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Illinois ~ Photos of Historic Chippiannock Cemetery Sculptures ~ Fall Colors at Rock Island

Updated on September 4, 2016

Fall colored leaves

Gorgeous Fall leaves bursting with color
Gorgeous Fall leaves bursting with color | Source

Fall Foliage in a Dead Zone...

If one is an avid fan of visiting cemeteries such as my mother and I like to do, we discovered a great and historic one called Chippiannock located at Rock Island, Illinois and we got to view this beauty during the Fall of the year.

The actual address of the Chappiannock Cemetery is 2901 Twelfth Street and the zip code is 61201. Be sure and put this one on your list of things to enjoy if you find yourself in that part of the country.

We were visiting my aunt and uncle who live in the quad-cities, Bettendorf to be exact, and this site was just across the Mississippi River from them.

Chippiannock Cemetery

Stately tall monuments mixed among shorter ones.
Stately tall monuments mixed among shorter ones. | Source

I had read about this attraction in a Reader's Digest book that I like to consult before traveling to other areas of the country. It is titled: America From the Road. A Motorist's Guide to Our Country's Natural Wonders and Most Interesting Places. Many successful vacation trips have been based upon recommendations found in this book published in 1982 (Second printing, March of 1984).

Believe it or not, my aunt and uncle had never visited this site. This happens so often that people seldom take advantage of what is literally almost in their backyards.

It happened to be my mother's birthday and when they inquired as to what she might like to do that day.........she (we) had this suggestion planned and ready to execute.

Chippiannock is an Indian word that translates to "Village of the Dead."

Chippiannock Cemetery

The hydrangeas were in full bloom
The hydrangeas were in full bloom | Source

This area of the country had a huge Indian population dating back to the 1730's.

About 7500 Indians from the Sauk and Mesquakie nations called this area home.

The actual site of the cemetery is on the summit of Manitou Ridge which overlooks the Mississippi River and the Rock River.

It covers about 95 acres of land and has 4 miles of paved roads that meander through the grounds.

Chippiannock Cemetery


Most of the early settlers to this part of the country who left a legacy of accomplishments behind them can be found in this cemetery and their monuments range from the simple to elaborate.

In fact, there is such an abundance of unique and artistic headstones that paired with the rolling hills and gorgeous abundance of plantings, it invites numerous visitors and has become quite the area attraction.

This grave site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1994.

Dating back to the early 1800's, Chippiannock is an excellent example of an early rural cemetery.

Chippiannock Cemetery


The history of the early settlers can be traced here by reading the inscriptions on these imaginative and beautiful grave tombstones.

Some private mausoleums are also incorporated into the mixture of various forms of internment that people have chosen for their final resting spot.

The landscaping was designed by an engineer named Hotchkiss in 1855 who had the Greenwood Cemetery on Long Island, New York to his credit.

Hotchkiss was also working on the St. Louis cemetery called Bellefontaine.

Chippiannock Cemetery

Cradle tombstone for a child who died
Cradle tombstone for a child who died | Source

A professional gardener by the name of Patrick O'Shaughnessy was the first hired superintendent who was responsible for the many plantings and maintenance of these grounds.

According to a brochure that I picked up at the cemetery, there are over 150 species and varieties of trees and shrubs cataloged as being planted here.

Chippiannock Cemetery

Modern sculpture monument
Modern sculpture monument | Source

Since it was in the month of October when we were visiting, we got to see the glorious Fall display of colored leaves.

What a wondrous time to be enjoying these gorgeous grounds!

Some photos I took that day can give one an idea of just how beautiful and serene is the setting for this historic cemetery.


The Soldiers' & Sailors' Memorial

The Soldiers' & Sailors' Memorial
The Soldiers' & Sailors' Memorial | Source

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

When one first enters the gates into Chippiannock Cemetery this monument greets one's eyes. It is a striking memorial, erected in 1915 and commemorates all the military people who have fought in wars representing American interests.

School children from Rock Island who collected their pennies and dollars along with veteran organizations paid for this striking monument with their contributions.

Amazing what collections of pennies can accomplish!

Dimick children's gravesite (brother and sister) with faithful dog

Dimick children's gravesite (brother and sister) with faithful dog
Dimick children's gravesite (brother and sister) with faithful dog | Source

Eddie and Josie Dimick double monument with their faithful dog.

This touching combination relates to a brother and sister who died of diphtheria on the same day at the tender ages of 5 and 9.

Each day, when the grieving family visited the grave site, their dog accompanied them. Then the dog started taking up a vigil from early dawn to dusk by the grave.

When the dog died, the family decided to place a statue of him by their children's graves where the dog had spent so much of his time.

In perpetuity now that story is carved into stone for all to see.

