Celebrating Life Since 1884
History of the Marion City Cemeteries
Marion Daily Republican Thursday, April 30, 1953
Cemetery started in 1884 – Under Mayor L.A. Goddard in 1882 the city purchased over ten acres of land north of Marion for a city cemetery. Work was begun on the cemetery in 1884. The plot (sic) of land, located on the east side of the present highway 37, was 586 feet wide and 748 feet in depth. The original plot filed January 12, 1844 (sic) with the County Recorder provided for 839 lots. Thomas Jefferson Goodall was the first person to be buried in the cemetery on Jun 18, 1884.
In 1911 the city purchased eighteen acres of land, on the west side of the road as an annex to the Rose Hill Cemetery. This was known as the Maplewood Cemetery, and according to the plat filed with the County Recorder on November 27, 1911, contained 388 lots.
In 1919 the trustees of Rose Hill Cemetery purchased 32 additional acres of land surrounding old Rose Hill Cemetery and under the direction and advice of landscape architects and engineers planned and placed under construction one of the finest park cemeteries in southern Illinois.
Presents Goddard Chapel – In 1919 former Mayor Goddard then president of the State Bank of Chicago, and his wife presented to the city the Goddard Memorial Chapel. The chapel, valued at $20,000 at the time of construction is built of Bedford stone, with art glass windows, and seats 200 people.
The chapel was dedicated on Memorial Day 1919 and Rev. David E. Gibson of Chicago and Dr. H.W. Shryrock, president of Southern State Normal, Carbondale, made the dedicatory addresses. The first funeral services were held in the chapel before its dedication and were for Louis Corder of Carterville. The Odd Fellows Lodge conducted the services
Aikman Cemetery Oldest – The oldest burial ground in Marion is located west of North Court Street adjoining the Illinois Central Railroad. This historic spot contains the remains of the men and women who helped to shape the character of early Marion. The story of this cemetery has been preserved today through the efforts of the Marion Women’s Club. In 1941 the Illinois Central Railroad gave the city a new street and the council made a bridge possible, so today one may drive to this historic spot.
The plot of ground was originally the family burying ground of the Samuel Aikman family. On the family farm a suitable burial place was found. This was a knoll among the giant forest trees near a crabapple thicket. Finally the land was given to the city of Marion by the Aikman Family. As the village grew, more land was purchased from Robert M. Hundley and this cemetery became the chief burying place in Marion. The cemetery was used until 1884 when the Rose Hill cemetery was established. Many bodies were moved to the new cemetery.
Glances at life by Homer Butler – Excerpt: The Rose Hill section of the cemetery was later enlarged by the purchase of land north and south of the original graveyard. The south addition was originally owned by a private corporation which originated the system of perpetual care. For many years the burial plot owners in the other cemeteries had the responsibility of mowing and caring for their own plots but when the city accepted the perpetual care section from the private owners, the maintenance of the cemeteries was accepted by the City. In recent years when Marion accepted the East Lawn Memorial Gardens from a private trust it also accepted took over.