Orvis-Sanborn Cemetery

Photo added by Bill Wheeler

Orvis-Sanborn Cemetery

James Road
Spring Grove, McHenry County, Illinois, USA
Memorials 31 added (97% photographed)

Search Orvis-Sanborn Cemetery:

Located on the south side of James Road, East of Wilmot Road.

Although this is sometimes called Orvis-Sanborn Cemetery, John Sanborn is listed as the original purchaser of the land in 1840. He certainly had more than his share of aggravation in holding on to the property. Sanborn arrived in the county in 1837 although he returned east for two years to marry and bring back a wife. The land on which this cemetery is located was the subject of considerable dispute between Sanborn and a group of Englishmen who felt they had staked the original claim. In addition, the Englishmen were distressed to find a foreigner in their midst. Like most ethnic groups they preferred to live exclusively with their own people. Although Sanborn's ancestors were English, his family had been in America for enough generations to acquire that strong New England accent which must have sounded very foreign to the newly arrived Englishmen. An additional source of animosity was the dark rumor that Sanborn might be a horse thief although it was equally possible he was merely the innocent receiver of stolen goods. In any case, Sanborn was the subject of a great deal of harassment before his neighbors finally realized he was there for good. As it turned out, Sanborn is still there for he is buried in the small graveyard he established on his land. From a distance the cemetery looks like a miniature fort, strategically placed in the center of a farm field and surrounded by a protective concrete wall built in the 1920s. The Orvis name was brought into the family when John Sanborn's daughter Lavinia married Samuel Orvis. Lavinia's daughter Rose married James Madden adding that surname to the family.

Interestingly, the first burial here was not a Sanborn at all. It was John Archdale, the family hired man, who died of smallpox. Descendants of the original family continue to use and maintain the cemetery.


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GPS Coordinates: 42.4653, -88.2083

  • Added: 2 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #107373