WPA - Union Miners Cemetery, Mt Olive Township,Macoupin County IL



A Transcription of the WPA Record in Macoupin County Archives, Carlinville, Illinois
by Mary McKenzie, 2010
The Macoupin County Archives has in its files, indexes/listings of many veterans buried in numerous Macoupin County cemeteries.  WPA workers compiled the indexes during the Depression Era (about 1939-1940).  The cemeteries below were checked for veterans and although not all of these cemeteries had veterans listed, there was a wealth of other information that a genealogist might find useful.   I generally didn’t copy the legal descriptions of the property if they were very long and drawn out.  If you want that information, contact the Archives.

In previous issues of the Macoupin County Searcher I listed veterans’ information from both typed sheets and work sheets. The work sheets are typed in bold and the typed sheets are typed in a normal font. At times the work sheet had additional or conflicting information from the typed sheets..  The work sheets with soldier information stated to check these sources: burial plot, cemetery record, death certificate or burial permit, patriotic organization (name), official U. S. records or other.  These sources would probably be good sources to check still, today as we have no way of knowing how thorough the WPA workers were.  In these listings, as always, I tried to keep the spelling “as is”, even if it appeared incorrect.

Union Miners Cemetery
Mt. Olive Township Sec. 2 T. 7 R. 6W Macoupin County
½ Mi. North of City Park, Mt. Olive, Illinois


The Union Miners Cemetery was first laid out in 1899 for a burial place for the members of the Miners Union who were killed in the Virden Riot of October 12, 1898 in their stand for unionism and organized labor.  These martyrs were first buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery but the donor of the land for that cemetery protested against these martyrs (who had met such a death) being buried in the grounds that he donated.  Neither did he wish any memorial service held in their honor in the cemetery.  The Miners Union then decided to buy land for a cemetery of their own and called it the “Union Miners Cemetery.”  Almost a year after the death of these martyrs land was purchased a short distance from the Mt. Olive Cemetery and the bodies of the martyrs transferred to the new burial ground which has since become a shrine to the Miners of the Illinois District.

    In September, 1899, the Miners Union decided to buy land for a burial grounds for the members of the Miners Union and their families.  They chose the land a short distance north of the city cemetery.  This original plot is the land a short distance north of the city cemetery.

*Legal description of land is inserted here.  (This deed is dated September 27, 1899 and was filed for record in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois on October 27, 1899 in Book “FX” of Warranty Deeds at page 361.)

    The Virden Riot Martyrs were then removed to their present resting place which was the west end of the driveway.  Each year the Miners gather on the 12th day of October to pay tribute at the graves of the dead Martyrs.

    Three years after the original Union Miners Cemetery was laid out, the Miners Union deemed it necessary to buy an additional plot of ground to the east of the original and which today is the front and entrance of the cemetery.  The deed transferring the title to the land over to the Miners Local reads as follows:  THE GRANTORS: Boede Helen and Geske Heien, his wife of the Village of Mt. Olive in the County of Macoupin and State of Illinois for and in consideration $40.00 in hand paid CONVEY and WARRANT to Local #728 of the United Mine Workers of America of the Village of Mt. Olive, County of Macoupin and State of Illinois the following described real-estate to-wit:

*Legal description of land is inserted here.  (This deed is dated November 14, 1902 and was filed for record in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois on December 8, 1902 in Book “GM” of Warranty Deeds at page 522.)

    This cemetery was fenced in with a wooden rail fence with a wooden arch at the gateway and the name of the cemetery painted on it.  This fence enclosed the cemetery for many years.

    In 1918, the Miners Union bought more land for cemetery purposes.  This land is situated across the road east of the old cemetery grounds.  The deed con- (as is) the right to the to the land reads as follows:  THE GRANTORS:  Annie B. Niemann and William Neimann, her husband, of the Town of Walshville in the County of Montgomery and State of Illinois for and in consideration of $400.00 in hand paid CONVEY and WARRANT to Local #728 of the United Mine workers of America of the City of Mt. Olive, County of Macoupin and State of Illinois the following described real-estate, to-wit:  *Legal description of land is inserted here.  (This deed is dated December 3, 1918, signed by the grantors and was recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois in Volume 297 of Miscellaneous Records, at page 348  on February 8, 1919.)

