This Gilthorpe (Sheridan) cemetery burial
list was procured by Warren L. Van Dine April 25, 1971 on a visit to it
accompanied by Mr. Charles Dowdall who acted as a guide and assisted in
Mr. Dowdall is a former Nauvoo grade school principal who is employed now as a bus driver for the Nauvoo - Colusa High School system. He wrote the Appanoose Township chapter of the 1968 Hancock County Illinois history with some help by Mrs. Ida Blum in research. He lives in Niota (sometimes called east of Fort Madison).
Gilthorpe (Sheridan) is located in a farm field on land owned and farmed by Mr. Robert Reed.
This field is located on a bluff (south bank) overlooking the gray-black waters of the upper Mississippi, about one and one-half miles west of the Santa Fe Railroad and motor vehicle bridge which spans the river at the Fort Madison, Iowa and Niota, Ill. point. One can stand in Gilthorpe (Sheridan) cemetery and enjoy a long range view of the 2,500 mi. long Mississippi both ways.
There is an all whether gravel road running east-west here which the motorists can take west out of an Niota to get to Gilthorpe (Sheridan). One can branch off concrete road No. 96 also (between Nauvoo and Niota, both river towns) and get back here to the river area and come to Gilthorpe (Sheridan) from the east.
There is a narrow fringe of pasture land (tillable also) between the river and this Township gravel road. At the point where Gilthorpe (Sheridan) is located one can about throw a stone across this narrow strip of farm land from the road and hear it splash into the waters of the river.
Someone sometime in the years back of us, fifty, more likely a hundred, built 2 stone enclosures about 20 ft. square and about 4 ft. high in Gilthorpe (Sheridan). There is not more than 5 ft. of space between them.
Presumably most of the graves are located in one or the other of these two enclosures. But a stone or two down on the ground a few yards outside and too heavy to have been "Horsed" over the stone wall anywhere to get them out of the closures would seem to indicate some internments at least outside.
These stone enclosures were well built, substantial, with beautiful out stone tops indicating the builders had in mind permanency as well as beauty when they did this work. But the walls are in the state of disrepair here and there. As well built as these walls were and what stone like this a great deal of time must have passed since the work was done, a century anyway.
No monuments are now standing here either inside or outside of the enclosures. All are down on the ground or in a slab or two lying on top of a stone wall or leaning against it.
There is no upkeep here, no fencing around the place, no moving. But though in the abandoned condition it is not grown up to brush hear or to tall weeds with the exception of a little brush inside the enclosures.
Some trees here give evidence of abandonment of Gilthorpe (Sheridan) at a very early date, trees growing in places where no cemetery management would ever planted one. There are two immense trees on the grounds here. One of about 50 ft. tall west of the enclosures is a towering hard maple which must have been a sizable tree before white man ever set foot on this ground a century and a half ago. Another very big tree, a birch, just east of the enclosures.
There is also a 50 ft. tall steel power line tower here just inside the road fence and may be as far as 75 ft. from the closest of the stone enclosures. There runs south close and to the river many miles to the Keokuk Hamilton Dam.
There is some forest growth on the side of the bluff down to the water level but not dense. One can stand in Gilthorpe (Sheridan) and look across the river into the industrial area of Fort Madison, Iowa.
Such is Gilthorpe (Sheridan) of Appanoose Township. Everyone has heard a lot about this burial place but few people outside of the farmers close in here have ever set foot in it or would be able to direct a motorists to it. There have been no burials here probably sense Civil War days and it is extremely unlikely there ever will be any more.
The list drawn up here is what the writer of this (Warren L. Van Dine) was able to obtain from such monuments as were still on the grounds in April of 1971 maybe people of the area have compiled a list in times gone by or know names of some interest here which were not available for this list. If so it would be considered a service to the American people if they would come forward with this information so additions can be made to this list or perhaps a second list set up for Gilthorpe (Sheridan)
Gilthorpe Cemetery ( Sheridan), Appanoose Township, Hancock County,
1968 Hancock County, Illinois History
one of the first known cemeteries in Appanoose Township is known as Gilthorpe. Is located 3 miles west of Niota on a high point overlooking the Mississippi River. As the cemetery has had no care for a number of years, all the stones and markers have fallen.
Mrs. Cambre (Mofs. Norene Cambre) also tells: "This cemetery below Niota, sometimes called Gilthorpe, was once a Catholic graveyard. When non Catholics started using this cemetery, it was abandoned. " Neal Boddecker has stated: "2 Sheridan Brothers each donated a half acre of land for that cemetery, and because of that, it was first known as Sheridan cemetery. " Thomas Sheridan died October 18, 1854, and Margaret Sheridan in 1863
Marble slab (top half broken off and gone)
Sacred to the memory of ?? Sheridan who departed this life October 31, 1854 66 year of his age.
Small Marble slab
William son of W. & M. Butler died Feb. 28, 1853 Aged 12 yrs 4 mo, 26 ds.
Of Such is the Kingdom of Heaven
Marble Slab (Part of stone, most of top missing)
42 yrs) All of Scription left
Fairly Large Marble Shaft
Aged 61 years
Died Sept. 15, 1842
Aged 34 years