Mystery Place: Parish Catholics buried elsewhere until cemetery opened

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Ginny Hall | September 4, 2015

St. Andrew's Parish in Delavan did not have a consecrated cemetery of its own until 1861. Before that time, Catholics were buried at Elkhorn, Lake Geneva or Whitewater Catholic cemeteries.  

According to the 1882 “History of Walworth County,” the first Mass for this congregation was held in 1851. No church existed for them at this time. Mass was held in the homes of parishioners Francis Delany and Morris O'Connor or in Monell's Hall. Its first building was erected in 1856 at Fourth and Matthew streets.

On Sept. 24, 1861, two acres of land was purchased on Lawson School Road. This land was used as a cemetery until the current cemetery was opened in 1883. This is located just south of the Spring Grove Cemetery off Seventh Street.

Over the years all of the bodies from the original plot were reburied at the new cemetery, however, some of the old tombstones were left behind. This led some to believe that not all graves were removed.

The current St. Andrew's cemetery opened Aug. 15, 1883.  Alice Brown was the first burial. Andrew Patrick was buried there in December 1883.

Two of the earliest burials in the original cemetery were Stephen Kinney in 1852 and Ann Morris in 1854.  

Some of the early sextons included Thomas and John Fleming, John and Andrew Tully, John Rugg, Al Morris and Henry Olsen.  
Ginny Hall, a historian from Delavan, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.

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