    In 1931, the Miners Union (with plans to erect a memorial to the great labor leader, Mary “Mother” Jones) purchased the land on the west and adjoining the original cemetery.  The deed conveying the right to this land reads as follows:  THE GRANTORS: Carl Viehweg and Clara Viehweg, his wife, of the town of Mount Olive, in the County of Macoupin and State of Illinois for and in consideration of $125.00 in hand paid, CONVEY and WARRANT to the Trustees of Local Union #728 and Local #125 of the United Mine Workers of America of the City of Mount Olive, County of Macoupin and State of Illinois the following described Real-Estate, to-wit:

*Legal description of land is inserted here.  (This deed is dated April 24, 1931 and was recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois in Volume 360 of Miscellaneous Records at page 539 on May 7, 1931.)

In August of 1932, Local #728 and Local #125 of the United Mine Workers of America, now Local #35 of the Progressive Mine Workers of America, deeded this real-estate over to Joe Ozanic, who was then the president of the Local and acting in behalf of the progressive movement to which these locals were to become a part.  This real-estate includes both the new and old cemetery.   The deed transferring this land reads as follows:  

*Legal explanation of property transfer and description of land is inserted here:  (Dated this 29th day of August, 1932.  Signed Local #728 of the United Mine Local #125 of the United Mine Workers of America, by:

Sam Johnson – President, Joe Ozanic – Treasurer, Wm. Mayhew – Trustee of Local #125, Clarence Engleman – Trustee of Local #125, Chas. Bushmueller, Trustee of Local #728, Geo. Simburger Sr. – Vice Pres., Kurt Kaufman Trustee of Local # 125, Frank Schlomann Trustee of Local # 125, John J. Kasalko, Trustee of Local # 125.   (This deed is dated August 29, 1932 and was recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois on January 30, 1939 in Volume 389 of Miscellaneous Records, at pages 321 and 322.)

    On September 27, 1932, the Miners of many districts of Illinois, amalgamated and organized the PROGRESSIVE MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA and they affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.  Local #728 and Local # 125 of Mount Olive then became the Amalgamated Local Union #35 of the Progressive Mine Workers.

    On September 30, 1932, Mr. Joe Ozanic deeded the cemetery back to the miners and Local #35.  The conveyance reads as follows:  THIS INDENTURE witnessed that the Grantors:  Joe Ozanic and Katherine Ozanic, his wife of the city of Mount Olive, in the County of Macoupin and State of Illinois for and in consideration of the sum of $1.00 in hand, paid, CONVEY and WARRANT to Local #35 of the Progressive Miners of America of the City of Mount Olive, in the County of Macoupin and State of Illinois the following described real-estate, to –wit:

*Legal description of land is inserted here.  (This deed is signed by the grantors, dated September 30, 1932 and was recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois on January 30, 1939 in Volume 389 of Miscellaneous Records at page 323.)
    In 1935 the beautiful Mother Jones Memorial was erected & dedicated.  The cemetery was landscaped & 15000 (as is) worth of ______(?) was planted along the driveway & about the memorial.  The driveways were surfaced with chat making the most beautiful cemetery driveway in the county.

    On September 30, 1932 Local #35 of the Progressive Miners deeds the cemetery to the Progressive Mine Workers of America.  The deed reads as follows: 

Legal explanation of property transfer and description of land is inserted here:  (Dated this 20th day of January 1939, Local #35 of the Progressive Miners of America.

    Lester DeWall – President, Louis Dratochvil – Treasurer C; Otto G. Roehl, Emil Zenner, Secondo Bertolino , Trustees of Local #35.  (This deed is dated January 20, 1939 and was recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Macoupin County, Illinois on February 7, 1939 in Volume 390 of Miscellaneous Records at pages 31 and 32.)

    The Union Miners Cemetery is not incorporated into an association.

    The present trustees of the Miners Local are also trustees of the cemetery.  Those serving at the present time are the following.    Emil Zenner, Otto Roehl, Steve Katchmar.
    
