I’ve been interested in learning about the origins of the family cemetery as long as I can remember. As a child, I used to walk along the graves in the historic Witte section and wonder about the lives of those buried in the ground. When the Jaeger Witte Heritage Cemetery Association was still in its infancy (2014), the board members were faced with the many requirements of organizing our group. We had to come up with a strategic plan for managing newly-acquired property, maintaining what we already had in accordance with state guidelines, and filing paperwork to have the cemetery officially recorded and recognized–just to name a few.
The actual work of researching the history had to be placed on the back burner.
Once the dust had settled, I returned to my research, and I was fortunate to see the map sketched out by Grandpa in the 1980s. This map, which details the known burials, was helpful in solving the mysteries of naming the decedents whose headstones are not clearly marked. It was drawn in pencil on plain white paper, which has faded over time. Seeing and touching this map has helped strengthen the connection between me and my late grandfather. Although he is no longer here in person to oversee the association, I feel that he continues to guide our work through these memories and artifacts.