Castle Grove Cemetery updated with new sign

This is a map of Castle Grove Township. The highlighted portion shows where the Castle Grove Cemetery and #2 rural school were located near the intersection of D-62 and 220th Avenue.

The new cemetery sign notes the various names the cemetery had over the years. the other small sign also honors the Castle Grove #2 school.

The new sign for the Castle Grove Cemetery was installed on Nov. 2. The sign was made by Hilltop Welding in Hopkinton. Castle Grove Trustees Kevin Miller and Becky Hogan assisted. (Photos by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

The Castle Grove Cemetery in rural Monticello now has an official sign, thanks to the township trustees. 

Two weeks ago, the sign was erected by trustees Kevin Miller and Becky Hogan, along with the fabricator Benny Beachy of Hilltop Welding in Hopkinton. 

Aside from depicting the official name of the cemetery, two smaller signs were also added. One sign notes the various names given to the cemetery over the years: “Moores Baptist Cemetery,” “Sumner Cemetery,” and “Beardsley Cemetery.” The cemetery was established in 1837. Castle Grove Township was organized in 1855. 

Another sign pays homage to the Castle Grove #2 country school that also stood on the property. 

This project had been something the Trustees have wanted to do for some time now. Their funds were initially diverted toward taking care of the dilapidated gravestones and restoration. 

“That took precedence over the sign,” said Trustee Kevin Miller. 

The trustees also spent a lot of time over the years clearing trees and brush away from the north side of the cemetery to open it up more. While clearing the debris, they discovered the original signposts at the entrance of the cemetery. The new sign was affixed to those posts. 

“The original gates were too rusty,” said Miller. 

Wanting a secure sign on the grounds, the trustees presented a drawing and dimensions to Beachy. He was able to build and install the sign for $500. 

“Most people are unaware of the cemetery,” noted Miller. “It was important to recognize it.” 

There were nine country schools in the Castle Grove area back in the day. The last school, Miller thought, closed in 1959. Miller remembers being bused to Castle Grove #2 where he stayed on the bus to ride it into town to Carpenter School. 

“It was a drop-off site for kids who came into town,” he said. 

The last burial to take place at Castle Grove Cemetery was in June 1995 when Lawrence Herman John Hahn passed away at the age of 89. The funeral service was held at Ss. Peter & Paul Lutheran Church on June 29. 

Hahn was the son of Herman and Catherine (Husmann) Hahn. He attended Castle Grove #2, which was near his home at the time of his youth. 

According to iowajones. org, “One of the first houses of any size was built by a man named Beardsley near where the road (County Road D-62) crosses Silver Creek. Because it was the largest and probably the only residence above a log cabin, it was called a ‘castle,’ and located as it was in a grove of trees, the township was named ‘Castle Grove.” 

Sumner (aka. Downerville) was a small village made up of eight homes, near where the Castle Grove Cemetery sits today. The post office was located in Argand. This was one of the first post offices established in Jones County. The first commissioner was Benajah Beardsley in 1851. The post office was in operation until November 1903 when the rural mail routes came into play. 

Castle Grove was once described as a prosperous community. 

The trustees today include: Miller, Hogan, Ted Koehler, and Darren Stadtmueller. Each of the trustees, along with Hogan Brothers, donated labor and equipment for the sign project and clearing of the cemetery. 

Other donations included: Greg Jones, grading and seeding; Welter Seed, grass seed; and All Seasons Auto Body, paint for the sign. 


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