These trustees are elected by the Local and serve for 2 years.

    The Union Miners Cemetery is taken care of by the trustees.

    The Union Miners Cemetery is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the county and is well taken care of.  The beautiful stately “Mother Jones” monument, the beautiful white driveway and Dwarf Fir Trees all add to its striking appearance.  648 graves have been counted in the Union Miners Cemetery of which number 18 need filling and leveling.  8 tombstones are leaning and need resetting and 22 stones are weather-worn and the inscriptions are hard to read.  Two veterans buried in this cemetery need markers.  The woven-wire fence which encloses the old cemetery on the north and west sides is practically new.  The entrance and west sides do not have a fence.  The new

Union Miners Cemetery, which is across the street from the old cemetery is fenced on the east and north sides and this fence is in good condition.  The driveways are in very good condition.

    To reach the Union Miners Cemetery one travels ½ mile north of the city park of Mount Olive.

        The oldest grave that we can locate by the dates on the markers are those of the Martyrs of the Virden Riot, namely “E. W. Smith, Joe Gitterle, E. F. Long and Ernest Kammrer who died on October 12, 1898.

Name of Cemetery:
Mt. Olive Miners Union
Oldest Grave: E. W. Smith, Joe Gitterle, E. F. Long and Ernest Kammrer – Oct. 12, 1898
Number of lots:
286
Number of Graves:
648
Number of graves to be filled:
7
Number of graves to be leveled:
11
Number of Veterans graves that need stones:
2
Number of stones in cemetery that need resetting: 
8
Number of stones that need recutting:
22
Rods of fence around cemetery:
43old post 35 new post
Condition of fence:
Good
Rods of fence to be repaired:
None
Rods of fence to be replaced:
None
Number of people interviewed:
7
Notes:
Good condition.  Have caretaker.  Progressive Miners organized on September 1932 at Gillespie, Illinois.  



There are 7 veterans buried in the Union Miners Cemetery.

The graves of William G. Norder and Willis M. Southers do not have any markers.

* Have government markers.

Name:  Dworsack, Frank    World War, Pvt., Company 26th, Regiment - Disch. Cas. U.S.A; Died 1/5/1919; Grave 1 Lot 5  Block 5
Cemetery:    Mt. Olive Miners
Name:  Dworsack, Frank W.    
Field Check:            Grave No. 1  Lot No. 5  Block No. 5  Sec. 2; Upright marker
Information on Marker:        Private Frank Dwossack, 26th Co. Canssldet U. S. A. 1890 – 1919
Cemetery Record Data:        Buried:  Jan. 7, 1919
Death Certificate Data:        Died: 1/5/1919 at Illinois.  Cause – Pneumonia;  Born:  Sept. 26, 1890 at
Mt. Olive
Service Record:            Pvt. 26th Co. Disch. Cas. Co; World War
Notes:                No Gov’t Marker

Name:  *Framgen, George    F.    Pvt.  Company 60th, Regiment - Coast Art’y Corp; Died 4/7/1912; Grave 1  Lot   
               6  Block 2
Cemetery:            Mt. Olive Miners
Name:  Frenemgen, George F.    
Field Check:            Grave No. 1  Lot No. 6  Block No. 2  Sec. 1; Upright marker
Information on Marker:        George F. Fremegen, Illinois Pvt 60 Coast Arty. Corps; April 7, 1912
Death Certificate Data:        Died:  4/7/1912
Service Record:            Pvt. Co. 60th  C. A. C.  World War
Notes:                Has Gov’t Marker

Name:  *Harry, Noble C.    Civil War  Pvt.  Company E; Regiment - 2 W. Virginia inf.; Died 8/5/1904; Grave 8  Lot 1  Block 2
Cemetery:    Miner’s Union
Name:  Noble, Harry C.    
Field Check:    Grave No. 8  Lot No. 1  Block No. 2  Sec. 2; Upright marker
Death Certificate Data:    Died – 8/4/1905  Born – 6/12/1834
Notes:    Has Gov’t Marker
    
