The Belden Cemetery


Peter Korhonen donated land for the Belden cemetery which was started in 1907. Over the years, many buried there no longer had families in the area which left graves uncared for. In recent years, Joyce Evans led a local bunch of volunteers who've cleaned it up and built a nice fence. And I think best of all was figuring out the names and dates of unmarked or poorly marked sites, and giving each one a headstone. Joyce Evans also wrote a book about the history of those buried here, titled "One Hundred Years of Memories." I think those homesteaders would have been pleased to know they have not been forgotten.

In the above picture, our daughter Jana and my brother Jim at our sister's gravesite.

The headstones tell some sad stories. Besides the victims of the 1918 flu epidemic, infant mortality was terribly high. Women often died in childbirth, and men died in farming accidents or from unexplained illnesses. Many remarried after their spouses died. A father with no one to take care of his children, or a mother of young ones with no way to support them, often had no choice.

Baby Armas Annala lived only one day. He was one of the first to be buried in the cemetery. Added to incredibly hard lives of survival, these young deaths must have been heartbreaking for these early homesteaders.

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