The Beresford Cemetery is approximately one mile south and one mile east
of Beresford, SD. It is one of four cemeteries located along the north
side of Union County's 298th Street. The four cemeteries are adjacent
to each other and are sometimes known collectively and less formally as
"the City Cemetery."
The five acres of land for Beresford Cemetery were purchased in May
of 1896 for two hundred and fifty dollars. The land was deeded by Mr.
and Mrs. R. Z. Bennett. Surveying and fencing cost an additional one
hundred fifty four dollars. In 1902, well was drilled; and, a windmill
was erected. However, the windmill was destroyed in a storm later that
same year. By 1909, the cemetery was finally out of debt. In 1916, a
movement was made to improve the grounds; and, a tool house was built.
A number of trees were added in 1939.
One and a quarter acres of land on the east side were sold to the Emmanuel
Lutheran Church in 1937. According to maps of the Beresford and Emmanuel
Lutheran Cemeteries; lots numbered 1-6, 19-30, 43-54, and 65-72 of blocks
1 and 4 were sold to form the Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery. This land
contained a number of graves which were once a part of Beresford Cemetery.
Afterwards, a strip of land just west of the original block 1 in the
Beresford Cemetery was divided up into new lots, which were designated
(from south to north) as new lots 65 through 69 of block 1 of Beresford
Cemetery. All of these facts probably combined into a frequent source
of confusion for anyone who consulted burial records from before and
after 1937. Also, lots 59 through 64 of block 4 were extended southward
by two graves each; and, these new grave spaces were designated as lots
59A through 64A of block 4.
Initially, everyone cared for their own lots. The price of a lot in
1943 was ten and fifteen dollars. Later, perpetual care was adopted
with an increased cost of graves. It is very well maintained. The grass
is mowed regularly; and near the tool house, there is a garbage can
On the night of April 8, 1994, vandals bent twenty-eight of the fifty-nine
flag poles along the cemetery's "Avenue of Flags." The poles were bent
in such a way as to block the driveways; and, the damage was beyond
repair. Within a short time, the three individuals responsible for the
vandalism were apprehended by local police and the Union County Sheriff's
Department. Fortunately, this type of incident was the exception rather
than the rule.
The survey of Beresford Cemetery was conducted by Brian M. Hass. The
cemetery was visited on August 19 and 26, and September 9 and 16 of
2001 for the purpose of transcribing information from the inscriptions
on all of the visible grave markers. The transcriptions were compared
with the earlier burial records. Any disagreements between the documents
were noted and circled on a printout of the 2001 transcriptions. The
cemetery was revisited on January 8 and April 17 of 2002 to determine
whether the disagreements were the result of errors in the 2001 transcriptions;
and, any errors that were discovered were noted and corrected. Some
information was gathered from old obituaries published in the "Beresford
Republic" if the information was absent from any of the burial records
for unmarked graves. The dimensions of the cemetery were measured during
the April 17, 2002 visit.
The 1940 WPA graves registration records were found to contain numerous
name misspellings as well as few date and age errors. A few of the WPA
misspellings sounded phonetically similar to the actual names when read
out loud, but did not resemble those names otherwise.
This information was gathered from the following sources:
1) 2001 Beresford Cemetery Survey Notes by Brian Hass. This is a collection
of hand-printed survey data and notes collected during visits to Beresford
Cemetery in 2001. The data includes names; dates and places of birth,
marriage, and death; and, other data obtained from grave marker inscriptions.
Special care was taken to insure that all names were transcribed accurately
from the markers. This document includes corrections.
2) Beresford Cemetery burial records. This document lists the names,
years of death, and lot and block numbers for individuals buried at
Beresford Cemetery. 3) Beresford Cemetery listing of graves, WPA Graves
Registration Project, April 1940. The listing contains names, grave
locations, dates of death, ages at death, genders, veteran status, and
comments. This document also lists a number of graves which are actually
part of the Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery. These graves are located on
land which was once a part of the Beresford Cemetery before it was sold
to the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in 1937.
4) "Beresford Cemetery Assc. Inc.," pg 78 of the Beresford centennial
book, Beresford:_100_Years, published in 1983 by the "Beresford Republic"
and the Lennox Independent." This contained some historical information
on the cemetery.
5) "Beresford Cemetery," written by members of the Twentieth Century
Club, 1989. This article contained historical information on the cemetery.
6) "Beresford Republic" newspaper, Beresford, South Dakota. This contained
all but one of the referenced obituaries that were used.
7) "Vandals destroy 'Avenue of Flags'," pg 1, April 14, 1994 issue of
the "Beresford Republic."
Because the border between the Emmanuel Lutheran and Beresford Cemeteries
is not well marked, a few records had to be compared against the 2001
survey data. Burial records for both Emmanuel Lutheran and Beresford
Cemeteries were checked; and, obituaries for a number of individuals
buried along or near the border were also checked. If the listed place
of interment within an obituary disagreed with the burial records, the
burial record data was given preference. This was done to remove any
ambiguities with regard to the cemetery in which these individuals were
The following list includes the inscriptions from all visible grave
markers. Information on unmarked graves was obtained from the second
and third sources listed above.
??, ??, no dates, probably unmarked, listed as Mrs. Roops father,
data from burial records, blk. 2, lot 49
??, ??, no dates, probably unmarked, listed as Mrs. Roops mother,
data from burial records, blk. 2, lot 49
??, ??, no dates, probably unmarked, records list as "child of
stranger," buried in same block and lot as Dr. Trotter, data from burial
records, blk. 2, lot 69