Name:  Kajganick, Tony    World War, Pvt.  Co. F; Regiment - 327 F. A; Died 1/21/1923; Grave 5  Lot 14  Block 3  (New Part)
Cemetery:    New Miners Union
Name:    Kajganick, Tony
Field Check:    Grave No. 5  Lot No. 14  Block No. 3; Upright marker
Information on Marker:    Tony Kajganick  Born Sep. 4, 1893  Died: Jan 21, 1923; Pvt. Co. F 327; (Tombstone)
Death Certificate Data:    Died: 1/21/1928; Born: 9/4/1893
Service Record:    Pvt. Co. F  327 FA; World War
Notes:    No Gov’t Marker
     
Name: Norder, William G.    World War, Fireman, Co. 9, Regiment – N.D. U.S.N.R.F; Died 2/29/1929; Grave  4  Lot 6  N Block 4  No Marker
Cemetery:    Miners Cemetery
Name:    Norder, William George
Field Check:    Grave No. 4  Lot No. 6  Block No. 4  Sec. 1; Marker – None
Death Certificate Data:    Died:  2/29/1929
Service Record:    Fireman 9 N. D. US Navy; World War
Notes:    No Gov’t Marker or Stone of any kind

Name:  Paridy, Emanual Sylvester    World War, Fireman  Co. 1 Cl.; U.S.N; Died 3/23/1930; Grave 4  Lot 7  Block 5
Cemetery:    Mt. Olive Miners
Name:  Paridy, Emanual Sylvester  
Field Check:    Grave No. 4  Lot No. 7  Block No. 5  Sec. 1; Upright marker
Information on Marker:    Emannual Sulvester Paridy; Fireman 1st Cl. U. S. Navy, March 23, 1930
Death Certificate Data:    Died:  3/23/1930
Service Record:    Fireman Us Navy, World War
Notes:      Has Gov’t Marker
    
Name:  Southers, Willis M.    S War; Died 5.11.1925; Grave 7  Lot 7  Block 12 (New Part) (No Marker)
Cemetery:    New Miners Union
Name:  Southers, Willis M.    
Field Check:    Grave No. 7  Lot No. 7  Block No. 12; Marker – None
Death Certificate Data:    Died:  5/11/1925
Service Record:    SA War
Notes:    No Marker of Any Kind


  
 The following historical items and listing of names on the Martyr Monument were included with the WPA Union Miners’ Cemetery file.

Monument for Mother Jones and Union Martyrs Unveiled

Standing shoulder to shoulder at the Union Miners Cemetery in this city Sunday morning thousands upon thousands of men and women from all parts of the state paid their tribute of respect of Mary “mother” Jones and the men who gave their lives for unionism at the unveiling of the “Mother Jones Monument” erected to mark the last resting place of the greatest of all women labor leaders.
Five special trains on the Illinois Central brought members of the PMA and their families from the southern part of the state, while thousands of automobiles, trucks and busses brought delegations from all directions of the compass.

The union labor parade, which was formed shortly after 9 in the morning was almost two miles long with the marchers six and 8 abreast keeping step to the music of ten bands, which added beauty and color to the occasion, especially the school bands in their gaily colored uniforms.  It is impossible to give the exact number of those present for the occasion, but various estimates place the total at between 30 to 50,000.
    At the cemetery after selections by various bands, the Turner singing section and the Mt. Olive and White City Auxiliaries, Joe Ozanic, Board member of Dist 6 and the day’s chairman made the dedication address.  While the canvas was removed from the beautiful monument those assembled stood with bared heads in a tribute of respect.
Addresses were made by various nationally known & distinguished groups throughout the afternoon and evening.  Auxiliaries & Miners locals were represented from White City, Riverton, Valur. (?), Pekin, Peoria, Duquoin, Collinsville, Marissa, Williamson, Benld, Gillespie, Belleville, Taylor Springs, Hillsboro, Carrollton, Edwardsville, O’Fallon, Staunton, Panama, Tovey, Kincaid, Springfield, Nokomis, Stonington, Taylorville, Lincoln, Auburn, Pana, Cleoln, Mowequa, Pochahontas, Christophur, DeSoto, Zeigler, Canton, Johnson City, West Frankfort, Coella, Buchner, Ezra, Livingston, Wilsonville, Orient, Harrisburg, Schram City, Dowell, and others who might have not had banners.
Each year memorial services are held at the cemetery in honor of the Virden Martyrs and the unforgettable Mother Jones.

