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OAK RIDGE CEMETERY
For directions to Oak Ridge Cemetery, click on "Locations" in the left-hand column. The current Sexton (superintendent) is Jon Raines who may be contacted at Buchanan City Hall or at the cemetery.
In 1864, the Buchanan Village Council purchased ten acres from Warner Hamilton for $500 for a new cemetery, which was named "Oak Ridge Cemetery." (These 10 acres are in the NE corner of the current cemetery.) Additional acreage was purchased later, and the cemetery now extends from Front Street on the north to Terre Coupe St. on the south.
Oak Ridge Cemetery is located in an area of rolling hills and has many majestic trees. It is a place of beauty, history, and remembrance. It has a park-like atmosphere, and its peaceful surroundings provide a place for reflection on our memories of those buried there.
A map of the cemetery is available in the map box near the Sexton's Office, and is also reprinted in the front of the cemetery census. The census is an alphabetical listing of all (approx. 8,000) individuals buried in the cemetery as of December 2004. The Section and Lot No. are listed for each person, and the year of birth and death (if known). Copies of the census are available for sale at several locations in Buchanan. See "Publications."
POINTS OF INTEREST IN THE CEMETERY:
The KNIGHT CHAPEL was named after one of Buchanan's most famous native sons, Jack ‘Sky' Knight (1892-1945). He was famous for his exploits as an aviator. He was credited with saving the U.S. Airmail (which was facing cancellation of its budget by Congress) by keeping the airmail going on the night of February 23-24, 1921, in spite of bad weather and having to fly double-shift over a new route.
The CIVIL WAR MEMORIAL area (Section 15) contains the Civil War cannon and the Civil War soldier statue. The cannon saw service during the Civil War on board a ship, the U.S.S. Lodona. It was brought to the cemetery by the local William Perrott Post 22 chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic. More than 2,000 Buchanan area residents were at its dedication in 1898. (Ref.: Berrien County Record, May 20, 2004, page 1.) The Civil War soldier statue was erected in 1901 with funds provided by the will of James Calleyhan (1833-1888) who is buried nearby in Section 3. He served as a corporal in the Civil War. (Ref.: Berrien County Record, Jan. 24, 1901.)
VETERANS' CIRCLE: This area (Section E) is currently in use for interment of U. S. veterans who wish to be buried in a veterans' area. It is the site of the Memorial Day ceremonies each year.
The JOSEPH COVENEY MONUMENT is perhaps the most famous object in the cemetery. Joseph L. Coveney (1805-1897) was well-known for his religious views, samples of which are inscribed on the four sides of the monument; for example, "The more Religion, the more lying." The monument was erected in 1874, so he had about 23 years to enjoy the controversy it caused. (Reference: Berrien County Record, Dec. 7, 1988. There are also files for Joseph Coveney at the Buchanan and Niles libraries.) The Coveney Monument is located in Section 20, Lot 53, which is just NW of the Knight Chapel parking lot.
The "OLD BURYING GROUND" MEMORIAL area: Buchanan's first village cemetery was only one acre (located on the SW corner of Moccasin Ave. and Fourth St.), and served the community from 1842 to 1866. The village encouraged families to move graves and remains from the old cemetery to the new one. In 1898 the village removed the remaining grave stones from the old cemetery to a location on a hillside in the northwest part of Oak Ridge Cemetery (southwest of Section 22). In 2006, Friends of Oak Ridge Cemetery built a sidewalk-style base under these stones (to keep them from moving down the hill or subsiding). We also erected a plaque listing the names of those individuals we could verify had been buried in the "Old Burying Ground."
POTTER's FIELD: Currently, most of the individuals interred in this area (Public Grounds 1 and 2) are identified only by a number. These numbers are either painted on a flat stone or etched into a round piece of concrete. In 2008, the Friends of Oak Ridge Cemetery erected a plaque listing the names of those buried in this area (with the corresponding number for each). We built a sidewalk-style base under the markers in the oldest section in 2007, and hope to do the same for the remaining markers in 2009.
OTHER AREA CEMETERIES
Two of the earliest Buchanan Cemeteries.
The original Buchanan Village Cemetery (McCoy's Creek Cemetery, Moccasin Park( Kathryn Park) was in use as early as 1844, but is at least two small cemeteries in or near Buchanan with documented burials earlier than this. The Dragoo Cemetery and the Benton Cemetery(Mead Road Cemetery), both Cemeteries are on private property and no longer in use.
Anyone wanting more information on those buried in Dragoo or the Benton Cemeteries may contact RobtDBrown@aol.com or email@example.com. It would be appreciated if anyone having more information on these cemeteries would contact us.
Other Cemeteries in Buchanan Township:
Currently, Oak Ridge Cemetery is the only cemetery in active use in Buchanan Township. However, there are six other cemeteries listed in the Michigan Cemetery Atlas (online version is Michigan Cemetery Sources): Benton, Colvin, Kathryn Park, Dragoo (McCoy), Sherwood, and Wagner-Crum (Stevens Farm). The condition of these cemeteries varies from fairly good to no longer existing. Some information on these cemeteries was published by David and Diane Savage in The Pastfinder, which is published by the Berrien County Genealogy Society, www.bcgensoc.com see for example, vol. 7, #2 and vol. 10, #3. (The Niles Library has a complete set of back issues.) There is some information on the Benton (on Mead Road) and theDragoo cemeteries in the Oct. 2008 issue of the Friends of Oak Ridge Cemetery News Letter, on pages 7-8. There is a complete list of references in the Michigan Cemetery Source Book, which is the companion volume to the Michigan Cemetery Atlas. The online version, Michigan Cemetery Sources, can be reached at www.michigan.gov/hal or www.hal.state.mi.us/cemeteries
Kathryn Park (formerly Moccasin Park) is now a children's playground, but was originally the old village cemetery, the "Old Burying Ground." Its original name was probably McCoy's Creek Cemetery or McCoy's Cemetery since McCoy's Creek was originally the name of Buchanan.
McCoy Cemetery is listed by Michigan Cemetery Sources as an alternate name for the Dragoo Cemetery (which is also known as the Virginian's Burying Ground or the Reynolds Cemetery) The best source of information for the Dragoo Cemetery is "The Virginian's Burying Ground" by Nancy Heib. (The Friends of Oak Ridge Cemetery has a copy of this book, and there is a copy in the Local History Room of the Buchanan District Library.) This cemetery is on private property as the others listed in Buchanan Township except Oak Ridge.
Cemeteries in nearby townships: