Olathe Memorial Cemetery and First Burial - Olathe, Ks.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 38° 53.788 W 094° 49.059
15S E 342371 N 4306857
This metal marker is located in front of the Beckwith family burial plot within the Olathe Cemetery - 738 N Chestnut St, Olathe, Ks.
Waymark Code: WMVVVB
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 05/30/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Four For All
Views: 0

This marker is located on the corner of Catapa and Founders in the Olathe Memorial Cemetery.

(picture of Elvira Beckwith Burial Site )

Olathe Memorial Cemetery and First Burial

Olathe Memorial Cemetery was founded in 1865, when resident Watts Beckwith laid his sister to rest on ten acres of his farm land. He had already offered the land for sale to the community to serve as a burial ground.

When the founding fathers laid out the original city in 1858, no provision was made for a cemetery. In the first years of settlement, burials took place in the "Church Square." The location was never used for church purposes, probably brcause it was so far from the center of town. An editorial appeared in the Olathe Mirror on January 9, 1864, pointing out that the Church Square was far too small for a burial ground and that civic leaders must establish a new and larger cemetery. Watts Beckwith soon joined the Olathe Mirror editor in urging the city to purchase a more suitable tract of land. Beckwith owned a quarter-section on the north side of town and offered ten acres to the city. No action was taken on the proposal.

In 1865, Beckwith announced that with or without support from the City, he was setting aside ten acres for cemetery purposes. On April 30, 1865, Beckwith interred his sister, Elvira, in his newly established cemetery. More burials soon followed as Watts sold plots. Within a few years, the railroad reached Olathe and cut through the Church Square. Burials were removed from downtown and re-interred in the new cemetery, accounting for some stones with dates earlier than 1865. Finally, in 1879, the city purchased the Beckwith tract. Eventually additional acreage was added.

No trace of the original Church Square plot remains in downtown Olathe.

(picture of Elvira Beckwith headstone)

Freedom's Frontier Heritage Area

This interpretive kiosk is made possible through funding from the
Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and the Francis H. Robertson Trust Foundation.


- Marker Text

Elvira Beckwith
Watts Beckwith saw the need for a permanent cemetery site and set aside 10 acres of his own land for the City of Olathe. Elvira Beckwith, his sister, was the first burial in the cemetery in 1865. In 1879, Olathe purchased the tract and later added acreage. Several headstones bear dates earlier than 1865 because they were relocated from “Church Square” burial site downtown.

- Olathe Cemetery Tour Website

Marker Name: Olathe Memorial Cemetery and First Burial

Marker Type: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker text:
see long description

Marker Location: Johnson

Year Marker Placed: 01/01/2017

Name of agency setting marker: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Official Marker Number: Not listed

Marker Web Address: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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