Cemeteries and Burial Grounds

One of the pioneer hardships was the burial of their dead.  There was a high infant death rate.  There were accidents, drowning, diptheria and death from the blizzard.  Burial had to be local and prompt especially in the summer.  It was often near the house, at the edge of the garden or in a small plot on some farm where neighbors could bury their dead.  In time these places became overgrown with grass.  Unmarked, there were cases where relatives could not find the place of burial to remove the body when regular cemeteries were laid out.

In 1881, Lars Ulven died from freezing and exposure, having been lost in a blizzard.  His remains were buried on the Opheim farm on Section 12 of Washburn Township.  This was the beginning of the Opheim Cemetery where 32 bodies were buried.  The following is an incomplete list of those buried in the Opheim Cemetery:

Lars Ulven 1881
Elling Nelson's daughter 1881
Elling Nelson ?
Sina Halvorson (a child) 1881
Laura Halvorson (a child) 1881
Frank Axtell 1883
Syver Halvorson 1883
Two sons of John Johnson Engen Sr. 1882 or 1883
Bolette Abrahamson 1884
Omund Nelson Opheim 1885
Endre Johnson 1885
Christoffer Olai Johnson 1886
Martin Helmer Johnson 1886
Gunhild Mustad 1887
Andrew Larson 1892
Johan Mustad 1894
Lars Mikkelson Falkenhaug 1894
Annie Fladland 1896
Ladvor Fladland 1896
Julia Qualey 1896
Annie Johnson 1890's
Pearl Opheim (child of Martin) 1901
Samuel K. Norgaard 1903
Mrs. S.K. Norgaard 1904
Baby girl Opheim (child of Johnny) 1904
Mrs. O.N (Karl) Opheim 1905
Martha Opheim Olson 1916
Mrs. Israelson ?


The Old Swedish Mission Church Cemetery (aka Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church) was started about 1885 or 1886.  Brita Johnson, a widow, gave a small plot of her farm for a community cemetery when her daughter who was about twenty years old died.  The following materials are recorded from the memories of Mrs. Margaret Gilje and Mrs. Axel Liljenquist (Person girls) who lived in the community of the Swedish Mission Church.

Daughter of Brita Johnson (age about 20)

Julia Person (child of Per Person)

Peter Olaf Person (child of Per Person)

Unnamed child Person (child of Per Person)

Lars Sundberg - died 1 Jan.  1905

Wife of Lars Sundberg (1st)

Ludvig Anderson

Johanna Anderson

Hilma Anderson (child of Ludvig and Johanna)

Jonas Skanse

Karl Skanse

Jonas Dahlbom

Christine Dahlbom

Anna (child of Jonas and Christine Dahlbom)

Emma (child of Jonas and Christine Dahlbom)

George Watne

Cora Wattle Wife (1st of Jens Pei-son)

Maggie Person (daughter of Jens Person)

Mrs. John Nelson Wife (2nd of Jens Person)

Marie Nelson (Mrs. Edward)

Brita Johnson

John Johnson

Mr. and Mrs. Helgsten

Esther Boe

Mrs. Nic Boe

Emma Person

Lorence Person


In May of 1890, the Courier referred to the "burial ground west of town," where a Mr. F.D. Fenner was buried.  West of town was referring to the Clearfield Township Cemetery which is located on the N' 2 of Section 20.  The following information was contributed by Marvin Rothert on whose land the abandoned cemetery is located.

Sarah A. Howden 24 Jul 1851-
21 May 1901
Arthur G. Richardson 30 Mar 1892-
14 Apr 1892
Walter A. Richardson 13 Oct 1895-
19.Jan 1896
Ralph A. Richardson 19 Apr 1888-
6 Jan 1899
Erma Fenner (age 10 months) Mar 1895
Alfred Fenner 1879-1897
Walter Fenner 1887-1897
Clara Luella Evers (daughter of John) Dec. 1892-
Aug.  1897
Infant (daughter of J. & S. Evers) -14 Dec 1894
Alvin V. (son of J. & S. Evers) 8 mos., 14 days-
15 Oct 1894
Abelona (also in Evers fence no other identification) 20 Oct 1905-
10 Jan 1907
Mary Campbell Gorthy (wife of D. Gorthy) (age: 47 years, 11 months, 8 days) -15 Apr 1887
David Gorthy (son of Mr. & Mrs. D.  Gorthy)  
Peter Gorthy (son of Mr. & Mrs. D.  Gorthy)  


