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Monument Cemetery
(El Paso County)
Monument, Colorado
Index cut-off date: 15 June 1996
Order: Block, Lot, Plot
The Monument Cemetery is located one block north of the intersection of Colorado Highway 105 and Beacon Lite Road. Measured by GPS technology accurate to within 10 meters, its coordinates are latitude 39°06'04.1"N by 104°52'01.3"W. It is is maintained by the town of Monument, and its records are kept in the town hall on Second Street. From May to September, the cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; from October to April the hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The cemetery overlooks the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and has mature trees and park benches. It is well maintained. The town shows its pride in the cemetery by maintaining records of its pioneers and war dead and honors these people on Memorial Day.
Lucille Lavelett, granddaughter of town pioneers, wrote about the cemetery's history in her book Through the Years at Monument, Colorado. She says, "In 1886, Charles R. Bissell conveyed to the Town of Monument, Colorado a five-acre tract of land that had been used as a cemetery since 1871. The deed was dated May 28, 1886 and recorded the same day in Book 50, page 237. In 1889 it was surveyed, platted and recorded in Plat Book 28, page 28. At this time a newspaper correspondent wrote from Monument, 'Hither-to the dead were buried indiscriminately, no one having a lot and families have consequently become badly mixed. Hereafter, a certain sum will be required for each lot and the money divided therefrom will be used for the improvement of the cemetery.' At that time, Council fixed the price at $10.00 each and hired a sexton at $5.00 per year to take care of the cemetery. In the 1920s J.A. Bougher donated ground on the east side of the cemetery to the town for more lots. Mrs. Hattie E. Thompson Neese was the first person buried in the cemetery."
In researching this project, several interesting facts have come to light. According to the town's current cemetery caretaker (1996), Mr. Ron Hilleman, the plots have been laid out twice, which explains why some of the rows aren't perfectly straight. Mr. Hilleman has spent countless hours plotting the cemetery and maintaining the records. Also, many markers show a death date of 1919. Lucille Lavelett's book explains this fact by mentioning the influenza epidemic that year. She also addresses what might be one of the cemetery's most colorful inscriptions. Francis Brown's 1876 headstone reads simply, "He was killed": the result of a cattle dispute.
Finally, research on the Monument Cemetery revealed three other possible locations for the graves of early residents of the area. It is important for researchers in this area to be aware of these other locations because Monument and other smaller communities were so closely linked in the early days. Even today, when the Monument Cemetery is mentioned to longtime residents, the other cemetery names are immediately mentioned. The first is Table Rock Cemetery, on private land, ten miles east of Monument. According to the Colorado Cemetery Directory, published by the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies in 1985, this abandoned cemetery was in use between the 1860s and 1908. The second cemetery, still in use, is Spring Valley Cemetery, ten miles northeast of Monument in Douglas County. The third site is the Greenmont/Greenmount Cemetery. It is also on private land in Douglas County but was once part of Palmer Lake, Colo., Monument's next-door neighbor. Two graves are still visible, but only one has a readable marker. That grave is surrounded by an impressive 18-by-20-foot iron fence and gate. The granite marker is over six feet tall and reads: Edward Thomas - Beloved Husband of Louisa Kipps - Born Sep 7th 1861 - Aged 28 Years - He is not dead but sleepeth - E. Kipps - London England. The actual grave is surrounded by shaped cement blocks. Four mature spruce trees are within the fence boundaries. The other visible grave is also surrounded by an iron fence approximately 10 by 10 feet. Several large moss-covered rocks within the fenced area appear as though they may at one time have formed a headstone and marker. Unlike the larger grave, there is no gate. The smaller grave is located approximately 160 feet northeast of the Kipps grave. Information at the Palmer Lake Museum and from a longtime resident indicates several other unmarked graves are in this area: supposedly a Liebcapp baby (whose father was a Santa Fe Railroad agent), Vance Chase (who lived on a ranch near Ben Lomond), and another baby whose Mexican father was a railroad trackhand. Some speculate that Dr. Thompson, Palmer Lake developer and builder of the Estemere Victorian Estate, is also buried here in an unmarked grave.