Caring for a rural cemetery

There are some fascinating stories to be discovered during a visit to a rural cemetery north of St. Paul.

At Spring Creek Cemetery, we learned the history of how a pioneer family died in the April blizzard of 1873. The victims are buried at the cemetery, and the headstones share the family names. There are also three Civil War veterans buried in the cemetery, along with several homesteaders.

Over time, the cemetery became overgrown. Bonnie Clayton and her family noticed this and decided to not only maintain their family's graves, but to improve the rest of the cemetery as well.

"We cleared land of trees here, and hired that to be done. We had a sign made here, and we fenced in the front after a case of vandalism," Clayton said.

"My brothers decided to put up an American flag. For years when we came, it was so overgrown we just cleared out the area surrounding our family's grave, but now we can get to all of the graves. The county comes out twice a year and mows, and the rest of the time we keep it up," Bonnie said. "It's been a chance for us to learn, read the headstones and find out the history. It's been a good experience all the way around."