Another place is an abandoned Cemetery on SW Section 12 of Sverdrup Township.  This was used as a cemetery before the Ness Church was built in 1898.  The following are buried there:

Olaf Skanse (worked for Arne Luckason)

John Hagen (11 yr. old son of Ole K. Hagen)

Hector Hagen (son of Mons Hagen)

Twin girls (daughters of Thor Hagens)

Christie Auren (Mother of Harold Auren)

Mrs. Gunhild Thompson



The Hilltop Burial Ground is located on the NW' 4 of Section 13 in Pilot Mound Township.  Helgi and Barbara Olson and two small children were buried there in 1891.  They died of typhoid fever.


Lone Soldiers' Graves are located in various parts of the County.  These Soldiers most likely came through with General Sibley and his large army. 


The grave of Samuel Wanemaker, NE 10th Minnesota Infantry, who died 9 August 1863 at age 42, is located on the SW Section 28 of Addle Township. 


George E. Brent, Company D Minnesota Cavalry, who accidentally shot himself 20 Jul 1863, is buried on SW of Section 29 in Addle Township. 


George T. Johnson, Company G. 111.  Cavalry of the Sulley Expedition, was drowned 11 Aug.  1865 and buried SE Section 23 of Bald Hill Township. 


Christ Peterson, Company D. 1st Minn.  Cavalry (no dates) is buried on NE Section 35 of Bald Hill Township.


Other abandoned burial sites include the NW of Section 12 of Clearfield Township.  Here two children of Herb Church are buried and also a transient worker who died in the late 1890's.  Another site is located in the SW Section 21 in Bryan Township.  Here lie the remains of Riley Jeffords 16 January 1891-25 May 1909.

The earliest churches usually laid out burial places near their church.  The following is a compiled list of the cemeteries in Griggs County.  More information could be obtained by consulting with the respective church officials.


Opheim Washburn Township SW Section 12
Abandoned Sverdrup Township SW Section 12
Bethany Willow Township NW Section 33
Gospel Tabernacle Cemetery Willow Township SW Section 33
Clearfield Clearfield Township N Section 20
Eidfjord Dover Township SW Section 24
E.L.C. Lutheran Addle Township SE Section 7
Hannaford Lutheran Greenfield Township NW Section 5
Hannaford Presbyterian Greenfield Township SW Section 6
Hero Tyrol Township SE Section 33
Lone Grave Clearfield Township NW Section 12
Lone Grave Bryan Township SW Section 21
Lone Soldiers Graves See Above  
Lyster Menighed Bartley Township SW Section 12
Mabel Lutheran Mabel Township SE Section 20
Mildred Hartman Memorial Helena Township NW Section 7
Naeroen Rosendal Township NW Section 33
Ness Washburn Township NE Section 36
Ottawa Pilot Mound Township SE Section 25
Ringsaker Romness Township SE Section 22
St. George Catholic Cooperstown Township NW Section 24
St. Lawrence Catholic Tyrol Township SE Section 18
St. Olaf Greenfield Township NE Section 30
Saron Evangelical Sverdrup Township SE Section 20
Swedish Mission Church Cooperstown Township SW Section 20
Union Lutheran Greenfield Township NE Section 2
United Methodist Romness Township NW Section 16
West Prairie Pilot Mound Township NW Section 30
Willow Lake Willow Lake Township SW Section 4
Zion Evang.  Luth.  Kirke Rosendal Township NE Section 29
Zion Free Luth.  Aka Westley Sverdrup Township SE Section 17
Zion Lutheran Clearfield Township SE Section 8

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 165

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