The day began with rain, but that didn’t stop a group of approximately 45 persons from taking a motor coach (a/k/a luxury bus) on a tour of northwest Grundy County cemeteries. This trip was especially important to me because four sets of ancestors are buried in two of the cemeteries we visited. All of the cemeteries we visited are extremely well-maintained. Some (but not all of the cemeteries) included Pleasant Valley Methodist, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Colfax Presbyterian, West Friesland, East Friesland, and German Township.
Pastor Jürgen Hoogstraat form Victobur, Germany, was also with us on this trip. He translated German inscriptions on some of the tombstones for us. He was pleased to see the place of birth inscribed on a few of the stones of the first immigrants. (He said one of the towns listed now has about two houses remaining!)
In addition to the cemeteries, we saw beautiful churches, fertile Iowa farmland covered with corn, the area where author Herbert Quick was born and raised, and the largest boulder of limestone in Iowa (only one fourth of which is above ground).
The day ended in Wellsburg with a performance by the Ackley German Band (they are good!) The townspeople of Wellsburg are proud of their town and have carried on the attitude of their Ostfriesen ancestors with hard work and a positive, “can do” and “will do” attitude. The population of the town is approximately 800, and the Wellsburg Community Club boasts a membership of 200. Impressive!
If they were to walk the streets of Wellsburg today, I think my ancestors would be proud of this little gem of a town.
One of the larger monuments in the East Friesland Cemetery, rural Wellsburg, Iowa.