Monday, November 2, 2009

The Indian Cemetery

Notes From Yesteryear
The Indian Cemetery
By A. L. Spooner
courtesy of Fremont Area District Library

Sometimes people traveling out east on Main Street, in noting the Monument in the Pioneer Cemetery, assume that it is the Indian Cemetery. This, of course, is not true, as the Pioneer Cemetery is, as the name implies, the last resting place of many of Fremont’s early pioneers.

The Fremont Indian Cemetery is adjacent to the east end of Maple Grove Cemetery and while its origin might be amusing to some it was tragic to those involved.

When the land around Fremont was opened to settlement, a number of Indians took up farms from the government south along what is now Stewart Street and Warner Ave. One of whom was Henry Pego and another was Wab-e-cake. (Stewart Street was named after Wilkes Stuart an early settler, but the spelling got change).

One spring Wab-e-cake’s squaw made maple sugar, which she took to the home of Wilkes Stuart in exchange for two dozen eggs. These she carried home, boiled them and ate the whole two dozen. Within three hours she died in agony, terrible bloated.

At that time no cemetery had been established for the Indians. There were many of the town folk still suspicious of them. They dress different, their customs were different, and they just didn’t understand them. They certainly were not going to be allowed to be buried in the white cemetery, so Henry Pego set aside a plot of ground to be used for the Indians and Wab-e-cake’s squaw was the first burial. Later other Indians were interred and the plot became filled.

When Henry Pego sold his farm he reserved the cemetery in the deed but later owners failed to do so. With no care the plot soon grew up to brush and briers and became a eyesore. In 1932 the City of Fremont decided to clear the place but the owner at that time objected, saying that it was part of his farm.

Gladys Brown, a grand daughter of Eitene Lamarandier (Aiken), made Harry L. Spooner aware of the problem, and together they and other interested citizens obtained quit claim deeds to the city from the heirs of Henry Pego and Fremont became the owner. As stated, the plot is filled. There are Thirty-seven known burials as well as many unknown.

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