Evansville to take on maintenance of historic Kelly Cemetery

A PIECE OF THE PAST–Pictured is the gravestone of Cadwell Evans located in the Kelly Cemetery just outside of Evansville. The town was named after Evans. The Evansville Village Board discussed the maintenance of the cemetery at their meeting Monday night. North County News file photo.

Maintenance of the Kelly Cemetery and other zoning/code enforcement matters were discussed at Monday night’s Evansville Village Board meeting.

The Kelly Cemetery is an old cemetery located east of the village, off of Schuline Road. Down a field road rests the semi-forgotten cemetery, located next to the site of the first Presbyterian Church in Illinois. 

Many of the early settlers, residents and merchants of Evansville were buried in this cemetery. This includes the town’s founder Caldwell Evans and his family. Also laid to rest there are veterans of many wars including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War and the Civil War. 

The Kelly Cemetery was organized in 1810, was used from 1802 to 1956, and has 230 or so graves, with some unmarked or only marked by river stones.

Despite the historical significance, like many old cemeteries there was no perpetual care fund set up for its upkeep and it has not been properly maintained over the years.

At Monday night’s meeting, the cemetery was on the agenda for the board to discuss.

Village President Erwin “Red” Becker, who is also one of the few who has worked to try to maintain the cemetery over the years, noted that the cemetery was deeded to the village in 1864. 

“I want to see it taken care of,” he stated, noting that the expense to the village would be approximately three hours every two weeks to mow and then three hours once a month to weed eat.

For more from the Evansville Village Board meeting, please see this week’s print edition.