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Old Post Cemetery
Also known as: Church Island Cemetery
New Post
Sawyer County
Wisconsin  USA

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Cemetery notes and/or description:
The settlement and cemetery of Old Post was spread along the old West Fork of the Chippewa River at the big bend about two miles north-eastward from the present village of New Post, and was commonly known as The Post or as Pahquahwong (Where the River Bends or Where the River Runs Wide). Thad Thayer settled at the mouth of Pokegama Creek about 1865. An official post office was established in May 1891.

St. Anthony's Catholic Church was built on higher ground on the southwest corner of the Post, and a Catholic cemetery was on the grounds. There was also a traditional Medewiwin cemetery in close proximity. A Presbyterian Church was closer to the river.

In the early 1900s water power was of great importance, and in 1911 a survey was drawn to build a dam on the lower end of Pahquauawong. The plan called for a dam to be 45 feet in height with water at 13113 feet above sea level and the flowage to cover 17,000 acres with a depth of 25 feet at the post. The contract was to be let on Dec. 21, 1921, and before then it was necessary to move many homes. The residents vehemently objected to this plan, and were represented by Rev. Philip Gordon and later assisted by attorney E. Ward Winton. Over their protests, the government abolished the town of Reserve and moved forward with the plans for the dam. By the time the gates to the new dam were closed in March 1923, the residents and buildings had been moved to or rebuilt in New Post.

To compensate the residents, the NSP corporation offered to build them all homes and move the graves to new locations. The company assured the residents that the high water level would not reach most of the graves, which did not turn out to be true. Some graves were exhumed as the water rose, but some family members and the Catholic bishop objected to the exhumations. For those who didn't want their ancestors' graves moved, they were left in their original burial place, which is now under water. The power company did not keep all of their promises to the former residents, such as replanting the wild rice beds, stocking fish in the new flowage, and paying monetary compensation for new burial sites and new homes.

The Chippewa Flowage was flooded by the Winter Dam and declared full on Aug. 1, 1923. A town, its history, and its residents were rudely displaced and some would say, ruined.

When the water is down, some building ruins of Pahquauawong and gravestones of Old Post are still visible.

Information from Eldon Marple's "The Visitor Who Came To Stay: Legacy of the Hayward Area" published in 1971 by the Country Print Shop in Hayward, WI; further information from "Last Survivors of the Lost Village of Post Honored" by Terrell Boettcher in the Sawyer County Record on Aug. 7, 2013 and "Pahquawong Where the River is Wide" by Carl Otto Rasmussen.

Church at Post dedicated Feb. 23, 1886.
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Old Post Cemetery
Added by: Karen Duffy
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