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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sidetracked at the end of Wisconsin

Scenic view?  What scenic view, there's graves in that thar State Park.  This whole preoccupation of mine with the dead is my grandmother's fault.  There's no two ways about it.  Every visit to grandma Lu's involved visits to cemeteries to say howdy to the ancestors. So is it any wonder that I love Ancestry.com or Findagrave?  No, and not surprisingly, while at the most geographically isolated (at least to me) part of Wisconsin--Rock Island--I couldn't help but be drawn into the graveyard in the middle of our campground.  Three stones remain on what was once thought to be an indian burial ground.  But the Indians always did know where the best burial places were, that's why we use them too.  Anyway, the three graves that can still be noted are John A. Boon, his young son Francis Wm. Boon and the inventor Chester H. Thordarson.



While Chester Thordarson was an uber-cool inventor with many patents and awards to his name, most importantly for creating the first million-volt transformer, who actually owned Rock Island for decades, I was excited to learn a little something of John A. Boon.  Boon seemed to own part of the island first and when I say "owned" we know what we're talking about--not the first to live there just the first to put a value on location, location, location and get a deed on it.  John and a friend, Neil McMillan, I believe bought 22 acres of the island through the land offices of Green Bay.  John was a fisherman.  In truth, I don't know how to read the actual location but if it is not on Rock Island, it is most likely on Washington Island where both were important founding family names.  Look at this awesome document:  President Polk sells off a piece of Wisconsin to John and Neil in 1846.

There is another cemetery on the island but I did not get a chance to visit it this time.  What I did learn is its circumstance is a little more tragic in that they are mostly graves of unknown victims of shipwrecks. 








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