Fermilab History and Archives Project

Pioneer Cemetery

HISTORICAL PHOTOS, 1958

The Grave of Thompson Mead, 1958
The Grave of Thompson Mead, 1958

A descendent of Thompson Mead, Ora Mead, 1958
A descendent of Thompson Mead, Ora Mead, 1958

Members of the VFW at Pioneer Cemetery, 1958
Members of the VFW at Pioneer Cemetery, 1958

Pioneer Cemetery

CEREMONY TO REDEDICATE GENERAL MEAD GRAVE

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, 1972

Donald R. Getz, NAL Assistant Director, spoke at the September 24th ceremony rededicating the grave of General Thompson Mead in NAL's Pioneer Cemetery.Donald 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

 


The Rededication The Rededication

Photo by Paul Weis, Aurora Beacon News, September 24, 1972
Photo by Paul Weis, Aurora Beacon News, September 24, 1972

FERMILAB PIONEER CEMETERY A LINK WITH HISTORY

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

Pioneer Cemetery 1981

Historic Pioneer Cemetery has a new flagpole and is now fully fenced. Fermilab maintains the cemetery in recognition of the pioneers buried there and other ancestors who settled and farmed the Illinois prairie. A fresh sign also is being prepared.


Source: Ferminews Vol. 4 No. 2, January 8, 1981

PIONEER CEMETERY
HISTORICAL INFORMATION

(put cursor over letters for more information)

 

A.B. broken - no text remainingG.C.H.Sacred to the Memory of our Mother Maria Lindsay Died March 6 1846A.J.M.broken _MALFRED BENEDICT son of Isaac & Mary Benedict Died Jan. 19, 1854, Aged 24 Yearsbroken - no text reaminingT.M.Miriam Wife of Gen. Thompson Mead Died Oct 1, 1850Gen. Thompson Mead Died Mar 3, 1851 Aged 77 Yrs. Blessed are the dead which died in the Lord.Geo. C. Hubbard son of John F. & Almira Hubbard of Norwich, N.Y. Died Jan'y 17, 1851 Ages 25 Years & 6 MonthsHENRIETTA Daughter of T. & L.S. Mead Died Sept. 15, 1851 Aged 2 Yrs. 3 Ms. & 23 DaysAgne[s J.] Daughter of T. & L.S. Mead Died May 20, 1848 7 Ms. 17 DaysN S HOWEIn Memory of Joel Howe who died Oct. Aged 69 yearsJane Inez Scheyer Wilson June 12, 1916 February 14, 2006Robert Rathbun Wilson 1914 2000In Memory of Noah Sabin Son of Joel & Sally Howe who Departed this life Aug 21 AD 1839 Aged 24 YearsW H Nbroken - no name

Grave A

broken – no name – only fragments of verse remaining

_hen ___sho_
regret __repi___
_hen fadeless joy
blis___ thine.

 

Grave B

[In me]mory of
NOAH SABIN
Son 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.

 

Grave C

W H N

 

Grave D

N S HOWE

 

Grave E

Geo. C. HUBBARD
SON OF
John F. & Almira Hubbard
of Norwich, N.Y.
DIED Jan’y 17, 1851
Aged 25 Years
& 6 Months

 

Grave F

HENRIETTA
Daughter of
T. & L.S. MEAD
DIED
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.

 

Grave G

AGNE[S J.]
Daughter of
T. & L.S. MEAD
DIED
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.

 

Grave H

MIRIAM
WIFE OF
Gen. Thompson Mead
DIED
Oct 1, 1850

 

Grave I

GEN. THOMPSON MEAD
DIED
Mar 3, 1851
Aged 77 Yrs.
Blessed are the dead which
died in the Lord.

Brass plaque placed on 24 Sep 1972:

THOMPSON MEAD
ILLINOIS
GENERAL 17 REGT NY MILITIA
WAR OF 1812
FEB 26 1771    MARCH 3 1851

 

Grave J

G. C. H.

 

Grave K

Sacred to the
Memory of our
Mother
MARIA LINDSAY
DIED MARCH 6 1846

 

Grave L

A. J. M.

 

Grave M

broken

_M

 

Grave N

broken – no text remaining

NOTE: possibly a foot stone for Miriam Mead (Grave H)

 

Grave O

T. M.

NOTE: possibly a foot stone for Thompson Mead (Grave I)

 

Grave P

ALFRED BENEDICT
SON OF
Isaac & Mary Benedict
DIED
Jan. 19, 1854.
Aged 24 Years

 

Grave Q

A. B.

 

Grave R

broken – no text remaining

 

Grave S

JANE INEZ SCHEYER
WILSON
JUNE 12, 1916
FEBRUARY 14, 2006

 

Grave T

ROBERT RATHBUN WILSON
1914 • 2000

 

Grave U

[In] mem[o]ry of
JOEL HOWE
who DIED
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

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