His daughter was given a cemetery as a wedding gift.

I received a call from a fourth cousin a couple of weeks ago. I had never met this relative or even knew of his existence, but he knew of me.

He was on a quest to find the final resting place of my great-great-grandparents, Frantisek and Anna Vetrovsky. That was how my last name was spelled when they entered the United States from their Czech homeland in the mid/late 1800s.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

My long lost cousin somehow had developed a passion as to where these two blood relatives rested on the Iowa prairie.

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Death records for the two were undiscovered until my cousin's effort. He contacted known relatives and governmental bodies with very little success. He finally got down to me somehow, and I spent an evening telling him what I knew of their history.

It seems that many immigrants from the Bohemian section of what is now known as Czech Republic came to escape religious and political dictates that limited whatever success in life they may have had there. Many of those people came to be free of those shackles; thus, many did not belong to a church of any kind after they arrived in the new homeland.

It was so with my great-great-grandparents, who homesteaded the farm I grew up on in Plymouth County, Iowa, in 1873. They lived among a large German community that had established a church near that farm.

But, since those grandparents had no church affiliation, they were not allowed to be buried in the church's cemetery. You could say it was a rather closed community to those who were of a different mindset than they were.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

As a result, those same great-great-grandparents had no place of rest after they departed this life. My great-great-granddad took care of that with the family his daughter was marrying into.

One of his daughters became engaged to be married, and as a wedding gift she was given the gift of a private cemetery by her future father-in-law. It was a small plot of land atop a hill in the same section as her dad's farm was located. A fence was erected with an ornate steel entrance gate.

Over the passing years, the cemetery has become overgrown with only the memorial stones of just my great-grandparents showing. No sign of my great-great-grandparents was visible.

My cousin's dogged pursuit of their burial site finally produced proof that both of those folks were indeed buried in that little cemetery atop the hill. There were rumors that they had returned to the Czech Republic, but my cousin found exact evidence that indeed both are resting there.

He is in the process of probing the surface area to find an actual stone memorial. I think he's going to find it.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

The cemetery has been declared an official Pioneer Cemetery by the Plymouth County Historical Society and will stand as a memorial to those who homesteaded the land but were not affiliated with any religious sect.

Those interested in historical things such as this can find the spot still atop that hill seven miles east of Hinton, Iowa, on County Road 60, Lincoln Township, Plymouth County, Iowa.

If you ever pass by, just remember that the little cemetery was given as a wedding gift to my great-great-grandmother. I'm sure the bride appreciated the gift.

See you next time. Okay?