Last night, I had an errand to run, just quickly dropping something off at someone’s house, which is located not far from where I grew up. Truthfully, I had an ulterior motive in wanting to run this errand: I wanted to visit the cemetery of Hochstadt #2.
A few weeks (months?) ago, when Andrew and I first set out to start finding these village sites (the public ones) that were listed in the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve, we were unable to locate Hochstadt #2. Which is ridiculous, because we visited Hochstadt #1, which is apparently right across the road.
After I had posted this, my brother sent me a pic of the precise stone I was hunting for (there is a photo of it in the Historical Atlas), asking, “Is this what you’re looking for?” What the heck?! It’s like everyone else could find this cemetery, but not me. We needed to try again. This errand provided me a perfect opportunity.
And sure enough, there it was. It’s really, really obvious, with this beautiful sign and everything.
Sometimes I think I must be so eager to find things, so busy frantically looking all over the place, that I just can’t see what’s right in front of my face.
And so, with the sun setting fast, we leapt out of the car to investigate.
This cemetery is entirely fenced off… but clearly people are climbing politely over the fence… so I did so as well. (Andrew did not.)
So, this was the cemetery of Hochstadt #2, otherwise known as Gnadenort.
According to the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve, Gnadenort was settled by three Driedgers from Bergthal, who by 1876 had moved to the West Reserve. Before a year had passed, nine KG families had taken their place. In 1884, a post office was established here, and it’s name was Hochstadt for some reason… and thus Gnadenort became Hochstadt #2. This village had a school, a general store, a cheese factory, a Holdeman church, and the municipal reeve lived here and operated a hardware and implement store. That’s quite a lot of activity that was lived here… and has disappeared without a trace, with the exception of this cemetery.
I find this cemetery particularly interesting because the land surrounding it has been dug up as a gravel pit, likely many years ago, as it’s all overgrown. But you can see how the digging came right up to the cemetery fence, leaving the cemetery itself carefully alone. I suppose they didn’t care to dig up skeletons, if it could at all be avoided. This leaves the edge of a cemetery dropping off rather sharply for a prairie cemetery.
Another interesting aspect… in the distance (two miles away, as the crow flies) you can see the twin silos that belong to the farm I grew up on. Probably only I can see them in the photo.
It’s almost embarrassing to think that I spent so many years so near to this place… yet had no idea about its history. I guess I still don’t. But I’m learning.