Yesterday we went for a tour of Green’s Prairie Cemetery. It is about 15 minutes from our house, over the border in Green County. There are two veterans from the War of 1812 buried there along with veterans from the Civil War and their families. There are believed to be 137 people buried in Green’s Prairie Cemetery. The first burial was in 1845 and this was before Wisconsin was a state in 1849. The last burial was in 1917. It is believed that the families in the early 1900s started burying their loved ones in church cemeteries rather than non-denominational cemeteries like Green’s Prairie Cemetery. Once it was no longer used as an active burial site the cemetery was no longer tended and cattle often wandered in and knocked over headstones.
By 1926 John Stewart (the third) decided the cemetery needed to be protected . He solicited help from other families who had ancestors buried there. The cemetery was cleaned up and fenced in.
In 1992 John Ochsner, a Prairie Enthusiast member, started to do controlled burns in the cemetery prairie. This encouraged the tall grass prairie to thrive. The prairie has been burned yearly, except one, since he started. They use metal shields to avoid damaging the headstones.
Green’s Prairie Cemetery is the last acre of tall grass prairie that was once the 5,000-acre Green and York Prairies.