Mansill Monument

Mansill Monument
Mansill Monument | Source

The Mansill Monument

Originally from England, Richard Mansill was only 20 years of age when he arrived in America with his parents. He accomplished a number of things which ultimately included owning a lumber yard and coal mines.

He was best known for being an author of The Almanac of Planetary Meteorology as well as numerous other books related to science and the workings of the universe.

Interestingly, and something which also makes this monument unique is the fact that the people buried on this lot are actually placed under the monument.

The next photo is one of a Celtic Cross. It was created by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder who just happened to be the father of the modern artist, Alexander Calder.

Celtic Cross in honor of William Harte

Celtic Cross in honor of William Harte
Celtic Cross in honor of William Harte | Source

The Celtic Cross Monument

The Celtic Cross monument was made to honor naval officer William Harte who lost his life during a Civil War battle when his steamboat was blown up by Confederate guns. He was killed when attempting to swim to shore. His body was never recovered by his family.

His father commissioned the cross which embodies a number of religious as well as nautical symbols.

The Celtic Cross is found by the cemetery entrance and it is definitely one of the points of interest on any tour.

Cable Monument

Cable Monument
Cable Monument | Source

The Cable Monument

This large bronze tribute was created in Brussels by sculptor Paul De Vigne and was commissioned by Ben Cable who was a congressman in this area for many years.

In the family plot are Philander Cable, Ben Cable's father, who was president of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad.

Philander Cable donated the waterworks pumping station at 24th street to the city of Rock Island.

Also found in this family plot is Ransom R. Cable who was president of the Rock Island - Peoria Railroad.

Chippiannock Cemetery monuments

Cross simulating logs with ivy growing on it for the Buford monument.
Cross simulating logs with ivy growing on it for the Buford monument. | Source
My mother strolling through the cemetery enjoying her day.
My mother strolling through the cemetery enjoying her day. | Source

Victorian cemetery monuments including some from Chippiannock

Close-up photos of the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument at Chippiannock Cemetery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Eagle at the top
Eagle at the top
Eagle at the top | Source

There are so many other interesting and beautiful monuments that tell the history of early settlers to this central part of the United States.

In fact, in 1914 they created an Annual Epitaphs Brought to Life tour. Actors dressed in era appropriate clothing lead one on a walking tour and bring stories of the memorable persons buried here in Chippiannock cemetery to life.

We were not there at the right time to be able to participate in this interesting sounding tour, but, with brochure in hand, we wandered at will and were able to find and read about many of the people who now lie beneath the earth or in the scattered mausoleums found on these historic grounds.

In fact, since there were fewer people there, my aunt, uncle, mother and I were able to very leisurely take our time and linger as long as we chose while discovering different and unique headstones along the way. the title of this hub suggests...........the Fall foliage was also of prime interest and beauty that day.

We do not have the spectacular fall foliage in Houston as we did growing up in the Mid-West. That was one reason why my mother and I planned our trip to coincide with the turning of the leaves. We were well rewarded that year!

There is still room to be buried in this cemetery as all of the land has not yet been utilized for that purpose. Just a "heads up" in case you are interested!

In the Chippiannock Cemetery brochure describing many of the monuments and other information, there is a quote from the Indian Sauk Chief, Black Hawk. It reads:

"With us it is a custom to visit the graves of our friends and keep them in repair for many years. The mother will go alone to weep over the grave of her child. After he has been successful in war, the brave, with pleasure, visits the grave of his father and repaints the post that marks where he lies. There is no place like that where the bones of our forefathers lie to go to when in grief. Here, prostrate by the tombs of our forefathers, will the Great Spirit take pity on us." --Memoirs

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into this very historic Illinois cemetery. If you happen to visit Chippiannock in the Fall as we got to do, it is even more beautiful. Take your camera! You are sure to get some great pictures.

Do you like to visit cemeteries when traveling?

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Where Chippiannock Cemetery is located...

A markerChippiannock Cemetery -
2901 12th St, Rock Island, IL 61201, USA
get directions

If you enjoyed seeing the photos & learning about the historic & beautiful Chippiannock Cemetery, please give this article a star rating. Thank you!

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of Historic Chippiannock Cemetery

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rebecca,

      It was a beautiful day! :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Yes it often happens that we do not take advantage of what is right in our own backyards so to speak. Glad you liked reading this about that beautiful and historic cemetery. Appreciate the share and pin.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      It looks like you had a lovely walk on a beautiful day. I enjoyed your photos!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Beautiful photos and interesting monuments to see and read about. It's so true that we so often miss the interesting landmarks in our own immediate area.

      5 stars, pinned to my 'Travel' board, voted up and BAUI, and shared!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi moonlake,

      This is a spectacular cemetery as far as beautiful natural scenery is concerned. Lot of history! Thanks for your comment and votes.

    Click to Rate This Article