Where are they today?
Have you ever wondered where your feet were walking; if you could walk the path of history where would the steps lead them to? Our town has much to learn about our history as we many of us know, but as also many of us realize history sometimes fades with time. Which brings me to my story; where did our first ancestors bury our departed here in Sleepy Eye? Any guesses?
To answer this question one would have to say – Our first park would also be our first cemetery. Of course not to mention that in the early days it was also considered a natural affair for rural cemeteries and a few family burial plots on the frontier to take into consideration. However, in our little humble town of Sleepy Eye, our very own park known as South Park was in fact a small block of a cemetery. Soon enough however, it had become inadequate for the townspeople.
In 1876 the St. Mary’s Church people had purchased land northeast of their church to serve as their cemetery. Then on October 4th, 1876, “Home Cemetery” was organized, at the northeast corner of the town. The name “Home” came from Home Township.
The graves at South Park were then moved from their original spots to their new coordinating locations at either St. Mary’s cemetery or Home Cemetery. Stories of course for some time have risen from time to time that “human bones” have been found in South Park, though it can be possible. At one point in time there were severe epidemics on the frontier and some of the people were poor. Some families could not afford grave markers, except a small slab or cross of wood which soon deteriorated. With such harsh conditions, families would simply give up and move away with discouragement and defeat of the frontier. As each cemetery need room, more land was added, along with trees in and around them; making both cemeteries sanctuaries for the loved ones.