One hundred seven years ago last February Calista DeLong Smelser, a girl-wife of sixteen years,
looked sadly out from the window of her pioneer home about ten miles south of Platteville. The house
was strongly built of logs, and as comfortable as it was possible for her husband, Jonas M. Smelser, to
make it. Yet at night, the howling of wolves, and the occasional scream of panthers brought terror to her
heart, for she was in the midst of her first sorrow. A few rods away, across a slight ravine she could see
the new grave of her infant son.
The stone marking that little grave reads, "Infant son of J.M. and C. Smelser. Died Feb. 18, 1832."
That grave was the beginning ofthe old Smelser cemetery, and according to John L. Grindell, secretary of
the Grant County Historical Society, as far as can be learned, it is the earliest stone to bear the date of
death in Grant County.
-as written by Marion Mitchell Walker in 1939 (Platteville Journal)
Dear Smelser Township Residents,
Late last summer, a committee was formed and began working at Smelser Cemetery.
• Photos were taken of each stone monument
• A map was created showing the location of each ofthe 151 marked graves.
• The south interior fence line was cleared of brush
Smelser Township is responsible for maintaining Smelser Cemetery. Time and neglect has left
many stones buried and broken, or simply leaning. It is our intention to repair and straighten the
stones this year with the help of volunteers and professionals. We need your help! The cost of
repairing and straightening each stone varies. Would you be interested in fmancially supporting
the restoration project? Any contribution you can make will be greatly appreciated. Please send
your contribution, payable to Smelser Township, to Nancy Loeffelholz, 1122 Patch Road,
Platteville, WI 53818