    Thousands of union men and women and friends of labor are drawn to Mt. Olive each year on October 12, to pay tribute to the martyrs of organized labor and to “Mother Jones” and General Bradley who spent the greater part of their lives in waging a fight in behalf of the working man and woman.  This year it is expected that a huge crowd will again participate in the service,  for the progressive Mine Workers of America is now affiliated internationally with the great American Federation of Labor and the presence of thousands of loyal AFL members to pay their homage to those who fought and died for clean unionism, is anticipated.
    The service this year will be the 40th annual one held in honor of the Virden Martyrs, three of whom, Ernest Kaemmerer, Ernest Schmidt and Joe Gitterlie, lie buried in the Mt. Olive Miners’ Union Cemetery.
    These men were killed in a riot at Virden, Illinois on October 12, 1898, which was precipitated by the importation of colored labor from Alabama by Operator Lukens of Virden mine, who was endeavoring to break a strike.  The operator attempted to get the imports into the mine under cover of gunfire from thugs stationed on the mine tipple and at other concealed points of vantage.  The union men of Virden, Mt. Olive and vicinity successfully resisted the operator’s effort, but suffered the loss of seven of their number, who are now termed the “Virden Martyrs.”
    “Mother” Jones who fought the battles of all union men but especially those of the miners, also lies in the Mt. Olive Union Cemetery, buried there in November 30 in accordance with one of her last requests.  On her death-bed she said “Lay me to rest beside my boys in Mt. Olive, and let no traitor draw breath over my grave.”  Her wish was respected and she now rests besides her boys.
    Mother Jones who lived in the Mellow old age of 100 fought John L. Lewis for years and with her dying breath expressed the hope she would live to see the day when he would be licked and the union saved from the racketeers who __(?)ainated it.
    General Bradley, leader of the miners in ’98, likewise lies at rest beside his “boys.”   While none of the 21 PMWA Martyrs who have been murdered since 1932, are interred in the Mt. Olive cemetery, they are paid the respect and honor due them along with the others on October 12 of each year.
    At the services in the cemetery 2 years ago a beautiful monument was erected.

Monument for Mother Jones & Union Martyrs
(Monument made of Minnesota Pink Granite)

Joseph Gitterle
Died in the Virden Massacre October 12, 1898
“Live to him was swear and fair as the autumns sky
But duty called and bravely he answered “Aye”

E. Kaemmerer
Died in the Virden Massacre October 12 1898
He thought it better to be dead to die for liberty and
His friends than to live in Bondage or Just for bread.

Mary “Mother” Jones
Born May 1, 1930
Died November 30, 1930
“She gave her life to the world of labor, Her blessed soul
To Heaven.  God’s Finger touched her and now she sleeps”

E. W. Smith
Died in the Virden Massacre October 12, 1898
“Twas not because he loved life less but because he loved
His friends and freedom more that he gave his all”

“General” Alexander Bradley
Born November 29, 1866
Died April 1, 1918
“The Fittest way for man to die is to give his life for man.
For to live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

Front East

We count it death to falter not to die.
Erected and Dedicated October 12, 1936 in Honor and to the everlasting
memory of Mary “Mother” Jones, General Alexander Bradley
and the Martyrs of the Virden Riot of 1898, by the members of
the Progressive Miners of America and the Women’s Auxiliary of
The Progressive Miners of America, assisted by many loyal and
devout friends, sympathizers, and labor and fraternal organizations.   


Mary “Mother” Jones

When the sun in all his state
Illumed the Eastern Skies,
She passed through Glory’s Morning gate 
And Walked in Paradise.
Sleep the sleep of the noble blessed.
For in life you sacrificed and gave.
We pledged to fill your last request,
“Let no traitor breath o’er my grave.”

