On a cold and blustery September 28, 2019, a group of hearty history buffs clad in scarves, mittens, and winter coats gathered and weathered nature for a two-hour cemetery tour. The cemetery chosen for this year was the ghost town of Moravia. This is the story “Grand View” Cemetery.
Rasmos Christensen homesteaded 140 acres in 1893 and proved up on it in 1898. Christensen, a single man, was paid $50.00 for 5 acres to be used exclusively for a cemetery in April 1904. The first burial that year was Erik Persson (Eric Peterson), the brother of Nels and Martin Peterson of Moravia. There were 2 burials (William Gines and David Conway) in 1907; 1 burial (Ida Walty) in 1908; 1 burial (Ida Moore) in 1909; and then Frank Peterson in 1910.
The town folk decided to name the cemetery Grand View Cemetery. They voted to clear the cemetery by cutting trees and purchasing dynamite to clear the stumps. Henry Morkeberg was paid $7.00 to do the clearing. D.C. McColl built a fence around ½ of the cemetery for $57.15. Cave was paid $9.05 to survey and plot the cemetery in 1912. Family plots sold for $10.00 each (8 grave sites). $2.00 was spent on white clover seed. Deeds were drawn up for plots by Chas. O’Callahan, A.J. Kent, O.C. Wilson, and First State Bank.
In 1923, the town cemetery (known as the Bonners Ferry Cemetery or the City Cemetery) took the name Grandview (1 word). The Moravia cemetery was still being called Grand View Cemetery (2 words), which has led to some confusion when reading obituaries. Sue and Randy were heard to ask, “Which Grandview?” “Are they here or there?” whenever they would read an obituary stating the person was buried in Grandview.
The first board minutes of the cemetery association dated 1942, referred to this cemetery as “Moravia Cemetery.” By 1957, a waterline was installed. From 1957 – 1964, there are no records of any annual meetings held.
In 1964, a meeting of the association, held in the schoolhouse, resulted in the incorporation, under the name Moravia Cemetery Association; by-laws were written.
A quote from the obituary of Harry Keller who is buried at Moravia states: “Harry Keller so loved the outdoors and all of nature that he asked to be buried in Moravia Cemetery where there were deer and other wild life, and wild ferns could grow over his grave.”
Being a shady, wooded area, the wild ferns grow “wild,” and so in preparation for the tour, the association arranged for the cleaning and mowing of the grounds, making it more conducive for a walking tour. The Museum wishes to thank Tessie and Christi Kramer for providing documents and stories and all their help in making this tour successful.
Re-live the past
For more information about the Musuem’s other Cemetery Tours see our Society News page at this link: BoundaryCountyMuseum.org – Cemetery Walks