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Grave News
July 2006
Page 12

A news article from the Des Moines Register, February 17, 1986, "Descendants protest cemetery's use as a cornfield," by Steve Ballard, was contributed by Mike Magee. One hundred and ten years after Jacob Dearinger, an early settler of Jasper County, was buried in a cemetery that he established south of Newton near the tiny community of Galesburg, his descendants are asking the Iowa Supreme Court to order a farmer to quit planting crops on the ground and to make Elk Creek Township restore the cemetery. The owner, Elvin Van Wyk, decided to remove the stone markers because he did not like having to swing his tractor around a fence erected in 1963, surrounding the Dearinger graves. Said Van Wyk, "I don't think it's as bad to grow corn on it as it is to let the groundhogs eat it. Besides there's a lot of abandoned cemeteries that are being farmed in Iowa."

Note: Jasper County was one of the first Iowa counties to create a pioneer cemetery commission and this incident may have prompted the movement to preserve these historic and sacred sites in Iowa.

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