Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hillcrest and St. Francis Cemteries

Hillcrest and St. Francis Cemeteries
            With its booming population in the late 1800's Harrington found itself in a quandary that many towns have, lack of a cemetery. Just to the south of Harrington proper you will find Hillcrest cemetery and St. Francis cemetery which are owned and maintained by the city. The Hillcrest grounds were designated and purchased as a cemetery in 1898 with the death and burial of Georgia May Bethel, the 13 year old daughter of Charlie and Belle. Georgia had contracted diphtheria she was the Bethels only child, they later left their ranch and built a Spanish style home on first street. Prior to this there had been an unofficial cemetery outside of town whose inhabitants were later reinterred at Hillcrest. The St Francis cemetery was originally maintained by the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic church but with the decline of the town transferred to the city.
            Situated on a slight hill with ample trees for shade and windbreak it is a very tranquil resting place. When walking the grounds you see headstones of all shapes, sizes and material that despite age have been well maintained.  With old interspersed with new, as the plots are situated by family not date, you can follow the rise and decline of the city of Harrington. The obvious wealth that the wheat fields yield can be seen when looking at the quality and ornate markers to families and individuals.
            Scattered records shed light on two interesting inhabitants of the cemetery. First we have Naomi Trumble who at the age of 25 in 1885 was committed to the Medical Lake Insane Asylum and then again in 1886. She would remain until her death in 1928. We then have poor misguided William Trumble who in 1886 had a Frontier Justice record for horse theft. Then in 1887 a Department of Corrections commitment record for....gasp horse stealing he was at this time aged 18. He died in 1888 we can only guess from what. You will also find the inventor and maker of the Harrington harvester among the headstones. Charles Erich half of Dunning and Erich who for 13 years manufactured the harvester before a fire destroyed their factory including all foundry moulds.
            The cemetery is still an active cemetery. So if you decide to visit be sure to show proper respect.
Trumble family marker. Photo taken by author

Georgia May Bethels two headstones. Photo taken by author.

William Trumbles family marker. Photo taken by author.

Photo taken by author.

Entrance pillar of St. Francis cemetery. Photo taken by author.

Entrance pillar of Hillcrest cemetery.  Photo taken by author

Georgia May Bethel. Photo courtesy of Prof. Cebula.

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