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Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Mitchell County effort under way to restore old gravesites
By LARRY KERSHNER, For The Globe Gazette

OSAGE - There is a fledgling effort under way in Mitchell County to locate, record and restore to good condition the grave sites of Mitchell County pioneering families.

The effort has been spearheaded by Neal Du Shane, an Osage native, who now resides in Fort Collins, Colo. Du Shane has been conducting an e-mail campaign with volunteers in coordinating a push for restoring what he terms as the "forgotten, but not lost" cemeteries of Mitchell County.

Two county residents have already stepped forward to undertake the restoration of such cemeteries. Cheryl Jahnel of Osage, a county supervisor, will attempt to locate and to begin recording the graves and start restoration on the old Watertown Cemetery, located somewhere near Orchard; and the Holbrook Corner Cmetery, located near New Haven. Eric Dralle, an Osage teacher and resident of St. Ansgar, is attempting to record and restore the Old Mona Cemetery; as well as restore the old Newburg, also know as the McKinley Cemetery in rural St. Ansgar.

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October 4, 2002
Volunteers seek to locate, restore pioneer gravesites
By LARRY KERSHNER, For The Globe Gazette

OSAGE - A fledgling effort is under way in Mitchell County to locate, record and restore the gravesites of Mitchell County pioneer families.

The effort is being spearheaded by Neal Du Shane, an Osage native who lives in Fort Collins, Colo. He has been conducting an e-mail campaign with volunteers in coordinating a push for restoring what he terms as the "forgotten, but not lost" cemeteries of Mitchell County.

Two county residents have stepped forward to undertake the restoration of such cemeteries.

Cheryl Jahnel of Osage, a county supervisor, will attempt to locate and begin recording information on the graves. She also will start restoration on the old Watertown Cemetery, located somewhere near Orchard, and the Holbrook Corner Cemetery near New Haven.

Eric Dralle, an Osage teacher and resident of St. Ansgar, is attempting to record and restore the Old Mona Cemetery as well as restore the old Newburg Cemetery, also known as the McKinley Cemetery, in rural St. Ansgar.

Dralle said the tallest headstones of the Mona Cemetery still stick up above the undergrowth. Many of the markers are broken and others are sinking.

Dralle, who conducted a restoration of the Otranto Cemetery a few years ago, said he plans to take students to the site this month to burn off the weeds, remove downed branches and trim bordering trees.

"Then we want to write down the information on all of the markers," Dralle said, "before the snow falls."

Audrey McKinley, an area historian for St. Ansgar and the old town of Newburg, said she'd welcome assistance in restoring the Newburg Cemetery, which contains the final resting places of many of the McKinley clan that settled Newburg Township and established the town of Newburg in the 1850s.

Jahnel, however, has a tougher task ahead since she is uncertain of the location of her two project cemeteries and will rely on local residents' knowledge of the location of the cemeteries of Watertown and Holbrook Corner.

The old town site of Watertown is said to be just north of Orchard on the trout stream. An old mill used to sit on the site. Holbrook Corner, she said, is located somewhere near New Haven.



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