MOUND CITY, IL (KFVS) - Not far from the National Cemetery in Mound City, Illinois, Route 51 bisects two cemeteries.
Beechgrove and Beech Wood Cemeteries were founded in the 1800s. They are the final resting place for some of the titans of commerce in Cairo's history.
William Halliday and his brothers are in a family plot under a huge Beech tree. The Hallidays built businesses, banks, and even a hotel in Cairo. Not far away is Samuel Taylor's grave.
He was instrumental in convincing Senator John A. Logan to bring the Central Railroad to the town.
The two cemeteries span 70 acres and include the final resting sites of about 10,000 people. They are run solely by volunteers and as is often the case these days, money is tight. The only money the board has to spend is the interest gained on a trust fund. That money is devoured by the cost of mowing the huge cemeteries.
Cemetery board member Elaine Bonifield said they're reaching out to ancestors of those who are buried in the cemeteries, particularly those who may have served in the military.
"We would like to know their rank, in which branch they served, and in which conflict," Bonfield said. "There are other groups looking to revere folks in their regimen, but we don't know if they're here because we haven't kept up with the military records."
Besides documenting who's actually buried in the cemeteries, the cemetery board needs money.
At the very least to pay for the mowing costs but hopefully enough to also fix things so that the cemeteries, and all the history they hold, are not forgotten.
"There are small cemeteries around that had to be abandoned because they couldn't afford to keep them up," Bonfield remarked. "We don't want that to happen here. Everyone has history here."
If you'd like to offer information or a donation, send it to the First State Bank of Olmsted, PO Box 98, Olmsted, Illinois, 62970, in care are of the Beechgrove and Beech Wood Cemeteries.