When the sun in all his state                 Sleep the sleep of the noble blessed.
Illumed the Eastern Skies,                 For in life you sacrificed and gave.
She passed through Glory’s Morning gate                We pledged to fill your last request,
And Walked in Paradise.                           “Let no traitor breath o’er my grave.”

South Side of Top Base

Martyrs of the Progressive Miners of America
The following have given their lives to the cause of clean Unionism in America.

Joe Colbert    Killed at Orient, Illinois August 17, 1932
Dominic Laurenti    Killed in Kincaid January 3, 1932
Andrew Cyenes    Killed at Tovey, Illinois  October 12, 1932
Emma Cumerlato    Killed in Kincaid  January 3, 1932
John Ward    Killed at West Frankfort, March 27, 1933
Henry Arnold    Killed at DuQuoin, Illinois  April 7, 1933
James Altes    Killed at DuQuoin, Illinois on April 7, 1933
Tom Urban    Killed at Springfield, Il.    June 7, 1933    
69
Gus Callas    Killed at West Frankfort August 6, 1933
John Hiltrop Jr.     Killed at London Mills, Illinois  August 11, 1933

North Side
(Same Heading as on the South Side)

Wm Chaney    Killed at Christopher, Illinois  August 25, 1933
Melvin Staples    Killed at Springfield, Ill. October 19, 1933
Clyde Williams    Killed at Galatia, Illinois  December 9, 1933
Samuel Ronchetti    Killed at Kincaid, April 1, 1934
Harvey Jones    Killed at Bulpit, Sept. 10, 1934
Joe Sigler    Killed at Bulpit, Shot Sept. 10, Died Sept. 11, 1934
Harry Newkirk    Killed at Harrisburg  Shot Sept. 29,  Died Sept. 30, 1939
John Sears    Killed at Harrisburg, Illinois  Dec. 8, 1934
Edris Mabie    Killed at Springfield, Ill. April 21, 1935
Fred D. Gramlich Sr.    Killed at Springfield, Ill. May 27, 1936

West Side

(Mother Jones Monument Committee)

Joe Ozanic, Pres.

Chas. Bushmueller
Ben Kunz, Vice P

Chas Franz
Fred W. Leonhardt, Sec.
Robert C. Schmidt
Kurt Kaufman, Treas.

Lester DeWall
Wm J. Walker Jr.

Emil Zenner
Barney Flaherty

Al H. Herhardt  (should read Gerhardt), Architect
John McCann
Ed. N Becker, Gen. Contractor
Mike Campion
Carl C. Graf, Sculptor

The present trustees are:

Emil Zenner    Otto Roehl    Steve Katchmar for 2 years

The following information is copied from a hand written page which a WPA worker copied from an original flyer which brought men from Birmingham, Alabama to Virden.  The arrival of these men is what started the Virden riot.  This page was included with the Virden cemetery WPA veterans’ project; however it is of great importance to the Mt. Olive Union Miners’ cemetery because many of those who died in this riot are buried in the Union Miners cemetery.  Following the context from this flyer, you will find a listing of WPA Veterans buried in Virden City cemetery that is continued from the October 2010 issue of the Macoupin County Searcher.

Dated 1898
Wanted
175 Good Colored Miners for Virden, Illinois

Pay in full every two weeks.  Pay 30 Cents per Ton, Run of mines.  Miners can make from $2.75 to $4.00 Per Day.  Want 20 skilled drivers, $1.75 per day; 15 good top and outside laborers, $1.35 per day; 15 good timber men, $1.75 per day; Two first class Blacksmiths; $2.25 per day; 35 experienced miners with families; 8 First Class Machine Runners; $2.00 per day.  Want 10 boys for Trapper 75 cents per day.  Coal is 7 to 8 ft thick.  Twenty cagers, $1.75 per day.  No charges for Blacksmith.  No commissaries.  Want nothing but first class miners.  All coal weighed on Top.  Bring your tools well tied up if you wish to carry them.
Will leave Birmingham Thursday night, at 8 o’clock P.M. Sept. 22.  Transportation will be furnished and ample time given you to pay the same.  For information call 1905 Third Avenue


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