of the decisions which were necessary to get the cemetery started were made by these 14 pioneers as they met during the year 1901:
Alfred Olson, President; Jacob Nelson, Vice President; J. Thomas Gee, Secretary; Louis Simondson, Treasurer
Other charter members: Rev. Donald Colp, Nels P. Nelson, Alexander Johnson, Martin Anderson, Michael Higgins, Martin Gee, Charles A. Swanson, Gustave K. Gunderson, Edmond F. Parker and Nels Larson.
Following that first meeting, the group proceeded at once to clearing some trees and brush from the cemetery site in preparation for selling lots. On Nov 15, 1901, another meeting was held. It was at this meeting that the cemetery was officially named, "Oak Mound Cemetery." Likewise, the organization was named the "Oak Mound Cemetery Association." This is the first time the name "Oak Mound" has appeared in the community's history. It would be interesting to know, but the minutes do not disclose the author of the name Oak Mound. The name is derived from the natural groves of bur oak trees that envelop the area, which eventually became known as "Oak Mound, Minnesota."
On Jul 3, 1902, the cemetery constitution adopted and was signed by: Thomas Gee, Alfred Olson, Jacob Nelson, Charles Swanson, Martin Gee, John Fredrickson and Martin Anderson.
It is evident that there was a need for the cemetery as there were five burials the first year and eighteen burials the first six years the cemetery was operational. Ellen Maria Fredrickson was the cemetery's first burial on Jan 20, 1903.
The majority of early Oak Mound Church members were of English descent, so in the tradition of that country, it was voted to build a white picket fence in 1903. The fence was completed on Jun 30, 1905 and enclosed the entire cemetery. It was constructed by the church members and a carpenter was hired to build the gate.
In 1911, it was decided to have William Gilbery dig a well with his well machine in order to provide water for the church and cemetery. This well lasted 41 years and a new one was dug in 1952.
Aviatrix Florence (Gunderson) Klingensmith is no doubt the most famous person buried in Oak Mound Cemetery. The daughter of Gust and Flossie (Parker) Gunderson, she grew up and attended school at Oak Mound and became the first licensed female aviator in Clay County, Minnesota and the State of North Dakota. She won various awards and held several aviation world records during her career, which was cut short when her plane crashed in 1933 at the International Air Races in Chicago. She died as a result and was interred in the Gunderson lot in Oak Mound Cemetery following her funeral.
A lawn mower was purchased for individuals to use to mow their lots in 1940. This method of mowing did not work well, so in the 1956, church members, with the help of others in the community, started mowing the churchyard and cemetery as needed, generally on a weekly basis.
Following the death of Milton Gee, Sr. in 1974, a new brick and wrought iron gate was installed with memorial money from the Gee family. By 1982, the picket fence had seen much deterioration. It was replaced by a cyclone type fence. The new fence's construction took place over a period of several years and was completed in 1999.
As demand increased, the cemetery was expanded. A ½ acre was purchased in 1946 and in 1983, additional land was purchased from the family of Hertha Gee. 50 feet on the north side of the church and cemetery were added. Likewise 50 feet on the east side. The cemetery now holds 114 lots.
Annual cemetery meetings are still held. As in earlier years the day consists of a business meeting and much visiting between those in attendance. The ladies serve lunch and it has always been a community gathering that people look forward to attending.