Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery - Greenwood, Nebraska

For several months, I've wanted to take a field trip to Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery, which is about halfway between Greenwood, Nebraska and Ashland, Nebraska in Cass county.

Entrance to Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery
Greenwood, Nebraska

Directions: Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery is located halfway between Greenwood, Nebraska and Ashland, Nebraska. From Highway 6, turn north on 226th Street. Cross the railroad tracks and go about one mile to Country Club Road. The cemetery is located at the end of the minimum maintainance road beyond a private farm residence.

It had probably been about 25 years since I last visited the cemetery with "cousin" Joy Deal Lehmann when she was researching her book on the Landon family, which included a marital connection to the Loder family.

The cemetery had not yet been included in the site. Since it is a cemetery with historical significance and the resting place of many of the early pioneers of the area, I wanted this cemetery to be included on that site. So a few months ago I set up the cemetery on and began entering the interments that had previously been documented in other sources, most notably the fourth edition of Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery the Lives of Those Interred edited by Rose Anne Hockstra.

The information in that book was originally compiled by Mabel G. Laughlin in 1939 and later updates were made in 1967 and 1978 by Ethel M. Buck. The book was published by the Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery Association.

Descendants of those pioneers still meet at the cemetery for an annual picnic, something they have done for many decades.

I can't say that I've come across any other cemeteries that have an adjacent picnic area, but I can certainly visualize these tables with plastic red and white table cloths, with fried chicken, potato salad, devilled eggs, iced tea and cherry pie waiting for the descendants as they come to celebrate their ancestors each year.

Yesterday seemed like a good day to take a field trip to this remote location, so I recruited some assistance from a long time friend to go with me. And I was glad that I did! Having been raised on a farm, she easily spotted any poison ivy and other flora that might prove dangerous. So I tiptoed behind her as I took photographs of the graves that still had readable inscriptions. A couple of the smaller stones were located in too much overgrowth for me to want to get any closer. I love cemeteries, but I do not like snakes, critters, anything that stings or a plant that might make me itch. I did the best I could within my comfort zone! There are just over 80 interments, and my camera captured those stones that were accessible. There were a few that had no visible inscriptions, another had either fallen or been set down after it could no longer hold itself erect. But once we had walked the small cemetery, I felt that I had done the best I could under the circumstances.

I have no direct ancestral line buried at this cemetery, but many of those pioneers who are interred intersect with some of my distant kin through marriage - the Loders, Laughlins, Colemans and Atkinsons all have a place in my family tree, distant though it may be.

I will continue to document interments at Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery on and feature many of the tombstone photos on this blog on Tombstone Tuesdays. I'm optimistic that all of the interments will be included fairly soon. I'm committed to this little project, and with such a small cemetery, it shouldn't take too long. I hope blog readers will enjoy the tombstone photographs from Sheffer Pioneer Cemetery in the coming months.


  1. Terrific post .. thanks for sharing! I love the fact an adjacant picnic area is provided. When I have 'lunch with the family' I usually have to sit on the tailgate of my SUV!


  2. Thanks for sharing this. I have ancestors buried in this cemetery and have also visited it. Got lots of mosquito bites!