On January 18, 1856, The City of Jerseyville purchased a section of land now known as Oak Grove Cemetery. The land was purchased from H.L. Adams for the price of $80.00 per acre. A total of 10 acres were purchased and they were divided into 792 lots. Fifty of those lots of one section known as “Potters’ Field” was set aside for the burial of underprivileged people from the area. These 792 were the original cemetery with one entrance and dirt roads.
Only 10 sextons, or caretakers, have worked for the cemetery in the last 148 years of operation. The first person buried in the cemetery was a young woman of 45 years. Her name was Clarisse Stelle. She was buried on August 14,1856. Since then the size of the cemetery has increased to 47 acres, with a total of 9,596 people buried to date.
Points of Interest
The Soldiers Monument: Erected in 1885. The statue was added in 1891. The granite columns were received from Scotland in 1885.
The New Entrance Gate: Dedicated May 30, 1980.
Mausoleum: Though it no longer stands due to structural problems, was erected on April 8, 1915. It was removed for safety reasons in the later 1960’s and is now marked by a planted flower bed. The bodies it contained were moved to another site inside the cemetery.
The D’Arcy Monument: This monument was purchased by Dr. Edward D’Arcy for his family plot. It was hauled in to the cemetery by horses pulling wagons from Alton, IL. This monument was one of the more elaborate and expensive monuments of it time along with the following. Abijah Davis, William D. Landon, William B. Smith, Dr. Asa Snell, George W. Kirby, Valentine Villinge.