The Old City Cemetery Restoration Project began in 2014 with the work of Jim Bennett, Dave Larson and Nancy Larson. The volunteer-based project has been ongoing since that time under the auspices of the Mineral Point City Parks Department. The goal of the OCC Restoration Project is to rehabilitate and document the Old City Cemetery. Soon after the project began the following people joined and have been helping in various capacities: (Alpha order) Deb Emerson, Joel Gosse, Mary Knudson, Bill McKinney, Doug Norgord, Nancy Pfotenhauer, Ken Richards and Shan Thomas. Anyone interested in joining the Project is welcome. You can reach Shan Thomas or Joel Gosse at the Mineral Point Library Archives or contact the Project on the Old City Cemetery Facebook page.
The Old City Cemetery is a biographical index to the first decades of life in Mineral Point and it vividly portrays the struggles of 19th century life. To know the story of the lives of the “residents” of this burial ground is to know the social, economic and political history of the founding of Mineral Point. To leave the OCC unrestored would be an unconscionable loss to our historical resources.
The OCC was a non-sectarian, public burial ground. It may have burials from as early as 1828. Exact dates of the first burials are unknown because there are no surviving official records. The burials continued until 1908. The cemetery occupies land platted in 1837 in the Irvin's Addition as building lots, even though there may have been bodies buried there. When Mineral Point became a city in 1857, the Council began buying the land that comprises the City Cemetery.
Over the years the graveyard fell into disrepair a number of times. Various efforts have have been conducted and the last two have been invaluable. The current list of burials is being compiled with reference to the 1966 Women's Guilds Project, the 1976 Women's Club Bicentennial Project and Bill Buss' 1984 Eagle Scout Project. Because the tombstones are now badly eroded, these former efforts have aided the identification of the burials.
The OCC Restoration Project consists of discovering buried tombstones, repairing broken stones and resetting them, removing stones from 3 concrete berms, cleaning stones, inventorying stones, compiling a database and, ultimately, producing an interactive digital map of the burial ground.
The OCC Database can be seen here. It may be searched by last name, first name, maiden name, birth date, death date, place of birth, place of death or military service (War of 1812, the Black Hawk Incursion and the Civil War). As information is acquired, cause of death will also be available. In some cases a biography of the person buried is available along with images of the person or a building such as their home or business.