Cole Cemetery

Photo added by David M. Habben

Cole Cemetery

Wilmot Road
Spring Grove, McHenry County, Illinois, USA
Memorials 358 added (94% photographed)

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Located on the east side of Wilmot Road, 1/3 mile north of Main Street.

This old country cemetery is located on land settled by Miles F. Cole in 1838. Cole and his family traveled here from New Hampshire with the Jonathan Kimball family who acquired land nearby and across the border in Lake County. It is probable that the first burial here was Nancy Gay, mother-in-law of Jonathan Kimball, who was in her eighties when the family arrived and does not appear in the 1840 census. Kimball himself survived only until 1849. Many of the early burials are either relatives or neighbors of the Cole family. There is one ex-slave here named John Henry Hegler, a well-known figure in the area during his lifetime. He took his surname from one of his two owners after being emancipated but no one used it and few people ever knew his last name. Even his gravestone does not list it. He spent most of his adult life working as a farmhand in the township but was never able to accumulate any money and died in poverty at the poor farm in Hartland Township. Although he never knew his age, he was believed to be over 100 years old when he died. Each year his grave is decorated with a single plastic flower. The person responsible for this simple act of kindness remains a mystery. Also buried here in an obscure corner is a man whose name ought to be a household word. Yet few outside the local area recognize it. Born and raised in Burton Township, Fred Hatch seems to have been an agricultural genius. He had the magic touch in raising fine animals whether they were sheep, hogs or cattle and produced a champion standard bred pacer. But his most important contribution was the invention of the silo, a structure so common in rural areas now that it goes virtually unnoticed. Hatch's invention made an ideal storage place for chopped green corn to be preserved as silage for feeding dairy cows through the winter. Hatch also recognized the importance of alfalfa in replacing the nitrogen that corn takes from the soil in such large quantities. It is hard to believe how much silos and alfalfa changed agriculture. Suddenly cows were giving milk bountifully all winter - not just in the season of grass. Fields depleted by corn production were restored to fertility by planting alfalfa. As a bonus, alfalfa could be fed to the cattle and horses. Hatch's first silo was built in 1873 at his father's Spring Grove farm. Sadly, that one and two others were torn down in 1919. When Ida and Martha Cole sold off the surrounding land, the schoolhouse down the road and the cemetery property were separated out. Unlike many other early family cemeteries, this one continues in active use to the present day. Unfortunately, few records remain for this burial ground so there are undoubtedly many names missing from the burial records.


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GPS Coordinates: 42.4439, -88.2144

  • Added: 2 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #105189