Sycamore Township of Dekalb County, IL.




Brief History:

 The Elmwood Cemetery Association was formed in 1865 with the following managers:

                                 Alonzo Ellwood
                                 William J. Hunt
                                 Carlos Lattin
                                 J. S. Waterman
                                 D. B. James

The Cemetery was surveyed in 1865 as “A part of Section 32, Township 41 North Range 5 Commencing at S.W. Corner of the premises of H. L. Boies on P. Stevens east line thence Northernly, on Stevens East line 40 rods thence Southernly on a line parallel with said West line 40 rods to said South line thence Westerly on said South line 60 rods to place of beginning,  containing 15 acres.

H. E. Young, Surveyor
Surveyed 16 February 1865




The intricate, cast iron archway and fence was erected in 1865, the year the cemetery was incorporated, was entered in the National Register of Historical Places in May of 1978. The following excerpt is from the nomination statement.

The years from 1850 until after the Civil War saw a rapid expansion in the use of cast iron for structural and ornamental building. The Elmwood Cemetery Gates, constructed at about the height of this expansion in the midwest, represent a unique and estimable manifestation of this craftsmanship, with the overall design exhibiting an artistic union of case and wrought iron construction. According to the Illinois Historic Structures Survey, of 1973 these are the best representatives of iron cemetery gates in Illinois.

The exact date of the construction of the Elmwood Cemetery Gates is not known because the early cemetery records were destroyed by fire. However, the Sycamore True Republican carried the following notices;


22 March 1865

THE CEMETERY - A meeting of the incorporators of Elmwood Cemetery Association will be held at the office of Charles Kellum this Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock.


5 April 1865

        THE NEW CEMETERY - Elmwood Cemetery Company was organized on Monday Evening last by the election of a Board of Managers consisting of the following named gentlemen: Alonzo Ellwood, Carlos Lattin, James S. Waterman, William J. Hunt, Daniel B. James, The managers subsequently organized by the selection of Alonzo Ellwood, as President, D. B. James as Secretary, and James S. Waterman as Treasurer.

        The Company have selected and completed their contract for 18 acres of land upon the Boies Farm in the southwest corner of the Corporation and are preceeding with vigor to secure the necessary stock of $6,000 and laying out and ornamenting the grounds in the most admirable style. We hope that every one of our permanent citizens will become stock holders and interested in this most desirable improvement.


24 May 1865

       ELMWOOD - The lots in our new and beautiful cemetery will be offered for sale on Saturday next. There are about 300 of them and they have been appraised at various sums ranging from $15 to $50. Should there be any competition for desired lots, they will be put up and sold to the highest bidder. It is hoped that there will be a general attendance at the sale.


8 November 1865

THE CEMETERY - The beautiful grounds of the new Elmwood Cemetery are soon to be rapidly peopled with the bodies of our dead. The time of the year on which it is practicable to remove bodies from the old burial grounds is now arrived, and many removals have already been made. It is highly desirable that all those who have friends in the old grounds should soon procure lots in the new, and attend to their careful and decorus reinterment;  for soon in accordance with the provisions of their charter, the Cemetery Company must transfer those bodies for which there is no special provision made, to the Potters Field of the new cemetery, and must convert the old grounds into public parks. There can be but few who would not prefer to pay the small price demanded for burial lots and to show their respect for the dead by suitable honors to their remains rather than leave them to the rude hands of careless strangers to be huddled into the promiscour common field. As will be seen by the advertisement of the Cemetery Company. Mr. J. S. Waterman will attend the sale of lots. Messrs. Beemer and Franklin, will on applications attend to the careful removal of bodies, and Mr. Theodore H. Beavers, undertaker, will furnish the burial cases.


7 November 1866

The subject of passing the control of Elmwood Cemetery over to the trustees of the Corporate Village of Sycamore is talked of. However, this was not done and today the Cemetery still operates as a separate corporation under the Illinois Cemetery Act.


13 March 1867


All persons having friends buried in either of the grave yards of this village are particularly requested to have them removed during the coming month to the new cemetery.

        ALONZO ELLWOOD, President
        J. S. WATERMAN, Treasurer
        Sycamore March 10, 1867


 A later issue of the True Republican contains the following statement:

The directors of the Elmwood Cemetery have let the contract for a fence to be built around the cemetery that will excel in beauty and excel in cost of anything of the kind in this part of the state.

         “One entrance will be located on the North and one on the East side of the cemetery”. There are no entrances like these nearer than Cleveland, Ohio, where the same kind ornament the cemetery were the martyred Garfield is entombed. The gates and fence were to be completed by August at a cost of “Considerably over $2,000.00”.


8 November 1865 a reference was made “TO OLD BURIAL GROUNDS” In the early 1840’s two cemeteries were laid out as follows:

 1.       METHODIST CEMETERY (no longer in existence)
           Also known as THE SOUTH BURYING GROUNDS (no longer in existence)

           Located:      On the corner of Somonauk and Waterman Streets inside the city of Sycamore, Sycamore Township, DeKalb County Illinois, next to the                Methodist Parsonage.

2.       NAME UNKNOWN (no longer in existence)

          Located:      On the corner of Grove and State Streets in the Sabin Addition inside the City of Sycamore, Sycamore Township, DeKalb County, Illinois.

 These cemeteries were occupied until about 1865 when the bodies were taken up and removed to the beautiful Elmwood Cemetery, southeast of town.

 Reference:  Past and Present of DeKalb County, Illinois

            By:  Prof. Lewis M. Gross
            Volume I page 177


 Note:  These cemeteries were located on the 1871 Plat Map and not on the 1892 Plat Map
of Sycamore, Sycamore Township, DeKalb County, Illinois.

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