RURAL MASON CITY – Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, we decided to check out Owens Grove Cemetery. The last time we were there, it looked like everybody had forgotten it, so we were going there to place some flags and flowers on the tombstones and unmarked graves.
The cemetery is located on 220th Street and County Road S56. There is a plaque at the entry of the cemetery that reads “Tarachiawacon. Chapter of the Daughters of the American Colonists of Mason City, Iowa, Cerro Gordo County, wish to place this historical marker in memory of ‘The Early Settlers of Owens Grove.’ Records on file in Cerro Gordo County Court House show that Owens Grove Cemetery is one of the first recorded cemeteries on file as of April 1872.”
(PHOTO: Mark and Doreen Marzen of rural Cartersville, Iowa, at the grave of their son Nicholas.)
Arriving at the Owens Grove Cemetery, we noticed that there were already flowers, a new marker and a new tombstone there.
A couple showed up minutes later, Mark and Doreen Marzen, who live a mile from Clarksville. They had lost their son, Nicholas, at the young age of 23 in 2008 to a fatal car accident. They were the first to initiate the idea of reopening the cemetery.
Doreen said, “He had discussed with his wife that he would like to be put to rest in the Owens Grove Cemetery, but at the time it was an inactive cemetery. We went to the Owen Township meeting, which is only held twice a year, and brought up the idea of reopening it.”
“The following year, we did research. We read about the laws and the rules of reopening the cemetery and came up with a plan,” said Mark.
“The next year, the Owens Township Trustees voted on the reopening, and was voted in that it would reopen. It would be a ashes/urn only cemetery,” explained Doreen. “Nicholas was the first to be buried here after the reopening.”
Nicholas’s parents made his final wishes come to be, three years after his death. “He is here, overlooking the farmland, the peaceful scenery and the fields of cows.”
Mark was bringing in a wheel-barrel, lawnmower, ax and other clearing equipment. They were there cleaning up the cemetery, as well as clearing out a tree stump. Doreen had plans of planting flowers and a new tree in memory of their son.
This old place of rest is being remembered and the early settlers of Cerro Gordo County are not forgotten.
Some of the names that could be read on the tombstones from 1800 and early 1900’s are Cyrus Hewitt-died Jan. 31, 1883, Renshaw, Harriet J Harris 1873-1878, Pierson Jones, Lyman and Fred Stevens-both war veterans and Hill – no other names but on the side are the words In My Fathers House are Many Mansions.
You can look up more on the settlers of Owen Grove at Cerro Gordo-1883 History of Owen Township. Some of the names you can read able are Alonzo Willson, Abiel Pierce (second cousin to President Pierce), C.W. Wicks, Chicago Willson, Brazil Updike, Rial Barney, Jesse Hill, Malcolm C. Andrews, A.H. Quackenbush, Judson Quackenbush, Garret S. Armitage, W.A. Wells, Neil Fullerton, E.W. Jacobs, Asher M. Stevens, and H.P. Meloy.