Camp Creek Cemetery
This cemetery is located approximately 6 miles south and 3 miles east of Nebraska City, at the intersection of 70th & 'P' Roads, on the east side of the road.
"Camp Creek cemetery was formed a hundred years ago, when most of Nebraska was still virgin prairie ruled mostly by the Indians. Death in those days very much a part of life. Life such as it was, was short, but the days were long and filled with hard, tiring labors, sickness, illness, death, disease and the constant worry of crop failure.
Statistics from early Nebraska say that one out of three children would never reach maturity. In Camp Creek cemetery, dozens of tiny headstones, some only saying 'baby', bear mute testimony to this statistic. In fact, the first burial in the cemetery was for a child of G.L. Dodson, buried there October 8, 1866.
Things were very raw in those days and people were simpler and somehow more plain spoken. Residents of the area held a meeting on June 15, 1866, to organize a cemetery association. Then on June 25, in that same year, a pioneer of the area, George F. Lee, donated one acre of ground in the southwest quarter of section 13-7-14 for the cemetery.
The donation was accepted and officers were elected. Those at the meeting wanted to call it 'Lee Cemetery', but Mr. Lee said 'no', and at his suggestion it was called Camp Creek cemetery after the the stream in the area, which was named 'Camp' because Indians camped there. According to the story, many people called it the 'Camp Lee' cemetery, until some years later when a fence with the name 'Camp Creek' was installed.
Lots and grounds were laid out by the end of the summer of '66 and on October 8, the Dodsen child was laid to rest. Following that, on April 7, 1868, 28 bodies from various homesteads were reinterred at the cemetery. Years rolled by until 1912, when the women of the community formed an auxiliary and began the modernization, preservation and beautification of this pioneers cemetery.
The way they did this was unique. They wrote a letter to residents of the area under the letterhead of 'Lee's Ladies Cemetery Association, Camp Creek Cemetery, Mrs. Nelson Overton, president; Mrs. Lillian M. Hartley, vice president; Mrs. Edgar Clayton, treasurer, and Mrs. E.L. Pursel, secretary.' The letter began, 'The ladies of this community met in September 1912, and organized a ladies cemetery association for the purpose of beautifying and keeping in better shape the Camp Creek Cemetery. This does not in any way interfere with the men's association, but works in conjunction with them to make this, our city of the departed, more beautiful.'
'Our aim is to have a nice fence and entrance, tool house and rest room, lowering device, lots filled and seeded to lawn grass, and finally a man through the summer to care for the ground. Several gentlemen have joined our association as honorary members. Membership dues are $1.00 per year. May we have your name as a member?'
And how they raised it! Camp Creek natives such as Mrs. C.L. Delong and Frank Meadville can still remember the many box socials, square dances and other fund raising events held on quiet summer afternoons and cold winter nights to raise funds for the cemetery. By 1917, the chapel had been built at a cost of $3,000. The cemetery was fenced for $1,150. The spirit of the pioneers of 1866, and the ladies of 1912 has continued until today, when they cemetery is a beautiful wooded nine and a half acre site, containing 973 graves surrounded by a white iron fence." (1)
Burial Listing: A complete listing of burials can be found in our Members Only Secion.
Point of Contact:
Camp Creek Cemetery Association, Inc.
1749 S. 69th Road
Nebraska City, NE 68410
Donations: The Camp Creek Cemetery Association is a tax-exempt society under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and all donations made by contributors to the society are tax-deductible. Donations help augment the association's normal operating funds which are used to maintain the cemetery's fence, building, and grounds.
(1) Camp Creek Cemetery Association. Otoe County, Nebraska, 1983: Otoe County History. [Nebraska City, Neb.]: Otoe County Historical Society and Otoe County Museum Society, 1983. 17-19. Print.
View Larger Map