13 May 2019

Monday, May 20th, 2019
6:30 p.m.
Raymond Frye Complex
320 N. Jefferson, Wellington, KS

 “The History of Wellington’s Pioneer Cemetery”

Wellington – On Monday, May 20th at 6:30 p.m., Jim Bales, Chisholm Trail Board Member and Facilities Director, will present the program “The History of Wellington’s Pioneer Cemetery” to visitors and members of the Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society at the Raymond Frye Complex, 320 N. Jefferson, Wellington.  Everyone is invited to attend the free program.

In April of 1871, shortly after Wellington was founded along the banks of Slate Creek in South Central Kansas, Major A. N. Randall, Union veteran and Wellington town founder, saw the need for a burying ground.  Captain Randall donated five acres of his homestead, and the cemetery became known as “Wellington Cemetery.”

Early records were lost, tombstones have vanished, and cemetery boundaries changed, so it’s difficult to guess, even using ‘grave witching,’ how many folks were buried in this cemetery.
Bales will share stories of the founding of the town’s earliest burying ground, discuss some of the city founders, and share stories about some of the people buried there.

Burials that include Civil War Union soldiers, both white and African-American, two Confederate soldiers, merchants, a gunshot victim, and three horse thieves. The causes of death reflect the dangers that Kansas pioneers faced daily from accidents, disease, gunshot wounds, and for three horse thieves - hanging.

“These burials are a memorial to the people that came before us to settle this country,” Bales said, “they lived a hard and interesting life.”

“It is important to do this research and renovate this cemetery so that future generations will know these people’s histories, trials and tribulations, and that future generations will hold these final resting places as hallowed grounds,” Bales said, “researching and remembering their lives is more important to me than what’s going on with the Kardashians on TV.”

Currently, the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Chisholm Trail Museum are raising funds to make a few improvements to the Pioneer Cemetery.

“We need to raise just a small amount to put up a flagpole, a proper sign, and a kiosk for information about the burials to show proper respect to these former citizens of our town,” Bales said,  “I feel that the respect and reverence that we show toward our ancestors burials reflects on us and our society.”

“When I leave this earth, I would like to think that people will look at my memorial and remember me,” Bales said, “that my final resting place will be just that, my final resting place.”