The Clay County Historic Preservation Commission (CCHPC) is pleased to announce the completion of the 2008 Cemetery Inventory. Compiled by Nancy Carlsen of Vermillion, this remarkable nine volume work contains a variety of information about the twenty-eight formal cemetereis and all known Native American and territorial Era unmarked graves and cemeteries located within Clay County.
A special event to dedicate and distribute the Cemetery Inventory will be held Tuesday, December 8, 2009, at 10:30 am, in the County Commissioners' Room at the Clay County Courthouse in Vermillion. Everyone is welcome to attend!
Five complete sets of this nine-volume work have been prepared. To make the information more easily accessible to people throughout the county sets will be available for research at the Austin Whittemore House in Vermillion and a both the vermillion and Wakonda Public Libraries. The CCHPC set will be housed at the office of the Register of Deeds at the Clay County Courthouse under the supervision of the Clay County Commissioners. A fifth set, prepared for the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office in fulfillment of the funding obligation, will be located at the South Dakota State Archives in Pierre.
At the December 8th ceremony, the CCHPC will deliver complete sets of the invenvtory to representatives of each of these organizations, and formally dedicate the work to Cleo Erickson and to verla and Stanley Knudson for their untiring efforts to "preserve the past for future generations."
Volume 1 of the Inventory contains miscellaneous Introductory Material, including the table of contents, cross-references to various names used for county cemeteries and churches, townships, indexs and maps and a directory of current sextons or contact people. A copy of Rick harnois's entire 1991 cemetery report to the Clay County Historic preservation Commission and a copy of the Olds-Grosse Funeral Home Records are included primarily as research tools for descendants and genealogists. Delected statutes and regulations governing cemeteries and human remains and a partial bibliography complete the Introductory Material.
In Volumes 1-8, a spearate "chapter" is devoted to each of the the county's twenty-eight formal cemeteries. The documentation for each cemetery includes a locational map, a compilation of writings with direct quotes from historical texts, alphabetical burial lists composed by Verla and Stanly Knudson and/or others and miscellaneous resource material. 1989 surveys by Rick Harnois consisting of plats, deeds and drawings of each stone are included for six of the cemeteries. Unmarked graves and cemeteries are treated in the final chapter of Volume 8.
Volume 9 consists of maps and photographic panoramas for each cemetery within its environment during the four years covered by this study.
In preparing the Inventory, Nancy Carlsen researched and compiled many of the existing written records, wrote compiler's notes,created numerous maps, photographed and prepared the panoramas, designed and layed out the presentation, typed and printed much of the material, and assembled the volumes. The exceptionally attractive and detailed work is the result of a labor of love. As a descendent of pioneers who settled near Spirit Mound, and withmembers of five generations buried in Clay County cemeteries, Nancy considered it a privilege to work with this material for the benefit of everyone interested in local history or a genealogy of local families.
Preparation of the Inventorywas partially funded by a grant from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, through the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office.
For additional information please contact Jim Wilson, CCHPC Chair, at 605-62404579, or email