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Roots in Dakota Soil: Prairie Cemeteries of Bon Homme County, South Dakota

By Maxine Schuurmans Kinsley

Bon Homme County Abandoned and Restoration Cemetery Association, Tyndall,
South Dakota, 80 pages, softcover


The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to provide this work of Maxine Schuurmans Kinsley, Yankton, South Dakota. Kinsley's work presents a valuable contribution to the historical publications of the era of Dakota Territory especially relating to the importance of churches and religion in southeastern South Dakota. Bon Homme County is important in the history and culture of the first Germans from Russia settlements in Dakota Territory.

In 2005, the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection published, Prairie Churches of Bon Homme County, Dakota Territory: A Varicolored Tunic, authored by Maxine Schuurmans Kinsley.

The Dedication by the author reads: "This book is dedicated to the pioneers whose courage and faith sustained them as they lived and died on the nurturing soil of Bon Homme County."

The back of the book states: "Twenty-four of thirty-one Bon Homme County Cemeteries continue in use. The Bon Homme County Abandoned and Restoration Cemetery Association founded in 1990, identifed an additional sixteen totally abandoned pioneer burial grounds. Painstaking research revealed intriguing details."

The Table of Contents includes: Early map and brief history of Bon Homme County; 1912 outline map of Bon Homme County; map of Abandoned and Active Cemeteries; and Bon Homme County Courthouse.

These are the chapters: 1) Roots in Dakota Soil; 2) Bon Homme County Abandoned and Restoration Cemetery Association; 3) Abandoned Cemeteries in Bon Homme County; 4) Potters Field and Other Traditions; and 5) Tombstones, Epitaphs, and Tables. There is a List of Abandoned and Active Cemeteries in Bon Homme County as well as an index.

Michael Neiffer family grave markers, Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery.
Native grasses separate three major sections of the sprawling Vesper Cemetery.
Pioneer burial lots flank the original St. Wenceslaus chalkrock church.
Numerous iron crosses stretch upward in the Vodnany Cemetery. Saints Cyril and Methodius Church was moved to Broom Tree Retreat and Conference Center near Irene, South Dakota, on Novmeber 28, 2006.

Roots in Dakota Soil: Prairie Cemeteries of Bon Homme County, South Dakota

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North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
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