Photos of Historic Chippiannock Cemetery Monuments with Fall Colors at Rock Island, Illinois
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. 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.
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."
This area of the country had a huge Indian population dating back to the 1730s. 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.
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.
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 1800s Chippiannock is an excellent example of an early rural 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.
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.
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.
Descriptions of some of the monuments in this cemetery will now be given.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Victorian cemetery monuments including some from Chippiannock
Since there were fewer people visiting 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.
And as the title of this post 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 midwest. 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!
Below see a photo of this beautiful cemetery in Spring.
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?
Where Chippiannock Cemetery is located...
© 2009 Peggy Woods