- Historical Photos, 1958
- Ceremony to rededicate General Mead grave (September, 1972)
- Fermilab Pioneer Cemetery a link with history (May, 1975)
- FermiNews article on the Pioneer Cemetery (PDF format, see page 8) (June, 1998)
- Pioneer Cemetery - historical information - map (June, 1984)
The National Accelerator Laboratory, on Sunday, September 24th, will join in a tribute to its Illinois heritage. The occasion will be the rededication by the Kane County Council of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the Pioneer cemetery located on the NAL site, on former Batavia Road, a short distance from the entrance to DUSAF headquarters. In arranging the ceremony, the VFW honors the grave of Thompson Mead, a general in the War of 1812, one of the 18 identifiable burials in the cemetery. NAL officials have agreed to cooperate with the VFW in perpetual care of the cemetery. "The feeling was that this soldier's grave should be preserved just as other soldiers' graves are in military cemeteries throughout our country," according to Harold V. Johnson of Geneva, chairman of the event.
Thompson Mead was born February 26, 1774 in Dutchess County, New York, the son of a Revolutionary War soldier. Following the outbreak of the War of 1812, he answered a call to military service on September 1, 1812 and was ordered into active duty as Lieutenant Colonel of the 17th Regiment of the New York State militia. On September 20th, he was chosen commander of the regiment, and he had marched his 400 troops to Queenston Heights on the American side of the Niagara River by early October. An intense battle was fought on both sides of the river during the next fortnight, the British troops reinforced by Indians, ending in capitulation by the Americans. The records indicate Colonel Mead "behaved in battle with great coolness and determination." Some time later he was given the title of General in the New York State Militia.
In his latter years, because of ill health, the general and his wife moved to Batavia, Illinois where their youngest son. Dr. Thompson Mead, Jr., had located. The general purchased about 29 acres of land in 1845 at a location known most recently as the Phillips Farm, where he lived until he died in 1851. He and his wife and three of their grandchildren are buried in the cemetery which was a part of their farm. A descendant, Miss Ora Mead, resides in Batavia at the present time.
Various newspaper stories since 1960 report that the tiny cemetery was at one time completely abandoned. Through the efforts of Ernest Lundine and August Meier of Batavia, the Kane County VFW, in 1958, began to unearth the stones, including that of the general. The earliest burial was found to be 1839; the latest recorded burial in the plot was in 1871.
The program on September 24th will include raising of a flag that has flown over The White House, secured for the VFW through the efforts of Congressman Cliffard Carlson of Geneva, Illinois. Robert McMann, VFW Vice Department Commander of the State of Illinois, will be the main speaker of the day, and other VFW officials will also participate. Donald R. Getz, Assistant Director of the National Accelerator Laboratory, will represent the Laboratory.
Also on the program will be the Fox Valley Raiders, a drum and bugle corps of 65 youngsters from the DuKane area, recently named Class III champions in the Mid-America Drum and Bugle Corps competition at Kankakee, Illinois. John Burdette of the National Accelerator Laboratory Purchasing Department has worked actively with this group, which is only two years old and already winning honors.
NAL employees and the general public are invited to the ceremony which will start at 2 p.m. at the cemetery.
Source: The Village Crier Vol. 4 No. 30, September 21, 1972Donald R. Getz, NAL Assistant Director, spoke at the September 24th ceremony rededicating the grave of General Thompson Mead in NAL's Pioneer Cemetery. In addition to officials of the Kane County Council of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, other guests included: (seated left to right) Robert Mitchler, Oswego, Senator from the 38th District in the Illinois State Legislature; Cliffard Carlson, Geneva, member of Congress from the 15th District, and Miss Ora Mead of Batavia, great grand-daughter of General Mead
Source: The Village Crier Vol. 4 No. 31, September 28, 1972
A tiny cemetery on the Fermilab site preserves the grave of Thompson Mead, a general in the War of 1812. His grave is one of 18 identifiable burials in the small plot on old Batavia Road, south of Wilson Road, west of the Meson Area.
Newspaper stories before Fermilab entered its present location report that the tiny cemetery was at one time completely abandoned. Through the efforts of two Batavia residents, Ernest Lundine and August Meier, the Kane County Veterans of Foreign Wars began, in 1958, to unearth the tombstones, including that of General Mead. The earliest burial was found to be 1839; the latest recorded burial in the plot was in 1871.
In September, 1972 the VFW rededicated the plot, raising a flag from the White House. "The feeling was that this soldier's grave should be preserved just as other soldiers' graves are preserved in military cemeteries throughout the United States," the VFW noted. Fermilab has agreed to continue perpetual care of the cemetery.
Source: The Village Crier Vol. 7 No. 22, May 29, 1975
Source: Ferminews Vol. 4 No. 2, January 8, 1981
broken – no name – only fragments of verse remaining
_hen fadeless joy
[In me]mory of
Joel & Sally Howe who
Departed this life
Aug 21 AD 1839
Aged 24 Years
Given is to Earth it ______
Relics wither in the dust
Yield is to God the spirit
Spirit mind with the joy
NOTE: The above verse may not be entirely correct due to weathering. Brackets indicate assumed text.
W H N
N S HOWE
Geo. C. HUBBARD
John F. & Almira Hubbard
of Norwich, N.Y.
DIED Jan’y 17, 1851
Aged 25 Years
& 6 Months
T. & L.S. MEAD
Sept. 15, 1851
Aged 2 Yrs. 3 Ms.
& 23 Days
She woke the cup of life to sip
Too bitter ‘twas to drain
She merely touched it to her lips
And then she slept again.
T. & L.S. MEAD
May 20, 1848
7 Ms. 17 Days
This lovely bud so you[ng and fair]
Called hence by early [doom]
Just came to show [how fair a flower]
In paradise w[ould bloom]
NOTE: brackets indicate text that had been previously transcribed, but are now missing.
Gen. Thompson Mead
Oct 1, 1850
GEN. THOMPSON MEAD
Mar 3, 1851
Aged 77 Yrs.
Blessed are the dead which
died in the Lord.
Brass plaque placed on 24 Sep 1972:
GENERAL 17 REGT NY MILITIA
WAR OF 1812
FEB 26 1771 MARCH 3 1851
G. C. H.
Sacred to the
Memory of our
DIED MARCH 6 1846
A. J. M.
broken – no text remaining
NOTE: possibly a foot stone for Miriam Mead (Grave H)
NOTE: possibly a foot stone for Thompson Mead (Grave I)
Isaac & Mary Benedict
Jan. 19, 1854.
Aged 24 Years
broken – no text remaining
JANE INEZ SCHEYER
JUNE 12, 1916
FEBRUARY 14, 2006
ROBERT RATHBUN WILSON
1914 • 2000
[In] mem[o]ry of
Oct. [20, 1842]
[Age]d 69 yea[rs]
Jehovah _______ n_ is d___
NOTE: brackets indicate assumed text. This stone is presently lying flat over the grave of Joel’s son, Noah (Grave B) and is in extremely poor condition. The original location is unknown.
Source: Geoff Eargle, October, 2007