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In 1987 sheep provided by the late Fred Kurtz, were still used to keep the grass under control at Kinnickinnic Cemetery. The goat was used to protect the sheep from predators. Photo provided by Kent Larrabee, who owns the land besides the cemetery. (Submitted photos to River Falls Journal)

Days Gone By: Kinnickinnic Cemetery

opinion River Falls,Wisconsin 54022
River Falls Journal
715-425-5666 customer support
Days Gone By: Kinnickinnic Cemetery
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The lovely Kinnickinnic Cemetery is located about seven miles northeast of River Falls off County Road J. The following is a short history gleaned from their website and Barb Larrabee.

On July 21, 1863, 60 acres of land was sold to Malone (now Troy) Township by Clinton and Henrietta Williams for $30.

The earliest grave stone is dated 1856, of Alvin Musser. He was the youngest and only surviving child of General Peter Musser, an officer in the War of 1812.

There were six other deaths before the cemetery was in existence.

The first burial after Kinnickinnic Cemetery was established was on Aug. 6, 1863, the two-year-old  son of John and Hannah Hamilton.

According to a copy of deed, family lots sold for $3 in 1886.

On March 14, 1912,  an advertisement was put in the River Falls Journal for a basket social at the historical church to benefit the Cemetery Association.

There were few burials after 1919, and the cemetery was neglected, but burials have taken place in every decade.

On Aug. 10, 1979, by court order, the cemetery was transferred to the town of Kinnickinnic, and it was re-fenced and sheep were put in it to graze on grass and brush.

On May 30, 1991, a Cemetery Association was organized. Members included Gerald Larson, Steve Cudd, John Bradley, Candy Bettendorf, Barb Larrabee and Esther Weigel.

At present date the association consists of Candy and John Bettendorf, Barb and Kent Larrabee, Dennis Caliva, and Brad Kinkaid.

For the rededication of the cemetery in July 1991, Melgard Monument donated the entrance stone and Earthworks planted the garden around it. Renovation of planting around the stone was done by Gerald Larson family in 2006.

A flag pole dedication to the veterans and pioneers buried in Kinnickinnic Cemetery was held in May 1997.

In 2003 after a white pine was hit by lightning, the association commissioned a carving of a wooden angel by local artist Gary Betlach and it was placed on the stump of the tree.

Most recently the stump was replaced with a cement base and stone donated by Earthworks and installed by Kent Larrabee and Brad Kinkaid, who also handled the stonework. New gates were provided by Best Built Fence, and additional crushed rock was brought in by Bettendorf Excavating to improve the drive-through.

The cemetery is mowed regularly by R&D Mowing, and future plans call for replacing the front fence to match the new gates.

Barb Larrabee is in charge of a remarkable photo journal of the cemetery and events taking place there. The cemetery continues to be beautiful and many folks stop and walk through.

For more information on Kinnickinnic Cemetery or to donate to towards the fence call 715-425-7483, or check out their website:

Pat Hunter
(715) 425-1561