BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — A group in Bellevue is discovering the history of some of the first people in the area at a small cemetery that predates the State of Nebraska.
Christine Stewart with the Anderson Grover Cemetery Project knows that history can be hidden in marble, slate, and granite.
At the Anderson Grove Cemetery, she’s uncovering the stories of the people who literally led the way to Bellevue.
“These were the original settlers of Sarpy County that came to the area in the 1850s to homestead," Stewart said.
The cemetery was created in 1862, when Jefferson Bailey and Mary Jane Anderson buried their daughter, Ida May, at the family farm. The cemetery predates the church across the street with the same name (Anderson Grove Presbyterian), the town of Bellevue and the State of Nebraska.
The cemetery is also the final resting place for a long-term senator, Union Army veterans and a mass grave that was moved from a forgotten pioneer cemetery.
Stewart wants to share these stories and honor the founders of Bellevue at their final resting place.
“There are a lot of names here people in Bellevue will recognize," Stewart said. "Hyda from Hyda Hills subdivision. Schneekloth from Schneekloth Road. Maass Road.”
She’s working with members of nearby Anderson Grove Presbyterian like Al Johnson, who have been repairing flag markers for veterans.
“A lot of them are World War I and some of them are Civil War too," Johnson said. "There’s just no one around to do it. So if the good Lord gives me a few more years, I’ll do what I can.”
Some graves will need a little more work with leveling, repairing and cleaning. To protect the history here, they’ll be working with experts.
“Even the most well-intentioned cleaning of a gravestone will ruin it forever if not done properly," Stewart said.
Through their work, the Anderson Grove Cemetery Project hopes the memory of those buried here will live on.
“The people here that are more famous, are always going to be remembered because their names are written down in history someplace," Stewart said. "But it is just as important that the housewife is remembered and the farmer is remembered.”
You can get involved in the project by emailing email@example.com. You can also find them on Facebook.