2 September 2012
To the Editor, Faribault Daily News
My husband and I recently visited Faribault as one of many stops on a 16-day “genealogy road trip.” Our specific Rice County destination was the Old Prairieville Cemetery east of town. I descend from an early pioneer to that area, John Spencer, whose gravestone was recently discovered during the restoration of the cemetery. I found out about this discovery by accident back in January of 2011, when I stumbled upon the website about the cemetery. The website led me to Tim and Susan Lloyd, who have spearheaded the project of restoring the Old Prairieville Cemetery.
What an amazing amount of work they have done! What was once a thicket of trees and underbrush is now an attractive and peaceful spot. Not only have they handled clearing the underbrush, planting grass and maintaining the cemetery, but they have discovered buried headstones and coordinated those discoveries with the original plot location information. Many of the stones have now been raised and reset to their original places. Other community organizations have also contributed to the efforts there. Grants, individual gifts and donations of volunteer labor have been greatly appreciated. Genealogist Margaret Kelly has helped the Lloyds research the lives of these early Rice County pioneers, contributing to the collective knowledge of county history.
For Tim and Susan, their mission has been a real labor of love. During this process they have spent countless hours, not to mention their own funds, to restore this burying ground back into a respectful place to honor the people at rest there. What a service to genealogists like me all over the country who can trace a line of family back to Rice County’s early days. To top it off, Tim and Susan met us at the cemetery to give us the grand tour. We learned first-hand about the story of the cemetery and its restoration.
I urge anyone with family buried at Old Prairieville, or anyone interested in area history, to consider a donation of funds or labor to this fine cause. It doesn’t take long for Mother Nature to reclaim a cemetery when left unattended for a period of time; it takes continued maintenance. For further information, please see the website, www.oldprairievillecem.org. The “Friends of Old Prairieville Cemetery” is a non-profit corporation formed in 2008 to support the restoration and preservation of this abandoned pioneer cemetery. Tax deductible donations may be sent to: Friends of Old Prairieville Cemetery, Box 450, Northfield, MN 55057.
We are making our donation today.
Leslie Lewis, 4th great-granddaughter of John Spencer (1781-1867)