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Concrete legacy crumbling at the Mormon Cemetery

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 23rd, 2009

Surrounded by woods and farmland, the Mormon Road Cemetery holds less than a half dozen headstones but according to the Lee County Genealogical Society records, over 20 people rest in peace near Amboy. (Reporter photo by Jim Dresbach)

(This is the fourth installment of a month-long series of articles dealing with LaSalle County and Lee County history.)

At one time inside the borders of Lee County, members of maligned 19th century religion made a life for themselves. They worshipped and existed near Rocky Ford, near Palestine Grove – and in and near Amboy, Ill. Mormons lived, toiled, worked and died on the local Illinois prairie, but nearly 160 years later, a religious group known for dwelling in Nauvoo, Ill., still has a concrete legacy in Lee County.

But that concrete legacy is literally crumbling and being hauled away to historical scrap heaps.

A plot of land known as the Mormon Cemetery rests a mile southeast of Amboy on Mormon Road, but according to county historians, many myths surround the graveyard, which today only holds a handful of headstones.

Myth number one is that the Mormon cemetery was established by the Utah Mormon Church and holds the remains of Church of Latter Day Saints followers, and myth number two tells of a wife of a famous church leader that is buried in the Amboy area plot.

According to the Amboy City history, the Mormons arrived in the area during the late 1830s and early 1840s. In 20 year’s time, events in Illinois planted a new destiny for the Lee County Mormons. The death of founder Joseph Smith and the question of a rightful successor led to a split from the main body by the Lee County Mormons. They became known as “Reorgs.”

For the complete article see the 06-24-2009 issue.

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